It was one of the most controversial fights of 2009, and Dana White ordered an immediate re-match, which brought us to UFC 113: Machida v Shogun 2, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on ESPN here in Britain, with Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan handling commentary duties.
The show began with middleweight action, as Patrick Cote faced Alan Belcher. This was a tremendous way to start the show. The first round saw Belcher connect with some hard kicks to Cote’s mid-section, but when Cote caught one of those kicks he scored with the take down, and almost got the submission with an arm bar. The action was just as intense, and back and forth, in the second, and Belcher really upped his game, lifting Cote as a professional wrestler would and dropping him on his face, quickly taking his back and synching in a rear naked choke for the impressive submission win.
The heavyweight fight that everyone wanted to see followed, as Kimbo Slice faced Matt Mitrione. This was a dominating performance from old meathead. Although Kimbo scored with some good looking take downs early in the first, he looked lost as soon as he went to ground, with Mitrione able to escape easily. As the fight progressed Mitrione’s dominance continued, and his brutal leg kicks began to tell as Kimbo began to limp around the cage. Then, when the fight went to the ground again, Slice just laid there, and as Mitrione went to work with the ground and pound, the referee stepped in, giving Mitrione the outstanding TKO win. As for Kimbo, this was another example of how limited a fighter he is, and it came as no surprise when Dana White announced later that this was his last UFC fight.
The action continued with Sam Stout taking on Jeremy Stephens in the lightweight division. The first fight of the broadcast to go the distance was an entertaining back and forth affair which saw both fighters put on good displays of both striking and kicking, with brief moments on the ground. It was difficult to see who would get the decision, and the judges were split as they gave the fight in favour of Stephens. A very good fight here.
Filler material followed in the form of Joe Doerksen against Tom Lawlor at middleweight. ESPN kept up their tradition here by coming back late from a commercial break and missing the beginning of a fight, and even though we missed the first thirty seconds we still saw what a good fight this was. Lawlor looked like he could get the win in the first round when a series of combinations rocked Doerksen. Doerksen was able to recover though, and the great striking continued into the second, although Lawlor was clearly tiring. It came as a surprise though that, after all that striking, the win came with a submission. A caught kick saw the fight go to the ground, where Doerksen took Lawlor’s back and synched in a rear naked choke for the submission win.
The big welterweight battle followed, as Josh Koscheck took on my fellow Brit Paul Daley, with two big prizes on the line - a title shot against Georges St-Pierre, and the chance to coach against GSP on the next series of The Ultimate Fighter. This fight will be remembered for two controversial moments. The first came in the first round, when Koscheck claimed that he was hit by a Daley knee while he was still grounded, even though the replays showed that no contact was made. The second came after the fight ended, when Daley punched Koscheck after the final bell. In between these incidents was a dominant performance from Koscheck, taking Daley down at will and controlling him completely. It was no surprised when Koscheck got the unanimous decision, and while he got a future encounter with the best pound for pound fighter on the planet, Daley got himself fired.
The main event saw Mauricio Rua challenging Lyoto Machida for the UFC Light Heavyweight title, a rematch of their controversial fight at UFC 104. No controversial judges decision this time. Both fighters had their moments early on, Machida scoring with a couple of take downs while Rua once again looked to attack his opponent’s legs. Then, with about ninety seconds left in the first round, Rua connected with a big right that sent Machida down. Shogun followed him for some ground and pound, where he scored with the knockout punch that gave him the title win. A very impressive fight, and finally Shogun got his hands on the Light Heavyweight title belt.
So with some time to kill we saw some more filler material as Marcus Davis faced Jonathan Goulet in a welterweight encounter. An entertaining back and forth affair saw Davis go for a guillotine in the first which Goulet managed to escape from after several tense moments, while Goulet controlled the rest of the action on the ground. Round two was all Davis though, rocking Goulet early in the round with a right/left combination, knocking him down and securing the TKO win.
In conclusion - well, apart from the controversial moments, UFC 113 was full of outstanding fights and outstanding performances, topped off by Shogun finally defeating Machida for the Light Heavyweight title after being robbed last year. So as the old saying goes this definitely gets the thumbs up, and leaves this writer looking forward to finally seeing Rampage and Rashad going at it at the end of the month.
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