UFC 113 started with a dance reminiscent of UFC 104 with Mauricio Shogun Rua stalking a retreating Machida. Shogun was Fred Astaire to Machida’s Ginger Rogers. But Shogun’s motives were more sinister than the coat-tailed meister of dance lore. That soon become clear because 3.52 minutes into the first round, Shogun pounced on Machida with a blow to the left temple. Machida fell back and an energized Shogun followed him to the ground with blows which knocked Machida out cold by the fifth or sixth blow. By the time of Shogun’s victory was announced, Machida’s left eye had become all bloodied and swollen almost shut.
The long and short of this? Machida and his team had worked hard to plug up the holes in Machida’s game – namely the vulnerability to leg kicks and the need for an effective deterrent to Shogun’s advances but the end result was not enough to stop Shogun. Among the reason Shogun won tonight were the following:
1. Machida was never effective at establishing a tactical perimeter that Shogun respected. Without this, Machida had zero tactical deterrence. In any case maintaining such a perimeter would have called for an alteration of Machida basic M.O. and conditioned instincts. Put another way Machida just didn’t have enough of a hard offense to give Shogun pause before advancing on him.
2. Machida could not handle being hit and brutalized mentally. Its not in his past – and probably not in his future. We do not advocate the Wanderlei Silva school of pugilism because it leads to brain damage – but it does have its merits – namely the ability to deter advancers.
3. Machida could not handle being hit and brutalized physically. Read that no chin. Machida had no chin. Shogun took strikes better than Machida. Simple.
4. Machida’s takedowns at 1.46″ and 2.42″ didn’t work because Shogun was able to get up using his strength. And while on the ground, he used his tactical advantage to avoid being brutalized.
5. The stand-up clinches at the edge of the octagon worked against Machida in the same way they worked against Frank Mir in the Mir/Carwin fight. Besides the sneaky punches, Shogun was wailing on his knee – which did not bode well for Machida’s legs – his mode of rear and lateral mobility.
6. Shogun deployed an effective run-and-gun strategy at about 2.30″ with Machida doing the running and Shogun doing the gunning. The strategy paid off as Shogun caught Machida with a strike to the face at 2.34″ which clearly snapped Machida’s head back. This was one of the points at which Machida could have been brought down. We raised this point in our article “In Search of the Machida Killer.”
After viewing the fight, go back to the replay sequence at 4.35″ in the video link below for an amazing precis of the entire fight in compressed time because it dramatizes the points that made Shogun the winner and Machida the loser. That amazing sequence starts with Machida throwing a knee to Shogun’s midsection and then following with a straight left fist strike at the same time that Shogun is deploying a looping right punch. Machida misses with a strike that could have brought Shogun down but Shogun’s loopy hook finds its mark on Machida’s left temple. Machida promptly goes down. Shogun smelling bacon piles on and unloads a flurry of strikes to the head and face in the guard position and Machida goes limp before the last three blows.
Shogun stops hitting Machida before the referee even moves in to stop the fight. Now there is class for you to make up for what was missing in the Daley/Koscheck fight. Shogun goes onto to steal hearts and minds with his congratulation of all the mothers, his mom and his wife who has just had a baby on the occasion of the impending Mothers’ Day. We could see dudes tearing up over their beer suds.
But the bottom-line for the hard-bitten fans was that a wrong had been righted and order had been restored to the Light Heavyweight Division. The senile judges of UFC 104 could now be encouraged to take early retirement.
Google Lyoto Machida vs Mauricio Shogun, UFC 113 video.
Our Hit & Miss on Paul Daley vs Jeff Koscheck: Our Cyberaxis call was off on Paul Daley vs Jeff Koscheck, but not by much. We missed the end result: a win by Koscheck over Paul Daley in a lackluster wrassling game that had fans booing, but not the underlying analysis. It is clear that result would have been totally different had Jeff Koscheck decided to go toe-to-toe with Paul Daley like he said he might out of sheer cockiness. He did not – because his momma didn’t raise a fool. Paul Daley is hard. Jeff Koscheck is soft. From the opening round he cowered behind a crappy ground game that did not result in any pounding or effective submission holds. Paul Daley is too strong for that shit. And with 36 seconds left in the first round, Jeff Koscheck did the old fake-a-roo worthy of a European League soccer player after a knee that could have hit him in the face clearly missed his mug. He lived up to his mamma’s boy rep (Daley’s characterization) when he carried on for a minute or two like he had been kneed in the face, a ruse that stopped the fight for about a minute or two while the referee got to the bottom of things. When it was clearly established that Koscheck had not been kneed in the face, the fight promptly resumed with Koscheck falling back on the tried and true – the wrestling which yielded ground-with-nary-a pound. The fans booed intermittently. Koscheck had reneged on facing Daley on a front that could have produced fireworks, but perhaps at Koscheck’s expense. He did what GSP, Matt Hughes and a couple of others routinely do; i.e. go technical and incremental on the fans’ dime and wangle decision wins out of three rounds. A win is a win, right? Well, yes and no. I do not see fans buying into Koscheck stock any time too soon. Read that tickets. Read that draws. There a the win and then there is the power and there is the glory. Jeff Koscheck just had a win at the price of a cheap ticket. The down side of this is that he is now destined to be the coach of The Ultimate Fighter TV show opposite George St. Pierre. This sets him up for a snoozer of a finale with GSP at the end of the season. Who is gonna be watching this one? Not us here at Cyberaxis. For Dana White, it goes on to show the wisdom of delaying some announcements about who is gonna do who until fighters have actually deported themselves in completed fights. In our view Koscheck doesn’t deserve to be on that show. What is he gonna teach future UFC grunt? Oi vei!
