Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio Shogun: Machida Did More Than You Think

Darren WongSenior Analyst IOctober 26, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24:  UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida celebrates his victory over UFC Light Heavyweight challenger Mauricio Rua (not pictured) in their title fight at UFC 104 at Staples Center on October 24, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Machida retained his title by way of unanimous decision.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Let me start off by saying that I think the Machida vs. Shogun fight was very close.

However, I don't really think that either fighter really did enough to earn a decisive decision. Most of all, though, I was very surprised by the one-sided nature of the broadcast commentary by Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg.

I thought that Shogun was doing very well, but I also thought Rogan and Goldberg failed to recognize many of Machida's counters.

The best argument for a Shogun victory is the success of his kicks to the body and leg of Machida while Machida was fighting from his southpaw stance. However, Machida almost always threw his counter-left in retaliation.

Whenever Machida is in his southpaw stance, he tends to counter leg kicks with his powerful left hand. This strike is the bread and butter of Machida's arsenal, and has been very damaging in the past to the likes of Stephan Bonnar, Rich Franklin, Vernon White, Sam Hoger, and Rameau Sokoudjou.

The left that Machida uses to counter the inside leg kick was probably Machida's best weapon against Stephan Bonnar.

If you want a better illustration of this counter, watch the first round of Machida vs. Hoger, and you'll see what I mean.

In fact, this weapon is probably the most formidable weapon in Lyoto's tool-box. He landed it against Shogun on multiple occasions. Shogun, who has never been knocked out, just has a better chin than Bonnar, Sokoudjou, Franklin, and Hogar.

This clip shows Machida landing it on Rashad Evans.

Here it is on Sokoudjou.

I was pretty surprised that Rogan, a keen observer, wasn't really looking out for these counters, because I do believe that many of them did find their mark.

Here in this shot we see Shogun landing a big flying kick. The kick lands solidly, but it also looks like Machida might have landed his counter as well, so I'm not completely sure that Shogun won exchanges like these.

Here's the combination that occurred near the end of the third round. The UFC broadcast played the combination in slow-motion, but if you look at the start of the combination, you'll see that Shogun backs up because of the initial counter off the leg kick.

I haven't been able to find many other GIFs online yet, but after watching the fight a few times, I do think that Machida deserves a lot more credit for his counters than he was given by the commentators and viewers during the UFC 104 pay-per-view broadcast.

The casual viewer who does not really watch a lot of Machida's fights might not even notice Machida's counters. The other fighter makes the first and more dramatic move in the exchange, so it is easy for a casual viewer to miss seeing Lyoto landing his counter when Shogun throws his kick.

Because the leg kick is more noticeable, I think that it gets a lot more credit from the casual viewer than the counter. This is only enhanced when the commentators aren't really even acknowledging that the counter was ever thrown.

Is it really the case that a leg kick is worth more than a straight punch to the face?


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