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Machida Won the Fight, Shogun Won the Fans

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The drought is officially over.  After a long gap in between shows and little to discuss, UFC 104 opened the floodgates of discussion and controversy and now I'm sure we will have weeks of topics brought up regarding the nights main event which saw the light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida retain his title in a controversial decision over Mauricio ‘Shogun' Rua.  Now I started to call into the Lights Out Radio show (listened to the show, great stuff guys) but I decided to ponder on the event before I started making my thoughts known.  Initially, I scored the fight three rounds to two in favor of Shogun.  However, in watching it again I changed my first scoring and gave Machida round one instead of Shogun and gave Machida the fight.  Sure that is the unpopular opinion right now and many have voiced their displeasure for the California State Athletic Commission but just let me say this.  The events of Saturday October 24th was a huge win for Zuffa and I'll break it down after the jump:

UFC 104: Machida vs. Shogun coverage

I do not see the need to delve into the fight any further since every site on the net has done so for the past 48 hours.  I will say this though, the fight itself wasn't the most exciting but it was more so a human chess match.  You could tell from the onset neither guy wanted to make a mistake and/or pour it on too much and risk being knocked out.  It was as much of a kickboxing fight as you can get from a UFC fight.  In the end, I had the strange feeling that I did at the conclusion of the Rampage Jackson/Forrest Griffin title fight last year.  I thought I knew who was going to win but I wasn't quite sure.  When the scores were read that it was unanimous I immediately thought...Shogun won.  Then I heard ‘Leeeeeeeeee-oto' from Bruce Buffer and my jaw momentarily dropped.  Since then I've read the commentaries of many across the blog world and even Kevin Iole and I pretty much think he hit on the head.  There were several rounds where at the closing ten seconds neither fighter did anything but circle.  It's well known that those few second could change the course of an entire fight and I felt both could have stepped it up and gone all out in those moments to solidify or even steal a round.  They didn't.  As Rogan was mentioning how relaxed Shogun seemed, he failed to mention that the relaxation and willingness to just score points sometimes can be your undoing.  But in the end, we have a much talked about fight that otherwise people expected to be a one-sided affair. Now you ask, how was this a win for Zuffa and all parties involved well let me tell you:

1.       Shogun Is A Star Reborn - One epic fight and one many considered him winning may catapult Shogun from a good fighter that a lot of casual fans don't know to a great fighter than all fans want to see.  This was by far his best performance post-PRIDE and he did it with a style we weren't accustomed to seeing.  Shogun was patient, he was confident, and he was healthy.  All deadly combinations for the former Middleweight Grand Prix champion.  Now Zuffa has a great fighter that they can market as the only guy thus far to have picked apart the once thought unhittable Lyoto Machida and couple that with his KO of Chuck and I am sure we will be seeing lots more of Shogun in the high profile fights in the  near future.

2.       Machida  = Human - Now that their karate expert light heavyweight champion has been shown to look human, Zuffa can actually put some confidence in the viewers that his challengers stand a chance.  Yes, I know that sounds silly but just like this bout, no one gave Shogun a chance and that could possibly have hurt buyrates.  Now, Shogun has laid out a possible ‘blueprint' on how to defeat ‘The Dragon' and while not many light heavyweights possess what Shogun does, they have a fighting chance. 

3.       Blockbuster Rematch - I was also one of the few that thought this would never live up to the little hype it was getting.  I thought Shogun's style played right into Machida's bread and butter.  Oh how I was wrong.  The heated fallout from this match has left many fans (casual and hardcore) clamoring for a rematch and when it does happen I guarantee that the viewership will probably be up from this event.  Meanwhile, the UFC has time to get their contenders in order.  We'll see if Rampage decides he wants to put back on the leather gloves or not.  Rashad/Thiago can mix it up and see if one can emerge effectively.  Vera can possibly up his stock with a win over Randy Couture.  Jon Jones can continue his ascent up the LHW ladder.  Lil' Nog/Luiz Cane can get their names thrown in.  So by the time this rematch is said and done, we should have a good idea of who the then champion would be fighting next.

While I don't take the stance most on here and probably throughout the net do and that's that Shogun undoubtedly won.  I do think that it was a close fight and Shogun really lit Machida up but Machida got his licks in as well.  So for what in my opinion was a lackluster show, the two guys in the main event made it worth every penny.  Let me know what you think about this and how you feel about the fallout from UFC 104.