One that happened to split "The Dragon" in two and bring about the beginning of the end, which was unfortunate considering how well the opening round played out in their UFC 140 headliner last Saturday night (Dec. 10, 2011) at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Machida explains to Tatame.com the "disturbing" moment that changed the outcome of their fight:
"We set a game plan that, from where I’m standing, until a certain moment, was working, but he landed that elbow and I got dizzy, I couldn’t see things straight anymore and it disturbed me because I couldn’t see. And on that moment I thought, 'I gotta do my best here and now.' I felt him lose a little on the first round, but I was focused on not making it a big deal, because each round was a different one and I had to win them all. I did my game and he was falling for it. He took me down, launching an elbow on me, and that surprised me a little, because I thought he would take me down but I would have a little time to think it straight. It was very fast and I had my head close to the fence, he hit me with an elbow, I couldn’t see and I tried to stand up and he hit me even more. I stood up and the judge interrupted, but we started fighting again and I didn’t have enough time to recover from that."
Following the conclusion of the first round, two cageside judges had it scored in favor of the champion; however, an argument can be made the challenger took the opening frame or at the very least, had it dead even.
From the MMAmania.com play-by-play:
Round one: Jones comes out crawling again then stands up traditional style. Leg kick from Jones. Side kick to the thigh from Jones. Spinning back kick from Jones misses. Leg kick from Machida. Hard leg kick from Jones. Good leg kick from Jones then he blocks a right from Machida. Kick to the thigh from Jones. Powerful leg kick from Jones and Machida counter with a right that barely misses. Jones is the faster man. Left from Machida lands. Good body kick and left from Machida. High kick from Jones misses. Good counter right from Machida. Machida again lands a stiff left that backs up Jones! Body kick from Machida he is finding holes now and he stunned Jones with that left. Good high kick from Jones glances the head of Machida. That is the bell and a close round but I think Machida landing the more significant blows in that round. 10-9 Machida.
While no one wants to break out the party hats every time a fighter (possibly) takes a close round on points, it's significant simply because we've yet to see anyone stay competitive against Jones since his unparalleled run through the UFC light heavyweight division.
Did Machida lay the foundation for breaking "Bones?" Or did he simply take advantage of a patient champion who made the necessary adjustments in the second stanza?
Re-watch their UFC 140" Jones vs. Machida" fight video highlights right here and let's hear what you think.