– The headline ended much quicker than most had anticipated but from what we did see Mauricio Shogun Rua looked like very good indeed. As predicted he was more aggressive this time round and it paid off almost immediately as he handed Lyoto Machida his first ever loss, and first knockout defeat.
– Shogun appeared to rock Machida earlier in the fight as well which suggests that if you can find away to get past ‘The Dragon’s’ defenses then he is vulnerable.
To be fair though Rua is a powerful striker, and his ground and pound in particular was vicious, evoking memories of his days fighting in PRIDE, which is definitely a good thing.
– There was a lot of good-will behind Shogun coming into this fight due to his controversial loss to Machida in their first fight, and with an impressive win like this that should only continue to grow. He could now go on to become the kind of star people had hoped he would when he first joined the promotion.
By contrast Machida’s stock had dropped prior to this fight and despite the judges decision at UFC 104 not being his fault, the crowd was against him from the moment he stepped into the arena. It will be hard work for him to rebuild his reputation, but despite this defeat he remains a highly talented fighter.
– Dana White has all but confirmed that the winner of the Rashad Evans Vs Rampage Jackson fight later this month will take on Shogun next. If Antonio Rogerio Nogueira wins at the same event then a rematch of their epic fight from the PRIDE days could also be on the cards before long.
– It’s amazing how quickly careers can change in the fight business. One moment Paul Daley was competing for a shot at GSP’s UFC welterweight title and a coaching role on The Ultimate Fighter, the next he’s been thrown out of the UFC after a moment of madness in which he sucker-punched Josh Koscheck after the bell.
It was a very costly error of judgment for a fighter who could still have had a successful future in the promotion even despite the defeat. Now all he has to show for it is a lifetime ban from the UFC, with Dana White adamant that he will never return to the promotion.
– Josh Koscheck was also keen to reimmerse himself in the role of the villain in this fight, perhaps in preparation for his return to TUF where he had previously became infamous as the show’s first ‘bad guy’.
He was accused of faking an eye injury in his last fight and he’ll not have won himself any new fans by appearing to over-react to what appeared to be a phantom illegal knee from Daley. Taunting the Canadian fans in the post-fight interview wasn’t a great idea either, and apparently they responded by throwing things at him as he left the arena.
– On repeated viewing the hilarious thing about the knee incident is that though it doesn’t appear to connect with Koscheck at all, but it does in fact go on to strike Daley flush in his own face. Instant karma!
– As expected Sam Stout Vs Jeremy Stephens was awarded ‘Fight Of The Night’. Stephens power was the difference, but you have to admire Stout’s chin as he took some serious punishment and yet was never out of the fight.
I’m still baffled as to why Stout didn’t make more of an effort to finish Stephens in the third round though when he appeared to have him rocked.
– After losing to Matt Mitrione, Dana White has revealed that Kimbo Slice has likely fought for the last time in the UFC. The fact that Mitrione, who had just one pro fight on his record going into this fight, was more well-rounded than the supposedly more-experienced Kimbo last night tells you all you need to know here.
– Alan Belcher’s wins over Patrick Cote puts him into the mix at 185lbs according to Dana. I still think his defense needs a lot of work, but he’s a fun fighter to watch and there’s certainly some interesting match-ups for him in the upper reaches of the division. I’m in no hurry to see him against Anderson Silva yet though.
– This was always going to be a tough fight for Cote after such a long layoff but there’s still plenty more fights for him in the UFC. He could certainly do with relying on more than just his right hand in the stand-up exchanges though.
– Tom Lawler’s impersonation of Dan Severn at the pre-fight weigh-ins was entertaining but perhaps he would be better served spending more time working on his cardio instead as this was the second fight in a row that he appeared to be getting the upper-hand before gassing out.
His recent gimmicks have helped him get noticed in the promotion, but if he wants to stay in the UFC he needs to get a win under his belt asap.
– Elsewhere in the prelims Jason MacDonald had an unfortunate return to the UFC in front of his home fans, breaking his leg in two places just minutes into the opening round. After seeing how elated he was to have been called back to the big stage you can’t help but feel bad for him.
His opponent John Salter gets a thumbs down though for his over the top celebrations after the injury occurred. Considering the injury was accidental, and clearly serious, it was in bad taste and from the looks of things ref Dan Miragliotta told him so.