You may remember me making the case for Shogun Rua earlier this week. I didn't think Rua was going to win the fight, but I did give him a better chance than most. I went back and looked at the Rua/Liddell fight and found these positives that could help Rua get the win against Machida:
-Good Head Movement...could make him vulnerable to head kicks, but he guarded his head well
-Good Chin...Liddell tagged him a few times and Rua took the punches well
-Still explosive and seemed pretty light on his feet
-He timed his take downs well and was successful against someone with great take down defense
-His hands were down near his chest a lot, but he put his guard up when he was within striking range and blocked a lot of Liddell's punches.
-Threw several big overhand rights that could be a good counter to Machida's kicks if he can time it right
-He didn't do any of his crazy flying, spinning head kicks, or basically anything too aggressive that would leave him vulnerable
-He was the stalker in the Liddell fight, every time Liddell launched an attack Rua disengaged or blocked and then came right back with his own offense.
Rua was able to implement almost all of this against Machida, all except actually getting a take down and using the big overhand right as a counter. Rua used an even better counter to most of Machida's offense, thumping leg kicks. These legs kicks were effective on multiple fronts:
-They scored heavily and took away much of Machida's explosiveness later in the fight.
-This prevented Machida from moving as fluid as he normally does and allowed Rua to use his forward style more effectively.
-These leg kicks also prevented Machida from finding Shogun's range
Of course every light heavyweight will not be able to implement the game plan that Shogun utilized against Machida. It requires a good chin, explosiveness, and great cardio. I'm sure Machida will make the necessary adjustments to counter leg kicks, but do you think this gameplan could be effective against him again?