UFC 104: The Machida Error

Justin OrelCorrespondent IOctober 25, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24:  UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida (R) battles with UFC Light Heavyweight challenger Mauricio Rua (L) during their title fight at UFC 104 at Staples Center on October 24, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

I arrived at Hooters last night excited not only for the UFC 104 pay-per-view, but also with the knowledge that I’d be covering the event in some fashion for my first Bleacher Report article this morning. However, by the time I got home, I felt more than a little embarrassed for the sport we all love.


I’m going to start with a few notes I took during the PPV, just to give you all a little insight on what I’m thinking while watching fights.


Anthony Johnson vs Yoshiyuki Yoshida


It’s disappointing seeing Rumble come in six pounds overweight, and I hope this is a wake-up call for him to move up a division or two. Ah, Arianny gave me a little wave, did you guys see that?


Well, I don’t even think Yoshida landed a shot here. Rumble ran up on him and took him out in about 40 seconds. No ground or pound required. Johnson looks impressive again, but the victory is no doubt tainted by the weight issue.

Joe Stevenson vs Spencer Fisher


Fisher looks a little out of shape for this one. Joe Daddy used some nice feints and switched stances against Spencer. Joe Daddy claimed the Bud Light logo on the mat, controlling the center of the octagon.


In the second round, Joe jumped into guard and tried to snatch a leg, but couldn’t quite get it. A bloody Fisher was then crucified and Stevenson hit over a dozen unanswered elbows to the head. Not too much to say about this one.


Joe Daddy looked excellent, and Fisher really didn’t look like he had much for him. Stevenson moves back towards the top of the lightweight division; Fisher heads back down a bit. All is pipe.

Yushin Okami vs Chael Sonnen


Okay, so I guess everyone can stop whining about Okami not getting PPV time. Sonnen looked real good in the first round, changing levels and demonstrating some crisp kickboxing.


Chael nearly pasted Okami, but to no avail. Those disappointed can get their share of dick when Michael Bisping annoys us all next month at UFC 105. Chael reminds me of the janitor on Scrubs. Nothing terribly exciting here, either.


Okami basically got manhandled and lost all 3 rounds, 30-27. Sonnen looked great and should be getting some bigger fights at middleweight, but what’s next for Okami?


I’m guessing some more preliminary fights, and unless he can string some more wins together or makes some kind of change, I don’t see him becoming a factor in this division. I just don’t.


Josh Neer vs Gleison Tibau


Goldberg theorizes this may become a barnburner. Okay, Tibau is a ridiculously massive lightweight. He does the ole “Matt Hughes” on Neer, who caught air several times in each round on his way to the mat. Tibau’s slams and successful takedowns were no doubt enough to take the catchweight fight 30-27.


Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan must’ve agreed with those who felt this shouldn’t have been on the PPV, as a lot of time was spent discussing how Dana White will straight sue you and lock you up for five years if you tape and distribute this PPV.


I guess Tibau looked impressive; he basically outwrestled Neer ala Kurt Pelligrino a few months back. Neer looked fresher late in the fight and was always active in getting back up, but he never had Tibau in any kind of trouble. Subsequently, no barns were burned in the making of this fight.

Cain Velasquez vs Ben Rothwell


Ah, EXTRENZE across the front of the trunks. Rothwell is all class. My friend Stank points out that Steve Mazzagatti looks a lot like Dale Gribble from King of the Hill, and I dare you to disagree. I gave Cain the first round, maybe even by a 10-8.


Velasquez was able to take Ben down in both rounds, easily and brutally, and always followed up with big shots on the ground. Rothwell was standing up while taking some big shots, and Cain gets it via TKO in the third.


Velasquez seems like someone who could give UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar some trouble, but I’d have to assume a fight with Antonio Nogeuira is coming up next. And I like Cain’s odds.


Rothwell simply got wrecked, he kept leaving himself open for takedowns, and Cain was able to capitalize. Get it, CAIN was ABLE? Come on, stay with me.

UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida vs Shogun Rua


Pre-fight text messages


Me: “If a Dragon enters the clinch at 2:44 in the second round, and starts eating knees at 3:02, how long will it take for a Shogun to shock the world?”

Stank: “Well, first you have to factor in a double-busted knee. Then divide the number of knees by the amount of elusiveness.”


For the record, I gave Shogun every single round, 10-9. I know a lot of people disagree, and that’s fine. A few rounds were close, I’ll admit, but it’s impossible for me to see the logic in giving Machida more rounds than Shogun.


One round? Sure. Two rounds? Really pushing it, but if you really wanted to make the case, you could. Three rounds? Absolutely no way to justify that.


The fight was close enough point-wise to where a split-decision was plausible, but there’s no way Machida won that fight. Now every fight, every title defense, his undefeated streak, and the Light-Heavyweight title itself are tainted by the poor judgement on display last night.


Shogun clearly worked very, very hard on his gameplan and did something no one even came close to doing previously: he beat Lyoto Machida. Machida, who had never lost a round in his career, lost round after round, backpedaling and eating kick after kick. He could barely talk in his post-fight interview, and was limping noticeably in the final round.


It’s a total shame and embarrassment, and I really feel bad for Shogun. He deserved the win and the title. And as the crowd’s chants of “Machida” turned to “Shogun”, I can’t help but get the feeling “The Machida Error” will be a hot debate for the remainder of his title reign.


I really appreciate whoever reads this. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave me comments or whatever you feel the need to do.


Justin Orel