Thursday, May 28, 2009


Jackson Ducks Machida


After Lyoto Machida’s second round dismantling of Rashad Evans at UFC 98, it seemed evident that Quinton Jackson would be Lyoto’s next opponent. They were even rumored to be coaching against each other on the next (tenth) season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, on the Spike television network. This rumor fell apart as Dana White announced that his next coaches would be Jackson and Evans. This begs the question as to why Quinton would give up a title shot against Machida simply to avenge some smack talking from Rashad Evans.

After Jackson soundly defeated Keith Jardine by unanimous decision, Rashad, who held the belt at the time, rushed into the cage, got nose to nose with Jackson and did some smack talking. Evans later claimed that it was a gut reaction to watching his training partner lose a unanimous decision to Quinton. This is fine and dandy and is an age-old technique for promoting and building hype around a future fight but realistically this should be set aside when the opportunity of a title shot comes along. After all, is not the goal of every athlete to hold a championship?

There is no doubt that if Quinton got a win over Lyoto he would get his fight with Rashad and settle any score that he may have had. There would probably be more money to be made. Unfortunately at this stage of the game, Rashad has been placed on a tier below Machida, as have many others. The aura of Machida is now akin to the likes of Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva. They’ve cleaned out their respective divisions with such authority that great fighters appear to be second rate in their shadow. This is where Rashad has landed. Just days ago Rashad Evans was an unbeaten champion and today he is the equivalent of Rich Franklin in the Light Heavyweight division. For some time he appeared unstoppable and while he obviously remains a force to be reckoned with, he is not at the same level as the man who defeated him. This was clearly shown at UFC 98. 

Now, while Quinton Jackson has proven himself as the type of fighter who will take on all comers, perhaps he sees only defeat for himself in a bout with Machida. I can think of no other reason to turn down that title shot. A loss like that will surely drop his stock and place him in a heap with many other extremely talented, now “second- tier” fighters…and I use the phrase respectfully. Although he’s coming off of two impressive wins over Wanderlei Silva and Keith Jardine, a fight with Rashad is undoubtedly a much safer gamble for his career and undoubtedly Rampage realizes this.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

 Machida KOs Evans, Remains "Untouchable"

 GueRRillaFight 5.24.09

It took just under four minutes of the second round at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for Lyoto Machida to knock out  the defending Light Heavyweight Champion, Rashad Evans.  Both fighters had been undefeated coming into the night of Rashad's first title defense and it was inevitable that someone would leave with a blemish on their record. 

 The first round began with a long feeling out period with Machida controlling the center of the octagon.  Rashad’s use of jerky head and shoulder movement did little to take the challenger out of his game.  Instead, Machida remained composed, relaxed and patient while remaining just outside of Rashad’s range.  True to form, Lyoto, with his unorthodox, karate style, landed lightning fast kicks to the legs and body of Rashad, at one point knocking Rashad down and winning  the first round without taking on any damage of his own.  His precise speed and technique appeared to have Rashad questioning his own strategy as Lyoto ended the first round without being so much as grazed.

 The second round began just as the first had but this time both fighters were a little more aggressive and willing to throw.  While Rashad was finally able to connect with his opponent midway through the round, he didn’t inflict any damage.  Machida turned things back around quickly and after a barrage of strikes, a vicious left-hook put Evans to sleep at the 3:57 mark ending his undefeated moniker and relinquishing his title to an unscathed Lyoto Machida.

 In interviews after the fight, Machida declared that “karate is back” while Rashad Evans simply stated what the rest of us had just witnessed. “He (Lyoto) was very difficult to solve, very fast and explosive.”  It would seem that the next fighter to have an opportunity to solve the riddle of now 15-0 Lyoto Machida will be former champion, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. 

 -Nando /


Friday, May 22, 2009

Hughes Vs. Serra; Bad Blood

Hughes vs. Serra  …Better late than never  5.22.09

 Saturday night’s showdown between Matt Hughes and Matt Serra is not only a battle ripe with animosity but it is also a fight that has quite possibly been equalized by time.  A few years back, Matt Hughes was a full fledged 170lb smashing machine.  He ruled the welterweight division in a dominating fashion winning 14 straight fights before running into a speed bump named B.J. Penn back in 2004.  After that loss, he racked up six more wins before Georges St. Pierre staked claim on the division.  Hughes went on to lose a second time to St.Pierre and then to be TKO’d by Thiago Alves.  Though these losses are nothing to be ashamed of, they do show that he is indeed beatable and maybe the hands of time have caught up with him. 


In the interim the corn fed country boy from Illinois has become arch rivals with quick talking, tell-it-like-it-is New Yorker, Matt Serra.  Serra’s stint on The Ultimate Fighter reality show spawned a mutual dislike between himself and Hughes and also led him to an opportunity to fight then title holder, Georges St. Pierre.  He seized the opportunity and shockingly, dismantled the champion with a vicious and relentless tenacity, defeating GSP in less then three and a half minutes by way of TKO.  Slated to face Hughes after that fight, Serra incurred a back injury that put him on the sidelines for just over a year.  His return to the octagon was met with a brutally dominant, one-sided beating by GSP, who reminded the world why he is by quite possibly the greatest fighter on the planet.


Now here we are and more than two years have passed since either fighter has tasted victory in the octagon.  While Hughes is pegged as a slamming, take-down, ground-n-pound, one trick pony, it has undoubtedly proven to be quite effective throughout his career.  Serra on the other hand has been slated as a slick submission wiz who realistically only has one submission in the UFC back in 2002 against a one dimensional stand-up fighter named Kelly Dullanty who never again fought in the big show.  His submission skills may help him avoid damage on the ground but it is highly unlikely that he will submit a crafty veteran like Matt Hughes.  His greatest hope for victory is in having lightning strike twice (think GSP 1) and connect with one of his jack hammer like punches.  If not, Serra can expect a long night, and a probable loss to two time welterweight champion, Matt Hughes.

 Nando /