Shogun Will Get Shown The Door By Machida

Machida pummeled a prime and game Rashad Evans his last time out. Will Rua fare better?  Probably not.

Machida pummeled a prime and game Rashad Evans his last time out. Will Rua fare better? Probably not.

There’s an old saying that you’re not really the champion until you successfully defend your title.  The last man to do it in the UFC’s light heavyweight division was Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. That was 3 champions ago.  Since then every man after Jackson has failed to retain the title in his 1st championship defense.  That streak will be broken when current champ, Lyoto Machida, disposes of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua like last Sunday’s sale papers.

Rua is a great fighter and legend in the sport, but this is not the same “Shogun” that dazzled us in Pride.  There’s no doubt he can still fight at a high level but he got his shot by knocking out Chuck Liddell whose jaw is softer than a bowl of Jell-O these days.  Age and too many wars in the cage will do that to you.

Rua’s KO of Liddell would be more valuable circa 2005.

Rua’s KO of Liddell would be more valuable circa 2005.

I love Chuck Liddell as much as the next guy but he has been put to sleep 3 times in last 5 fights including his last 2 outings.  A win over “The Iceman” doesn’t raise your game much these days.  Had it been done 4 years ago then that would be a different story.  Today beating up Liddell really just amounts to having a famous name on your resume, nothing else.  So why Rua’s victory over Liddell constituted a title shot is beyond me.  The only logical explanation is that the UFC brass had to throw Machida a bone so he would not sit idle for too long.

This Saturday you will see the most destructive Machida yet. He is going to show the world that Rua’s title contending victory was nothing more than record padding.  It’s sad but true.

Rua’s previous 2 fights prior to knocking out Liddell:  submission loss to Forrest Griffin and a lackluster TKO win against a 44 year old Mark Coleman.  Not exactly the track record one would want before taking on one of the sport’s elite fighters.

Even so, Rua-Machida is an excellent fight because both men will bring it.  When the cage door closes anything can happen.  Rua can win the fight.  He will certainly come guns blazing.  While I can make a list of reasons of why Rua can win the fight, it doesn’t compare to the list of reasons why Machida will win the fight.

Machida will win, and then he can focus on his 4 additional desired defenses before taking on Brock Lennar.  That‘s a topic for another day though.  The bottom line for this Saturday is that the legend of Machida will grow and it will be at Rua’s expense and reputation.  That’s the fight game and that is what you can expect at UFC104.  It will be exciting…while it lasts.

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