Machida escapes with belt after five round tactical battle

Clark Kent

<B>News Bot</B>
Sep 11, 2006
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10-25-2009 12:53 AM:

The Machida Era isn't going to be quite as dominant as many thought. There's another Brazilian who can hang with him, but he just didn't get the nod on this night. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua beat Lyoto Machida down with a bevy of leg kicks that helped keep Machida off balance but Machida, the UFC light heavyweight champ, retained his belt via unanimous decision (48-47 on all cards). The crowd didn't like it, and many across press row had it the other way. That said, it wasn't a robbery. Rounds two, three and four were razor thin and very difficult to score. Cagewriter had it 48-47 for Rua giving Shogun rounds one, four and five.

Machida was slow to raise his hands when the fight ended. He looked a bit surprised when he was announced as the winner. Even his manager, Ed Soares, gestured as if he were wiping the sweat from his brow as he walked past press row.

"Whenever he wants, I try again. No problem," Machida said as the crowd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles voiced its displeasure.

Rua looked on the verge of crying when the decision was announced.

"I feel like I won this fight. Lyoto is great fighter. I did 1,000 kicks per day [in training camp]. That was part of the main strategy."

Even in the loss, Rua alerted the MMA world that he's back as a top level fighter at 205 pounds. He was ranked No. 1 in the division by many in 2005 and 2006 before suffering from knee issues the past few years.

Yahoo! Sports.
Cagewriter is an MMA blog edited by Steve Cofield.