Machida has always impressed me. He fights like no one else. He doesn't strike often, but when he sees a high-percentage opportunity he takes it and he usually makes good use of it. He's very efficient. I can proudly say that I enjoy watching him fight. But it came to a point last night when I said to myself, "Come on, Machida, you've done nothing." Right when I said that, he tagged Rampage and had him backing up, coming dangerously close -- at least we thought so at the time -- to finishing Rampage. That was the most significant moment in the whole fight.
But the final result didn't surprise me. For the first two rounds Rampage was pressing forward, pushing the action. He was the aggressor. Whereas Machida, in the first two rounds, did nothing to press the action or mount any kind of effective offense. He did nothing to stop Rampage from attempting to fight his own fight. Fair enough, he avoided getting hit, but what did he do in those first two rounds to impose his will? At least Rampage made an attempt.
Machida's elusiveness got to the point where it would be more appropriately described as stalling. He did do something significant in the third round, but he was so elusive in the first two that he stole the opportunity from either fighter to do anything.
People say he's boring. I've always maintained that he isn't. And while I still won't go so far as to say he is, I won't staunchly defend him anymore as I can see where they're coming from. He fights not to lose, he fights for points, and on this occasion, surprisingly, I praise the judges for awarding the fight to Rampage.
This is the kind of fight where no one really deserves to win -- it felt incomplete -- but if anyone deserves to lose it is Machida for stalling and constantly moving away and not attacking for the majority of the fight. Being elusive is one thing, but taking away the opportunity from either fighter to do anything by constantly backing up and hardly mounting any kind of offense is another.