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UFC 104: Lyoto Machida wins close decision over Shogun Rua
In this week's fan poll, 65 percent of Fightin' Words readers thought Lyoto Machida would beat Mauricio "Shogun" Rua by KO/TKO. A cumulative 82 percent (590 of the 732 total votes) chose Machida to win the fight regardless of how. Online sportsbooks had Machida listed as a -500 or greater favorite.
So, basically, no one outside of Rua's family and training team gave him a chance to win the light heavyweight championship at UFC 104 in Los Angeles.
With a steady attack of leg kicks to the body, Rua tenderized Machida's ribs like a chef preparing a rack of ribs for a nice meal in the fanciest of fancy restaurants.
But Machida apparently did enough to fend off the body kicks and Rua's general control to win a unanimous decision and become the first light heavyweight champion to successfully defend his belt since Quinton "Rampage" Jackson on Sept. 8, 2007. All three judges scores the bout, 48-47.
Well, at least the judges said Machida lost two rounds, his first two in eight UFC fights (22 rounds).
The decision was met with quite a bit of disappointment by the crowd at the Staples Center, and no doubt everywhere else people gathered to watch the fight. Be it in a friend's house or a bar or a dorm room, there will be great debate over this decision.
Did Machida (16-0) really do enough to win the fight, or did he just get by based on the old-school thought that in order to become the champion, you have to beat the champion?
Regardless of where you stand on the decision, Rua (18-4) fought a very intelligent fight. He was controlled in his aggression and didn't look to rush in attacking Machida and his awkward style. Rua took away Machida's legs with a consistent inside leg kicks.
Each fighter did enough to make the decision as close as it was. I thought Rua won the fight as a whole but maybe not enough rounds when viewed individually, if you'll allow that to make any sense.
One thing is definitely certain: the light heavyweight division remains the toughest and most competitive in the UFC.
Lyoto Machida post-fight press conference highlights
Shogun Rua post-fight press conference highlights