If you missed the UFC 104 this past Saturday here’s a brief overview of the fight.
It was to many people the most controversial decision in UFC history…
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua took on Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida for the UFC light-heavyweight title… in what many thought would be a great fight. Personally I thought Machida would win the fight due to his intelligent way of controlling the distance, circular defensive footwork and counter-striking skills.
I thought this should be enough to handle Shogun’s aggressive “walk up” Muay Thai based style. Both fighters have knockout power and both have stellar MMA records with Shogun 18-3 and Machida 15-0. On paper this all made sense to be a great fight… but as many fans saw it really didn’t turn out that way.
As per usual Machida controlled the distance well for the first 3 rounds, closing the gap several times with knee strikes and punching combinations. We also saw a few attempted lower leg disturbs (faking the sweep) followed by reverse punches to the head – a great karate kumite combination often seen in WKF.
Shogun however had obviously done his homework and trained hard for this fight. He caught Lyoto many times with solid kicks to the legs. At the post match interview he said he’d practiced 1000 leg kicks per day for the 4 months leading up to the fight….
And you could tell…
I’m sure he and his coaches asked something like, “How can we stop Lyoto’s dynamic footwork and explosive technique?” and someone probably said, “Easy… kick him in the legs until he can’t use them to push or kick any more.”
And this strategy worked very well. By round 4 it appeared that the Dragon’s legs were so sore he was unable to control the distance as well as he did in the first 3 rounds. Lyoto took a pounding to his thighs and didn’t Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg love telling the world about it! While this obviously fooled the commentators the judges saw it differently.
The judges saw what I’m sure the rest of us who practice karate saw – Machida’s “pick off” and counter striking with each leg kick Shogun delivered. In other words Shogun was getting nailed with punches as he worked Machida’s legs. The judges obviously saw a strike to the head to have more value than a kick to the legs.
Without a doubt Shogun definitely finished the stronger fighter and is the first UFC fighter to win rounds against “The Dragon” and do any visible damage to the champion. When it was all over the announcement came with the winner by UNANIMOUS DECISION scoring the fight 48-47 in favor of Lyoto Machida.
And didn’t the crowd go nuts! The majority of the audience booed the decision feeling that Shogun was the winner. In the post fight interview Joe Rogan appeared to be disgusted by the decision and virtually asked for an immediate rematch.
Here’s the thing though that most people don’t get. It’s the UFC – it’s not a real fight. There are RULES for scoring. Strikes to the head for this set of officials obviously had more influence than kicks to the legs.
Although Shogun finished stronger, in the judges eyes he didn’t dominate the the majority of the fight. I personally don’t know how the judges scored the match, but I’m thinking the scorecard looked something like this…
R1 – Machida 10-9
R2 – Machida 10-9
R3 – Machida 10-9
R4 – Shogun 10-9
R5 – Shogun 10-9
Result 48 Machida, 47 Shogun.
Your thoughts? Post ’em below…