Results & Thoughts
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua def. Lyoto Machida via knockout (punches) - Round 1, 3:35
Wow! It was definitely weird seeing Machida get knocked out.
In January 2009, I was very excited to see Shogun get revenge on Mark Coleman and blow his doors off. After watching Rua tire out as quickly as Coleman, I never thought I would see him fight for and win the title. He looked terrible. I underestimated him & I have to give it to Shogun, he fuckin brought it.
I've rewatched this first round quite a few times and it is amazing.
In their first meeting, I thought Machida won on the first 3 rounds and Shogun the last 2.
This time around I figured Shogun would want to take it out of the judges hands and he would throw more punches, leaving himself more open to counters by Machida, and that would be his undoing. He did just that, but he brought an even better gameplan to continually pressure Lyoto and not give him time to 'reset' which led to the KO of the karate fighter.
This fight made me realize that Shogun has not only an iron beard but nothing seems to hurt him at all. He doesn't even mark up. In this fight and their first, Lyoto hit him with some great counter strikes that were good enough to stop Rashad Evans & Thiago Silva, but Shogun wasn't even fazed by them. Right before Shogun connects with the big, ugly right hook that leads to the end of the fight, Lyoto hits him with the same big knee that dropped Tito Ortiz and Shogun didn't even notice. I knew that Shogun had never been knocked out but I'm realizing after this fight that he seems to be some sort of superman. It's no wonder Machida broke his hand punching him in the face.
I don't want to be another one to announce the 'Shogun Era' (because we all know how long Rogan's 'Machida Era' lasted) but I don't know who in the UFC can beat him.
Looking at Shogun's track record, I don't know if his cardio problems are solved. I think the way to beat him will be to get takedowns, stay out of submission trouble and take him into deep water.
It was announced that the winner of Rampage/Rashad Evans will get the title shot and I don't see either of those 2 beating Shogun.
If it's Rashad, he will most likely get knocked out by Shogun. Ever since he knocked out Chuck Liddell he seems to think he is some sort of super-striker and he will get hurt by Rua. Even if Rashad did try to use his collegiate experience, I've never been impressed with his wrestling. He doesn't have a big double leg shot, he seems to always push his opponent into the fence and try for a single, meanwhile tiring himself out.
If its Rampage who gets the title shot, I think it would go much the same way as Rampage/Shogun 1, or even worse for Rampage.
Little Nog could impress in the UFC and have a shot in a rematch with Shogun but I don't see him getting it done.
The only light heavyweight I see right now having the wrestling to tire Shogun out over 5 rounds is Strikeforce Champion, 'King Mo' Lawal, but even he's not ready yet for Shogun's power and BJJ chops.
A Shogun vs Anderson Silva fight would be incredible but I don't see it happening for a long while.
I know we're gonna hear a lot of people talk that the 'Machida puzzle' has been solved and now anyone can beat him but I really doubt that's true. If you watch that first round, Machida would've stopped a lot of people with those shots.
I think ultimately we'll see Machida/Shogun 3. Machida is better than every light heavyweight that isn't Shogun and he will win his way back to the title. And, as a Machida fan it sucks to say but I don't think Lyoto can beat Shogun unless he brings something really different.
Josh Koscheck def. Paul Daley via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Shenanigans aside, this was a solid performance by Koscheck. I'm hapy to see that Koscheck is realizing the stakes involved in these fights and fighting smart. While I don't care for 'the Ultimate Fighter' TV show, I think the Koscheck/GSP title fight will be great. Koscheck has really improved a ton since TUF season 1 and, out of all the welterweights in the UFC, I think he has the best chance to beat St.Pierre.
Jeremy Stephens def. Sam Stout via split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
This was a great fight. I picked Stout to win hoping that I was wrong, and it was nice to see Stephens improve his game while beating the hell out of my least favorite fighter from London, Ontario. I almost got into a couple fights while cheering for Stephens. The crowd loved the Canadian. Ha.
Matt Mitrione def. Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson via TKO (punches) - Round 2, 4:24
This was a decent 2 rounds from 2 guys that shouldn't be fighting in the UFC. I'm actually surprised that Dana White would immediately announce that they are cutting Kimbo. He is a huge moneymaker. I find it hard to believe how crazy the fans go for Kimbo. If guys like Chris Leben and Stephan Bonnar stay on the roster, why would they get rid of Kimbo, who is a much bigger draw than both those guys combined? I imagine we'll see Kimbo in Japan soon enough, fighting Bob Sapp or Minowaman.
Alan Belcher def. Patrick Cote via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 2, 3:25
Cote looked pretty slow coming off a year and a half layoff. I guess Dana is right, 'Ringrust is real'. Belcher looked good and he can call out Anderson Silva as much as he wants in an attempt to get a title shot but he doesn't stand a chance. I mean, Belcher got outstruck by a tired Akiyama. Silva would put Belcher in a wheelchair, but I'll give him points for trying.
Joe Doerksen def. Tom Lawlor via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 2, 2:10
Tom Lawlor is very entertaining but he should focus more on fighting than his next gimmick. I thought it was hilarious when he dressed as Dan Severn for the weigh-in's and even better when he came out to the James Brown/Apollo Creed entrance from Rocky 4, complete with the American flag jacket and top hat and choreographed moves. Lawlor almost finished Doerksen in the first and gassed pretty hard in the second leading to 'El Dirte' submitting him. Lawlor also gassed in his last fight against Aaron Simpson, which also cost him the fight. Lawlor needs to improve his cardio and his striking technique. He is a decent middleweight with good power in his striking and great mma fundamentals, he just needs to fix that gas tank. Doerksen won't last long in the UFC & I doubt they will cut the entertaining Lawlor but after another loss I would expect him to be gone.
Marcus Davis def. Jonathan Goulet via TKO (punches) - Round 2, 1:23
It seems everyone knew this was coming. Goulet is a better mix martial artist than Davis but there until they can cure a glass chin, guys like Goulet, Kendall Grove & Arlovski are gonna keep getting knocked out.
Johny Hendricks def. T.J. Grant via majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)
I scored it a 28-28 draw. Grant was definitely getting the better of the striking and Hendricks didn't do anything with his takedowns until the third and Grant lost a point for the second low blow.
Joey Beltran def. Tim Hague via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 29-28)
I'm really happy that the judges got it right. The way this fight played out made me think it was gonna be a split decision in favor of Hague. Beltran out boxed Hague very easily. Hague was so gassed going into third round, I think he shot for takedowns just to rest. I've never seen anyone get into full mount so desperately and then just sit there gulping for air. Beltran seems to be an out of shape 205'er and if he isn't going to cut down in weight he should think about putting on some muscle to get power behind those punches. He has a decent jab and throws in combination, that can take you very far in the heavyweight division.
Mike Guymon def. Yoshiyuki Yoshida via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
This was one of the best fights of the night. Both Yoshida and Guymon showed nice grappling chops with a lot of escapes, sweeps, and reversals. Yoshida could definitely fight smarter in the future. It was really nice to see Guymon breakdown into tears from getting his Joe Rogan interview considering this is a guy that tried to kill himself last summer.
John Salter def. Jason MacDonald via TKO (injury) - Round 1, 2:42
An unfortunate ending to a nice matchup. I hope MacDonald has a good recovery.