Casual fight judges everywhere have found themselves flabbergasted by an unlikely decision made during UFC 104's main event between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Rua. Many articles have been written about the subject, the topic has been discussed.
In hindsight, after reviewing the fight for a second time, it is still very clear who won, but there is more to this fiasco than just a poor decision by three judges who saw a different fight than most. W's and L's are just numbers, but pride and victory are forever. The ripples of this situation will resonate for some time.
While there is no consolation to a man like Rua, whom many people felt won the fight, he still can hold his head high knowing he was the first to ever stump Machida, the first ever to actually push him at the peak of his career. He laid down a blueprint for how to fight this elusive opponent.
It is tough to watch such a phenomenal performance be wasted, as it was quite rare to begin with. Not Rua's actual talent, but the fact that he dominated Machida most of the fight, that is the rarity—as rare as an ugly UFC ring girl.
A loss on your record when you actually won can be a hard pill to swallow. What is also a detriment is the fact that this may have been one of the lone opportunities for someone to best Machida. Lighting rarely strikes twice in the same place, and it seemed Rua had captured that lightning in a bottle Saturday night. He may not be able to recreate his efforts, as in the future the circumstances will have totally changed.
Rematches are great, but can he do it again? Will he be able to duplicate his performance, and even if he does, will Machida prove predictable based on what recently happened or will fight fans see a totally different fight? Time will tell.
When Joe Rogan said to fight fans everywhere, "welcome to the Machida era," he was not off the mark. This man has the talent and ability to dominate perennially without a doubt. He really is that good.
Consider for a moment Georges St. Pierre. One hiccup in that last four years is all he has had. It was one moment in time set aside for another man to reign atop the division. The short time frame that showed someone other than St. Pierre with the welterweight strap was a mere flash in the pan.
Other than that, everyone knows where the belt belongs, and where it more than likely will stay.
Machida is in that same type of situation. He may have his moments of weakness or vulnerability, but they will be few and far between. The one chance a man has to beat him will more than likely be the opportunity of a lifetime, and it wont happen often.
UFC 104 was that chance for Rua.
He beat Machida and suffered a loss despite his superior efforts. Imagine the drastic change in the landscape had the right call been made. Things would be quite different moving forward that much is certain.
Alas, it is not different.
It is much like it was expected to be, Machida still a title holder, and looking forward to his next defense. A title defense he most certainly will seize with more authority than the one he just had. This will harden him now that he has tasted what defeat may feel like, even if he did not actually lose.
Not unlike St. Pierre's dominating return to the world champion caliber fighter fight fans know he is, Machida should bounce back from this difficult test stronger without a doubt.
So that being said, has the Machida error slammed the door on any diversity atop the division that may have been had we seen an accurate decision?
More than likely that is the case. So there you have it folks, Machida by no fault of his own wins a fight as many predicted he would even though the judges clearly missed the beating he took in that cage.
Moving forward, a once in a lifetime opportunity was ripped from the grasp of the ever deserving Mauricio Rua. He may get the chance to prove his championship caliber skills yet again, but rest assured what happened Saturday night was one of a kind. It will be quite surprising to see the same fight again, a man like Machida will not allow that to happen.
So the Machida error prolongs the Machida era, one would imagine it should last for quite some time.