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Have Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva Officially Switched Places?

(I count 11 punches thrown and eight landed cleanly.  That’s precision destruction. Props: MMA Core.)

You can pick your reason for being surprised with the results of last night’s Lyoto Machida-Rashad Evans title fight at UFC 98.  If you expected Machida to win a less than thrilling five-round decision, you got to be completely shocked by seeing him turn into the guy who did the chasing for a change, as well as the guy who used Terminator-like accuracy to do the most damage with the least possible effort.  

If you expected Evans to use his wrestling to control Machida – a position which sounded so rational in my own head just twenty-four hours ago – you got to be surprised for all the above reasons and more.  Most likely your head is still spinning, and not just for lack of sleep.

Machida beat down a respected UFC champ (okay, one defending his title for the first time, but still) and made it look absurdly easy.  He did it in a fashion that has us all wondering if the fighter who might eventually dethrone him has even been born yet.  Just calling that performance ‘dominant’ doesn’t quite cut it.  Maybe that’s why I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Anderson Silva of two years ago, even as Anderson Silva fights like the Lyoto Machida of two years ago. I’m telling you, it’s spooky.

Remember when Silva destroyed Rich Franklin twice in the span of about a year, while also squeezing in finishes of Nate Marquardt and Travis Lutter?  That was around the same time Machida racked up four consecutive decisions against guys like Vernon White, Sam Hoger, and David Heath – guys who he really should have been able to put away if he wanted to.

Now it’s 2009 and Silva who is the one who seems more concerned with not getting touched than with finishing a fight and Machida is the one beating on opponents as if they’re moving in slow motion.

This transformation is bizarre.  It’s almost like that Kirk Cameron movie where the dad and son accidentally trade bodies, only this is actually entertaining.  What makes it weirder is that since the two guys are friends you have to wonder to what extent they’ve influenced one another.  If Silva made Machida want to be a finisher and Machida made Silva want to be an untouchable decision machine, does that mean this cycle will go on and on as they continue looking to one another for inspiration?  

Let’s hope not.  With Machida being hailed as a cross between Fedor and Alexander the Great this morning, maybe Silva will be forced to realize that finishing fights and avoiding damage aren’t mutually exclusive goals.  Maybe he can reinvent himself as another Lyoto Machida once again and get back to putting people away just in time for what will come to be known as The Second Brazilian Renaissance of MMA. 

Or maybe it’s some law of the universe that there can only be one untouchable bad-ass at a time.  At least for the moment, Machida is it.


Cagepotato Comments

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fognack- May 26, 2009 at 12:20 pm
I think Coleman's the one to beat him.
fognack- May 26, 2009 at 12:19 pm
That was a crazy knockout
Novaslo- May 25, 2009 at 8:56 pm
I mis-spoke the knockdown that I referred to was at 1:33 of the second round or thereabouts. Left hand jodan gyaku-zuki to Rashad's face drops him. This is a simple reverse punch, left leg back....trained by Lyoto for probably 20+ years... Easy to do, hard to perfect. Timing is everything.

Novaslo- May 25, 2009 at 1:27 pm
After reading your post about Shotokan, I was compelled to reply.

With 24 years of experience in Shotokan both training and teaching....there is a lot you can learn about this art.

First let me state that I am a complete mma fan and have total respect for all arts out there. You need to understand that the training that takes place in Traditional Karate Do is focused on providing quality basics and designed to form the right kind of mechanics that ultimately create power.

The Shotokan Karateka is constantly training on Kihon (Basics or Fundamentals) and timing. The wide stances and "pulling-the-striking-arm-WAAAY-back" are part of the fundamentals that I am referring to.

These fundamentals translate differently in the real world or when they are actually applied. Applied correctly the training should provide a person the ability to use both hands and feet very quickly, precisely and powerfully. All Martial arts have their basics and knocking Shotokan the way you are simply shows that you don't understand it. Hence, the reason for my post.

Lyoto is fighting in classic Shotokan form as can be witnessed by simply watching shotokan competitions on YouTube. Look it up. www . youtube . com/watch?v=4nqbAfzrg-E (Take out Spaces)
Lyoto executes this very punch against Rashad in the first knockdown.

