How Shogun Saved UFC 113 By Beating The Dragon

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How Shogun Saved UFC 113 By Beating The Dragon
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Lyoto Machida was seen as invincible heading into UFC 113.  He was 16-0 and had a list of victories that was just as good as, if not better than, anybody else in the sport.

That undefeated record came to a stop when he met the pride of PRIDE in Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and his fists, who then introduced him to the floor for the first time in his career.

This happened about three and a half minutes in the very first round, when The Dragon finally lost the goose egg that has been residing in his loss column since he first beat Kengo Watanabe at KJPW: Ultimate Crush back in 2003.

But this loss may have saved the UFC from having back-to-back embarrassing cards, and Dana White would not have been pleased with that after the disappointing showing of UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.

While everybody clamours over the first loss of the seemingly unbeatable Dragon, White should be very happy that nobody is talking about the very sad performances that plagued the rest of the pay-per-view events.

First, the return of former middleweight title contender Patrick Cote was thwarted in front of a crowd that was as close to 100 percent behind him as possible.

This isn't exactly a bad thing for the UFC, but they would have definitely preferred to have the guy whose last fight was a title attempt before two unfortunate injuries to come back strong instead of getting dropped on his face and submitted in the second round.

After that fight was the lightly anticipated Kimbo Slice vs. Matt Mitrione event.  Experts seemed to love Slice in this fight, mostly because Mitrione is one of the few fighters in the UFC with less experience than Slice.

The first round was great, but it was followed up by a second round where both fighters were gassed, causing an extremely sloppy product. 

Mitrione got Kimbo into a mount and that was the end as Slice basically called it quits and waited for ref to save him from the light blows that were coming from Mitrione's equally tired arms.

After the night was completed, Kimbo was dropped from the UFC, although White gave nothing but love to the former street fighter on ESPN2's post-fight coverage, saying that he would happily have Kimbo back if he were to prove his abilities had gotten better.

Jeremy Stephens and Sam Stout did a great job of salvaging one war out of the night, having a back-and-forth battle where big shots where landed from each side leading to a split decision. This fight was good, but not exactly a memorable one.

The next fight, however, is the one that could have ruined the entire night, as each fighter did their best to remove any fans from their fanbase.

During the fight, Brittish product Paul Daley attempted an illegal knee while wrestler Josh Koscheck was still on his knees, the knee whiffed, but if you asked Koscheck in the seconds following, it landed right on the button.

After rolling around and milking the supposed illegal shot, replays showed how the shot only glanced off of his head, doing little to no damage.  The display put the entire crowd behind Daley, which maybe gave him the confidence to attempt what he did next.

After a fight that made the GSP vs. Hardy match-up look like an all-out war, Daley seemed upset by Koscheck's game plan that consisted of getting top position and grappling while landing a few shots here and there.

Words were exchanged during the final minutes of the fight while Koscheck laid on top of Daley, just as had happened the previous 15 minutes, and Daley didn't seem to happy about what was said.

After the bell rang, well after the bell rang, Daley decided that the fight wasn't over and threw a sucker punch that landed perfectly on Koscheck's face and opened up a cut above his nose, which caused Dan Miragliotta to restrain Daley, saying "Are you kidding me?"

After talking to Daley, White didn't seem to pleased with his reasoning, as according to White, Daley's explanation was, "I didn't hear the bell ring." 

If this was true, and I don't see why White would lie to ESPN2's post-fight crew, it was much more disgraceful than Koscheck's antics earlier in the fight.

Either way, White was adamant that Daley's fighting days in the UFC were over, saying that he would never fight in the UFC again, no matter how successful he became in a different organization.

This fight will possibly cause a lot of controversy throughout The Ultimate Fighter 12, which Koscheck won the honor of coaching after beating Daley, as a storyline like this may be too juicy to pass up.

The good news, however, is that instead of the failed storylines and outright despicable performances that took place, the story that everybody is focused on is the one that doesn't shed a bad light on the UFC.

If Machida wins this fight, the story of the headline is that the reign of karate continues, which isn't nearly interesting enough for writers to be satisfied with, which would have likely resulted in articles about the disgrace of Kos-Daley and the failed experiment with Kimbo Slice.

Instead, the juicy story is the end of the Machida era.  The Dragon has been slain, and his carcass is covering up all of the miscues that happened earlier in the night, which is great news for Dana White and the UFC.

I'm Joe W.

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