Things did not exactly go as planned for Lyoto Machida at UFC 163 during his bout with Phil Davis, but there are a few things he can learn and apply to his next fight.
The same goes for all of us as we peruse the aftermath of UFC 163. There are plenty of things to learn from the underwhelming night in which the top fights didn't live up to the hype.
Jose Aldo is still the champ. The result was a bit expected at this point given his run of dominance, but how the fight ended was not. The Korean Zombie popped his shoulder out of socket, and Aldo took advantage for a fourth-round TKO.
The Machida-Davis fight was another big one, but it left us scratching our heads more than anything. Machida appeared dominant throughout but heard Davis' name called at the end courtesy of a unanimous-decision loss.
The results themselves don't tell the whole story. Here are the biggest takeaways worth noting after diving beyond the list of winners and losers.
Jose Aldo Needs Some New Competition
It's time for something to change for Aldo. It's clear that the featherweight division does not have much to offer in the way of competition at this point.
Yes, Aldo took advantage of an injury to defend his title, but that's what a smart champion would do. Most of the contenders for his title, such as Frankie Edgar, Cub Swanson and Chad Mendes, have already lost to the champ at one point or another.
The exception to the rule is Ricardo Lamas, but it's unknown if Lamas will receive his shot, because he doesn't have a last name like Edgar or Swanson.
What Aldo should do next is jump up to the lightweight division and wait for a title shot in the aftermath of Ben Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis at UFC 164. He'd be a shoo-in as the No. 1 contender and have a chance to make a serious run at dominating both divisions.
Aldo is a known commodity at this point, meaning he's the best pound-for-pound featherweight out there. Like his smart match against the Korean Zombie showed, it's time for him to find some new competition.
Machida Does Not Understand Point Fighting Is a No-No
Machida just doesn't get it.
After all three judges were in agreement with their 29-28 scores at the end of Machida vs. Davis, Machida turned to the crowd and had the following to say, according to Shaun Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting:
Machida isn't happy: "I really don't know what the UFC's rules are. I don't know what they're judging." #UFC163— Shaun Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) August 4, 2013
It's really not that hard to understand—point fighting isn't going to fly in UFC.
Classic Machida strategy took center stage against Davis, and it cost Machida dearly. Rather than being the aggressor, Machida was content to sit back and cherry-pick his way through the fight. Machida remained conservative and on the evasive except for points here and there at which would he would duck in and try to land a significant strike.
There were plenty of significant strikes for Machida, but the judges saw something different (which is a separate debate about MMA rules entirely).
Until Machida realizes his fighting style isn't doing him any favors, he's going to have a hard time getting back into contention. It's a shame, really, because Machida is a great fighter who deserves a shot, but something has to give on his end.
Phil Davis Deserves Some Credit
As hinted, the winner of the controversial decision against Machida was Mr. Wonderful himself, Phil Davis.
Davis is not going to receive credit from most for the victory, thanks to the controversy.
Whether the judges were incorrect or not, it's time to give Davis his due.
Let's talk for a moment about how much better Davis has become over the years. After losing to Rashad Evans last year, Davis has done nothing but improve, and his new skills were on full display against Machida.
Both his standup and footwork are reaching a new level, and his wrestling game remains as lethal as ever. He lasted long enough through a battery of strikes from Machida to tally the decision in the first place.
Davis is as dangerous as they come. His skills continue to evolve, and he continues to be a rising star in the division.
Controversial decision or not, Davis has more than shown that he's worthy of respect.
Chan Sung Jung Deserves Even More
Yes, Jung lost in the title bout against Aldo. He did so in somewhat embarrassing fashion, as well, after throwing his shoulder out of socket while attempting a strike.
However, rather than signal to the referee to call the match while pointing at the injury, Jung attempted to shrug it off, pop his shoulder back into place and jump back into the fray.
You have to respect that.
The Korean Zombie may have lost in unorthodox fashion, but it's a quick climb back to the top if he can land a match against a ranked opponent like Nik Lentz or even a rematch with Dustin Poirier.
Or if he somehow lands a rematch with Aldo, which he has already publicly stated that he wants, that could be a quick way back to the top, although he admits others are waiting in line.
Regardless of whom he fights next, Jung again proved he is one of the most dangerous in the cage. Even in a loss, that's an impressive feat.
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