"All three judges scored the bout 29-28, for your winner ... PHIIIIILLLLL DAVIIIISSSSSSSSS!!!!"
Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans were surprised last night (Sat., Aug. 3, 2013) when Bruce Buffer read Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Phil Davis' name instead of Lyoto Machida's at UFC 163 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Immediately the Brazilian crowd at HSBC arena showered the cage with boos, making it almost impossible to hear Davis' post-fight interview.
At first glance, it was a clear robbery. Davis' offense was limited to his two successful takedowns, where he landed strikes on the ground. The rest of the fight, he struggled to close the distance between himself and Machida. "The Dragon" did his thing, moving in and out, attacking when he saw certain openings.
But, honestly, can it be called a robbery when one fighter only lands two more total strikes over 15 minutes? Can anyone honestly say Machida left no doubt that he was the better man last night?
It was a typical Machida fight. He evaded and evaded and evaded some more, while his opponent swung wildly. Every so often he landed a switch kick to the body or a flurry of punches before retreating. It was literally the same game plan that he's used in every single fight. He is, for all intents and purposes, a "point fighter."
But, last night after the fight, my friend brought up a great point. She said, "It was a very close fight, but I think that Machida needs to stop trying to win fights by landing 12 REALLY good significant strikes." She's spot on. It's been his M.O. since making his debut at UFC 67 against Sam Hoger.
UFC has many "point fighters" on its roster. UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz is a great example, as is UFC Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. The difference between them and Machida is that they continue to land punches and by the end of the fight, there is no doubt who won.
Instead of crying foul or hoping for an immediate rematch, Machida needs to make some adjustments. He's not clearly winning fights. He's eking out decisions. That's not the way you earn title shots.
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