Koscheck as octagonal provocateur & Daley as dick-headed dolt: You already know of what happened 5 seconds after the end of the final round (Paul Daley walked up to Jeff Koscheck and sucker punched him in the face. That was a travesty unseen and unheard of in the UFC and none of us at Cyberaxis condone such behavior.
Now that the cat is out of the bag – well, kinda – it turns out that Daley must be one of the dumbest dicks fighting in MMA. Whether its relative youth or dumb gone dumber in the heat of the moment, it appears he deserves harsh punishment. Being afforded a license to fight pay carries with it responsibilities fairly similar to those of a driving license. One cannot be reckless without consequence.
Now having said that the question remains about what punishment would be befitting Daley’s crime. What the athletic commission is gonna do is still out there. The UFC, through Dana White, has indicated that it has cut Daley from UFC fights for life. We think that is too way too harsh. A two year suspension would have been tough enough. Cutting Daley for life is like using a hammer to squash a gnat. Overkill at its worst. The thing you’ll probably hurt beyond the gnat is the furniture.
Soon after the unfortunate incident, we had maintained that that the non-sweet nothings Koscheck had whispered in Daley’s ear should have been considered as possible mitigating circumstances, depending on what those non-sweet nothings were. (See Koscheck’s remarks on the ESPN post-fight show) Well, it turns out that there isn’t much there to mitigate the seriousness of what Daley did.
“I know people will make a big deal about what Koscheck said to me after the fight, but that didn’t play a factor. He said I was a (expletive) and that I couldn’t get up and whatever. I think he is just trying to make a bad situation worse,” (Paul Daley) MMAWeekly.com
That is it. End of story. If Josh had said something worse than that, Daley would have coughed it up in his own defence. So as things stand now, he doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on except the overly harsh punishment he has received to date at the hands of the UFC. Daley’s official apology, published through the Daily Telegraph, seems to have done little to change his situation.
On top of the fact of being a certifiable jerk, Koscheck’s words can never justify what Daley did. On top of that, what ticked Dana off among other things was Daley’s dumb response, when asked why he had punched Koscheck. He reportedly said that he hadn’t heard the bell – which was certifiable B.S. If he had deferred his answer, he might have had a better chance to clear his mind and say something honest and substantive at after the post-fight hubbub.
“He’s done. He will never be back. I don’t care if he goes all over the world, goes on a winning streak, becomes the best 170-pound fighter in the world or even the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, he’s never fighting in the UFC again.”(Dana White, UFC President on ESPN post-fight show)
That is pretty strong stuff that may not be reversible in the future. One of the things working against Daley’s is that as a 170 pounder, he is fairly disposable and Dana White knows that he will never be desperate for a 170 pounder the way he is desperate for heavyweights like Fedor Emelianenko. In this biz fame is kind of measured by the pound – Brock Lesnar and company being cases in point.
We hope that if Daley doesn’t melt down in the next couple of years and demonstrates an enviable work ethic outside the UFC, he may, through intermediaries, be allowed to come back for a second chance. The inauspicious aspect of this timetable is that in two years he will be about Shogun’s age, which in MMA terms is prime time territory. So his best bet is to go out and fight like the UFC never existed, and only come back if comeback opportunities present themselves. We will keep our fingers crossed. Meanwhile we can predict that Jeff Koscheck will fizzle within that time – not to mention losing fans as layers of his dick-hood are peeled layer after layer.
And then Kimbo Slice showed up but minus his cardio to lose in a lop-sided fashion to crazyman Matt Matrione whose grin bespoke of someone in an altered state of consciousness. About half-way through the fight a friend remarked that Kimbo Slice should have stayed with busting street bums. As marginally unconscionable as that sounded, there was a grain of truth in it.
Shogun Rua Going Forward: How long Shogun will hold onto the Light Heavyweight is anybody’s guess. There are just too many credible challengers to the throne he now holds. If he can hold on for just a couple of years, besides upping the ante on the skill factor, Shogun would be a marketer’s dream because his Q-factor is off the charts. The easy going manner, the smile and the ethic are poised to make him millions (See what he said to the camera after his victory was announced.)
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Koscheck wins the title, Daley shown the door (Dave Metzer, Yahoo Sports)
Pep Talk – Justice is served (Larry Pepe, Fight)
Dana White sends message to fans, fighters (Franklin McNeil, ESPN)