No Sympathy for Shogun
UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida seemed resigned to his fate last Saturday night after his light heavyweight title bout with Maurcio "Shogun" Rua.
As the two came to the middle of the ring to hear the official decision Machida's head hung low, covering up a busted lip and a face that was beginning to swell with welts.
It looked as if the 15-0 fighter was about to be handed loss No. 1 in his career.
Then the uniamous decision was handed down 48-47 Machida. The thousands in attendance at the Staples Center began to boo and millions more across the country surely let out a groan as well.
Machida had appeared to steal the fight and retained his title in the UFC's 205 lb weight class.
This forced UFC President Dana White to reiterate one of his favorite sayings in the post fight press conference. Although he believed Shogun won the fight White pointed out that if you really want to be sure that you won the fight, you don't let it go to the judges.
It probably didn't help than instead of encouraging Rua to push the action his corner was telling him he had won every round.
While the fight was very technical and at some points even boring, I'd have to agree with White. Rua had several opportunities to punish Machida out of his clinch, and appeared to hobble the champion several times with leg kicks, Rua never bothered to press the action.
Machida clearly looked more beat down in the fifth and final round of the fight but both fighters were content to circle and look for openings instead of going on the attack.
It's not to say that a technical strategy does not work in the UFC, Forrest Griffin used one to take out Quintin Jackson at UFC 86, but both fighters pushed the action in that fight and tried to finish it.
While I do not believe Machida won the fight (I had the fight scored 48-47 Rua) I cannot feel much sympathy for Rua. While you have to respect Machida's counter striking ability it can only go so far before it looks like you fear it.
Rua had opportunities and did not take them instead opting to put the fights in the hands of the judges.
White already announced after the fight that the two are going to have a rematch immediately. Some advice to Shogun for the second go-round. Finish the fight.
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