The card kicked off with a gorgeous display of striking from Zubaira Tukhugov, as he handily defeated Douglas Silva de Andrade via unanimous decision.
Tukhugov unloaded everything in his arsenal, from takedowns to push kicks. Two judges scored it 30-27 in Tukhogov's favor, while the final judge called it 29-28.
In the second fight of the night, Ildemar Alcantara took on Albert Tumenov in a welterweight bout.
The fight turned out to be a back-and-forth affair, with Tumenov getting the best of the action by the second frame. Tumenov was bloodied up by the end of the opening round, but he was able to land some serious leg kicks that left his opponent hobbled just a few minutes into the first frame.
Tumenov's leg kicks set the tone for the rest of the fight, as he opened up with more high-powered offense in the second stanza. However, Alcantara opened Tumenov up with a strike to the face as time wound down in the second round, and the cut got even wider when the Brazilian decided to grind his forearm into the open wound.
With Tumenov and Alcantara tied at one-all, it came down to a third and deciding round to determine a winner.
Alcantara came out swinging in the final round, and he did enough to earn the nod on the judge's scorecards. Two judges scored it in Alcantara's favor, while one judge scored it 29-28 for Tumenov.
Mousasi is coming off a forgettable decision win over Ilir Latifi, so he'll need to win big over Machida to earn a title shot.
Machida might be a bit closer to a crack at the middleweight strap, as he's coming off a knockout victory over Mark Munoz.
However, nothing is guaranteed when it comes to UFC title shots. If Mousasi vs Machida turns out to be a snoozer, the winner of the Ronaldo Souza vs Francis Carmont fight could end up with a title shot.
Souza is actually ranked higher than Machida at middleweight, so it's not crazy to think he's next up for a title fight.
Here's a look at the full UFC Fight Night 36 results:
- Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi
- Ronaldo Souza vs. Francis Carmont
- Erick Silva vs. Takenori Sato
- Viscardi Andrade vs. Nicholas Musoke
- Charles Oliveira vs. Andy Ogle
- Cristiano Marcello vs. Joe Proctor
- Rodrigo Damm vs. Ivan Jorge
- Francisco Trinaldo vs. Jesse Ronson
- Iuri Alcantara vs. Wilson Reis
- Felipe Arantes vs. Maximo Blanco
- Ildemar Alcantara def. Albert Tumenov via split decision
- Zubaira Tuhugov def. Douglas Silva de Andrade via unanimous decision