COMMENTARY | Lyoto Machida won his second straight fight at middleweight on Saturday night as he defeated Gegard Mousasi via unanimous decision.
Machida's victory capped off a lackluster UFC Fight Night 36 card that featured 10 judges' decisions.
Here are three thoughts on the card:
There were plenty of critics online following the UFC's second straight 10-decision card, and for good reason. Fans want to see finishes, not decisions, in a mixed martial arts fight. Still, I'm not going to be one of those people lambasting the UFC's matchmaking over this.
Yes, styles make fights, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the Francis Carmont/Jacare Souza fight was probably going to be a decision before it even took place. However, many of these bouts still need to happen to figure out the hierarchy in each division.
It's also important to note that decisions don't always equal boredom. Some of the UFC's greatest bouts have ended in decisions. There are critics out there who want rules enacted that would discourage fights from going to the judges' scorecards, but in the end, that would deprive us of some of the greatest bouts or moments in UFC history.
Finally, let's not forget that every card is different. There are going to be nights when nearly every bout will go to the judges, but history has shown that there are going to be events filled with finishes as well. Decisions are part of MMA, and while I admit that they made the UFC Fight Night 36 rather boring at times, I don't believe that new rules should be implemented to curb them.
Jacare Souza needs a top-five opponent
I'm starting to wonder what the UFC is doing with Souza. He's won his first three bouts in the organization and last six fights overall. However, the UFC has yet to put him up against a top-five opponent.
Yushin Okami is probably the most credible opponent he's faced, but the former middleweight contender hasn't been the same since his title loss to Anderson Silva in August 2011. He's not exactly a solid measuring stick for Souza. The only thing we know about Souza after UFC Fight Night 36 is that Carmont isn't at his level.
Perhaps it's time to see Souza face Machida. It's a bout that makes sense with Chris Weidman defending his title in May. The winner of a Souza/Machida fight would likely be next in line for a shot at the belt, and it would prove once and for all that they are true contenders in the division.
Machida should be next in line
Lyoto Machida should be next in line for a title shot if a fight with Souza doesn't materialize. Machida wasn't able to finish Mousasi in five rounds on Saturday night, but he was clearly the more dominant fighter. I thought that Mousasi would give Machida more of a challenge than he did. Actually, I thought that Mousasi's style was a difficult fit for Machida. Mousasi is a calm, patient fighter who normally isn't baited into exchanges with quicker opponents. Machida still managed to work around Mousasi's strengths for what turned out to be a rather easy victory.
I'm convinced that there aren't many fighters at 185 pounds who can deal with Machida's size and speed. However, if a fight with Souza isn't in the cards, then a matchup against the winner of the Chris Weidman/Vitor Belfort fight makes the most sense to me. It would be interesting to see how Weidman would handle Machida's evasive, hit-and-run style, but a fight against the explosive Belfort would be just as exciting. Either way, UFC Fight Night 36 cleared up the middleweight title picture. Now it's time to see how it all pans out.
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Lyoto Machida
- Gegard Mousasi