There may be a "Lyoto Machida Era" but it's not right now. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua showed the declarations that Machida was stop some sort of unstoppable force were ridiculous. Rua, who many thought won the first matchup between the fighters back at UFC 104 in October, went right after the feared counter-striker from the get-go.
Machida is a master of controlling distance and timing, Rua simply wouldn't allow him to get comfortable. Rua smothered him with punches and when Machida tried to get aggressive, he got drilled with a right hand that bounced off the side of his head. Machida went down, Rua jumped on top and got off nine shots before "The Dragon" was nearly out cold. Referee Yves Lavigne gave Rua the victory at 3:35 of the first round. He wins the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 113 in Montreal.
This was one of the rare cases where a fighter learned his lesson a discouraging result in the initial meeting and made the necessary changes to make sure the judges couldn't cost him via decision this time around. At UFC 104, many thought, including UFC president Dana White, that Rua took a five-round decision. White was livid after the fight immediately granting Rua a rematch.At UFC 104, all three judges gave the fight to Machida in spite of the fact that he looked worse for wear at the close. One judge, Cecil Peoples, threw gasoline on the controversial fire, by saying leg kicks don't win you fights. That's a ridiculous notion and something no judge should think or say publicly.
It was clear from the start of this one that Machida was guarding against those nasty leg kicks. A southpaw, Machida tried a conventional stance a few times and seemed stunned when Rua starting letting his hands go as he charged him.
If you told people four years ago that Rua would be a UFC champ in its most glamorous division not too many experts would've been shocked. When the UFC bought Japan's PRIDE in 2007, Rua was considered the top prize acquired. Just 26 years old at the time, Rua was ranked by many as the top 205er in the world. Then came the knee injuries and a lack of focus.
When Rua finally made it to Octagon at UFC 76 he lost badly to Forrest Griffin and followed that up with a sloppy victory over 43-year-old Mark Coleman. Even a knockout win over Chuck Liddell last year in Montreal at UFC 97, did little to convince people he had a shot at UFC 104. Going into this fight he was still a minus-185 underdog.
- Lyoto Machida