The Machida era is a figment of Joe Rogan’s imagination because the idea that Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida will reign supreme in the light heavyweight division for 10 years is a bit of a stretch, if not just plain silly. With the attention that MMA and the UFC is garnering and endless waves of stronger fighters throwing their hats into the octagon, Machida will be lucky if he lasts five years. Machida’s style has already been decoded and it is not gonna take hungry young ‘uns ten years to incorporate counter-strategies into their style.
Anderson Silva already has the chops to beat Machida (if he moves to the light heavyweight division and of course agrees to fight his former training compadre. The only problem with that is that it just doesn’t make for a very interesting fight. As much as Anderson Silva represents the apogee of MMA skill, he still lacks the stylistic and typological polarity to make a match-up between him and Machida a bankable affair, both in terms of the historical and psycho-dramatic bang for the buck. Know-nothing dilettantes will clamor for this fight but it just ain’t worth the trouble it will take Dana White to put it together. Very few aficionados want to see this fight because it proves nothing, one way or the other. So what if, Anderson edges Machida or Machida edges Anderson? Physiologically and stylistically they are cut from same cloth. They know each others’ flips and flops the way Cheech knew Chong’s. No this would just be another case of misdirected power if Dana listens to the peanut gallery and forces the two former compadres into busting each other’s “nutsacks”.
Absent Anderson Silva, the Machida killer is alive and well and no longer a figment of our pugilist imagination. And the good news is that he doesn’t necessarily have to drink piss toddies or stand on one foot Karate Kid style to beat the Belen wunderkind. No, he just has to have a few qualities among which would be strength, quickness and devastating accuracy with his punches and kicks. In addition, he has to be:
1. A south-paw or fighter who can adopt an effective south-paw stance to out- mirror Machida’s stance, thereby cutting down his effective striking distance. And by effective we mean someone who can actually kick and strike from that stance. (An Anderson Silva quality)
2. A fighter who can fire on the run to neutralize Lyoto’s Ginger Rogers routine. Those who have seen Lyoto’s fights know how quickly he moves back and sideways to avoid being hit. The Machida killer would have to hit him on the run, especially with fists. Rashad Evans in UFC 98 should have gone for broke and closed the gap with Machida, but then he probably didn’t have the quickness to chase him and fire on the gallop. (Anderson Silva can do this, but what is not clear is whether he can keep up with the speed and evasive quickness of Machida.)
3. A great clinch fighter with Chuck Liddell like takedown defenses. And the reason has to do with the fact that when Machida runs out of room, the fighters will probably a clinch, at which point the Machida killer would have to defend a footsweep or take Machida down for the kill. (Chuck Liddell, Anderson Silva quality)
4. A strong ground and pound monster with near impeccable BJJ defense.
Stay tuned as we refine and add to this list in light of more Machida fights. Meanwhile watch this UFC 98 classic to see how our suggested strategies would have altered the outcome for poor old Rashad Evans: His cardinal mistake? Not closing the gap, thus reducing his arsenal to fighting devastating foot with fist. Machida’s foot did more damage, impact wise, than his fists. The fists were only effective when their impact multiplied by a cumulative effect. That is what brought Rashad Evans down.
5. Any crafty Muay Thai rock-n-roller in the mold of Mauricio Shogun Rua. In an earlier article, we had overlooked the former Pride wunderkind, a Brazilian to boot, who knows where the stylistic bones of Machida Karate are buried. Shogun Rua has, since UFC 104 of October 24, 2009, proved beyond a shadow of doubt that he is a certifiable Machida killer. Why he “lost” at this event is beyond anyone’s guess – anyone with two bits of fairness that is. See the appended post at the end of this article.