Lyoto was and is, to this day, a competitor in traditional tournaments. The traditional tournament is about not getting hit and maintaining distance that allows you to move in aggressively, only when the time is good.

He translates this to MMA and adds aspects of other things including BJJ and Sumo.

Here is a great video for all to watch regarding Traditional Japanese Shotokan competition.....these guys are scary fast and powerful. www . youtube . com/watch?v=gkGP0AM14F0
(take out spaces)

To close this out, I am not suggesting the Shotokan is the end all martial art.... It takes the right person that can put it all together and ultimately use it. When you see the videos you will see that he is doing exactly what he has been doing most of his life in all of the other competitions, he now has learned to apply it and do the "real deal" in the UFC. My hats off to him and it IS nice to see his Traditional Karate style prevail the way it has. He will be hard to knock off the top - ultimately he will, everyone does....sooner or later.

Novaslo- May 25, 2009 at 1:19 pm
Test post....sorry having trouble posting
TrouserSnout- May 25, 2009 at 7:53 am
Rashad did do a lot of wrestling in that fight...He pinned the mat down in the 2nd
LockDown- May 25, 2009 at 7:45 am
@ fognack

What an idiot! Did you watch the fight? Did you consider all the circumstancies?
You talk about Sam Greco like he was a tomato can. The guy is an elite striker from K-1 Old School and he was heavier than Machida. Also Machida didn't run away from trade punches against him. He didn't hold the fight in the ground, he faced Greco's striking with his own striking skills.
Greco could be fresh to MMA but he was already a vet on professional fighting, in other hand Lyoto only had karate tournaments and four fights in MMA (with a KO over Rich Franklin).
Finishing, Lyoto is 100x more skilled than that time you should know that.

I'm not saying he is unbeatable but you're just underrating his acomplishments. Get a life.
Dana White- May 25, 2009 at 7:28 am
TITO ORTIZ did better VS Machida WTH? im kinda pissed Rashad lost......anyone think Rashad should of wrestled more?
Kimbos Bread- May 25, 2009 at 7:25 am
If Dana fuckin White knows anything about making money, he'd be thinking about a SUPER match between Machida and Anderson Silva. I'm more interested in this than a GSP Silva fight.
Dagnut- May 25, 2009 at 7:07 am
I reckon its gonna take someone with wild hands and power to beat machida..Like wandy in his prime..not saying wandt could beat but would have a better chance than a stand off counter fighter..maybe Rampage can do the job?
Jugger- May 25, 2009 at 5:01 am
Rashad's gameplan looked just like I thought I would. I knew he wouldn't shoot his wad trying to take Lyoto down, not in the first 3 rounds anyways. I was just curious to see how Machida would react when fighting some one who was going to force him to be the aggressor. I knew he had the talent, but I sure didn't think he would heat up so early in the fight. I figured he'd wait till round 4 or 5 to really start pressing. And even then I was unsure how effective he'd be (A lot of counter-strikers either struggle or fight sloppy when they're forced to press the action).

I was so excited when Lyoto came to the UFC... then I was bummed when he fought so reservedly that he couldn't even put guys like Sam Hogar and David Heath away. But his last two fights have really shown what he's capable of and I hope he keeps it up. He has the talent to be the most dominant 205 ever, and I can see him holding the belt in that division for long time. I just hope he stays aggressive and keeps showing his true potential in the ring. If he does that, he'll be worth the PPV price, every time.
Da Truth- May 25, 2009 at 4:36 am
Wanderlei vs Machida... we will see if he can take a punch all right...

Anyway..hes fighting rampage next right? wonder when that will be? 4 months from now nowing Dana 'child molestor eyes' White.
AussieJosh- May 24, 2009 at 10:53 pm
Ok Enough talk of Aderson/Fedor Vs Machida....... ITS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!!

