Oct. 24, 2009 marked a day of controversy in the world of mixed martial arts and The Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida came into Staples Center in Los Angeles on an impressive streak that included not having lost a round since making his UFC debut in 2007.
That streak swiftly came to an end when he met Mauricio “Shogun” Rua that night in the octagon.
The two fighters went back and forth for five solid rounds and many argued over who won the fight based on a number of different factors.
Striking, control, efficiency; the list goes on and on.
Once the final horn rang signaling the end of the fight, “Shogun” raised his hands with the impression that he out-struck the champion and earned the coveted 205-pound title.
This, however was not the case.
The judges had scored the fight a unanimous decision win for the champion Machida.
Everyone in Staples Center was in an uproar the moment the decision had been read by Bruce Buffer as boos rained for the stands, showering the judges, especially Cecil Peoples.
The result prompted UFC President Dana White to grant “Shogun” an immediate rematch.
Now, with the rematch about a week and a half away, controversy remains in the air, which may tell a tale of the importance for a rematch between these light heavyweights.
Not since Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture squared off for a second time has the buzz for a part two between UFC competitors been so anticipated.
MMA and UFC fans have gone back and forth for six months, arguing about who won this fight, and the heated discussion has not let up one bit.
Arguably, the Machida-Shogun controversy is the most debated call in the sports short history. A rematch can finally settle the tension.
Not much has changed between Machida and “Shogun” since they fought in late 2009.
When asked about his game plan for the rematch with Machida, “Shogun” addressed Bleacher Report MMA during a media conference call and said, “In fact, I’m training for all situations so I can get no surprises when the fight starts, but actually, I have to think on different game plans and different approaches to the fight incase Lyoto comes up with something different for the fight, so I have to be prepared.”
This approach was very similar to “Shogun’s” train of thought the first time around.
For his own sake, the hope is that it will not translate to the same outcome as the previous affair.
For the champion, fighting “Shogun” proved to be more difficult than anyone had anticipated.
Since making his debut, no other fighter has given Machida the problems standing up on his feet that “Shogun” did.
This fact may motivate a fighter to change their plan of action, but not the champ.
“This is an MMA fight, so… you have to be prepared for all situations,” said Machida when talking about the possibility of utilizing some ground game. “I mean, my strategy is to come in and be prepared to take the fight wherever it goes. There’s not too much that’s going to change. I’ve worked on certain areas of my game to improve, but, for the most part, I’m going to come in and find my strategy.”
If the fight goes exactly the way it did last time, will the judges see it any differently? Possibly.
Every judge has their favorites, and even their own way of scoring a fight.
Given the dislike over the decision in Machida-Shogun I, there may be a change in how the judges see the outcome if the fight were to go exactly as it did before.
The fact is, you never know.
The only way to find out is to let the two fighters go at it again and that’s what will happen on May 8 at UFC 113 in Montreal.
One thing is for certain: the only way to keep judges from making bad decisions is to finish your opponent.