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UFC 104: Mauricio Rua Wasn't Robbed

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)
Darren WongSenior Analyst IOctober 25, 2009

MMA fans have been chattering nonstop about the result of the main event last night in which Lyoto Machida won a unanimous decision over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 104.

While I personally believe that Shogun probably should have won the decision, it was far from a robbery.

The common consensus seems to be that Shogun won the last two rounds, as well as one of the first three. But while the last two rounds of the fight may have been the easier rounds to score, there is still the question of the first three rounds.

Some people believe that Shogun won the first, while others believe that he won the third. Two of the three judges gave the first three rounds to Machida, and that was enough already for a decision.

Each of the first three rounds was close enough that nobody really would have a problem with a judge scoring any of them for Machida, yet it seems to many like some great injustice that a judge would give Machida all three.

The judges don't think that way. They're supposed to score each round on its own merits and are also strongly discouraged from scoring a round an even 10-10. It really shouldn't be that shocking to most people that Machida earned the decision, especially given the old rhetoric that in order to win the title, you need to beat the champion.

Within the first three rounds, Shogun did not do enough to prove that he was really beating the champion. Further controversy was probably stoked by a few other factors.

For one thing, the commentary for the fight seemed to favor Shogun fairly heavily.

One of the key problems in the fight is in scoring one particular exchange that was repeated over and over.

When Machida was standing in his southpaw stance opposite Shogun's orthodox stance, Shogun would throw a kick to the body, or to the leg, while Machida would counter either with a kick of his own or, more often, a left hand to the face.

I think that some people are confused about how to score the exchange when Machida successfully lands that counter.

The commentary by Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg definitely seemed to favor Shogun's attacks during those exchanges, to the point where they seemed not even to acknowledge Machida's counters. Clearly the judges saw those exchanges differently.

Just in case you don't think Machida's counter lefts are damaging, though, here's what his counter has done in other fights.

Machida also landed a few solid knees in the fight—kind of like this one.

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