Who do we honestly think in LH can give him a run? Ok well Rampage is next and he could knock Machida the fuck out with one of his punches.....just as Evans could have...the problem is conecting.....
There is also Shogun if he can stay fit and string together a few more wins....infact! that would be an awsome fight if he can get back to his best! and he is still young! the other person that comes to mind is CroCop...He is coming back to the UFC....He would need to string together at least 3 wins againt good apoinents...
Anyway i thing the best bets are Rampage if he can conect, or Shougun if he can stay fit! But Machy will still be the fav!
Smeewa- May 24, 2009 at 8:33 pm
i want silva to work his way up the LHW division and fight machida, but im scared the universe may implode.
Meohfumado- May 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm
Lyoto has another huge advantage on top of his quickness, unique style, and incredible technique.

He is now the champ.

And nobody can out-point him over 5 rounds. He's never lost a round on a judges scorecard.

So that means anybody who wants to dethrone him now HAS to come after him or get picked apart on points. And that just plays into his counter-attacking style perfectly.

The dragon is no joke.
Dojima- May 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm
@ Than

dude, do you think BJ Penn would have beat GSP if he didnt have Greg Jackson strategizing the fight? I honestly would say that under any circumstances GSP would beat BJ Penn, even if we could magically shrink GSP to a size that would be an even match for Penn. GSP takes that fight 99/100 times. Also, the strategy of smothering a dude against the cage to nullify his jiu jitsu wizardry is hardly a recent development. Couture has done that since '99 and won championship belts like renewing his drivers license.

also, I would even argue wether GSP is a "Greg Jackson fighter." GSP has only recently within the last year or two joined forces with Jackson. His influence is great, but I bet soon GSP will switch camps(possibly join Machida?) whereas Evans will be with Jackson long after he retires from the UFC, which will be a long time, cuz dude has skills and no way will this be his last title bout.
I Know Nothing- May 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm
The fight went exactly as I called it, but I bet on 3rd Rd. Oh well. Anyway, Lyoto threw Tito around like a rag-doll & you thought Rashad's wrestling would pose a problem for Lyoto? What were you smoking?
Warcraft- May 24, 2009 at 4:44 pm
Good stuff like usual.
It's strange how Anderson seems to be in Tim Silvia land now and not wanting to finish fights especially against fighters he knows are barely in his league.
I don't see Machida as cocky as a Silva.
So I can't see him drinking his own Kool-aid(hype)...the piss he drinks is 100% humble juice. If you can stop Machida from drinking that yellow juice you might have a shot a slaying the elusive dragon.

After I realized he was still alive...I'm sorry to say I did enjoy watching the showboat get sent to 7th heaven.
It was one of the ruffer KO I have seen. At least One of the top 10 KOs of all time.
Savageleto- May 24, 2009 at 4:39 pm
Its up there... lol
Savageleto- May 24, 2009 at 4:39 pm
I agree...

I see this as well.

axhed- May 24, 2009 at 4:35 pm
"soooo, where does this put machida on the P4P list??"

about 3 fights with top 5'ers away from consideration.
Than- May 24, 2009 at 4:33 pm
"Is Greg Jackson's master of strategy title a bit suspect after his numero uno champione got handily destroyed with seemingly little effort?"

No...I would argue GSP is Jackson's "numero uno champione" if he has one. Look at the GSP vs. Penn II fight from January. Jackson and Winklejohn devised an awesome (and oddly scientific) game plan that totally demoralized and negated BJ Penn, a truly great (lightweight) champion. Now, I had a lot of confidence in Machida in this fight, I knew Jackson and Winklejohn would devise a better game plan than most people, but they are not magic and ultimately it is down to the fighter to carry through with the game plan. Amazingly, now that Machida is turning into a badass finisher it will be even harder to figure him out.
kempo666- May 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm
"Just a few fights ago Machida was Tim Silvia........."

That is perhaps the stupidest line ever typed in the English language.
GetUpAndKill- May 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm
Proof....that the Universe is indeed moving towards complexity ;)
Bare Grappler- May 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm
I guess this should be compared to the Tim Sylvia effect of getting the belt around your waist. That's what worries me about this situation is now that Machida has the belt he may no longer need to press the action just like Anderson Silva. Just a few fights ago Machida was Tim Sylvia.......a lot of short-term memory motherfuckers on here.