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The Unsupportable Opinion: Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida Is The UFC’s Best Title Fight in Nearly a Year


(Ready to make some magic, gentlemen?)

Right off I’ll admit it: there isn’t anything glamorous about the Rashad Evans-Lyoto Machida title fight at UFC 98 this weekend.  A champion who until recently was known for his split decision victories facing off against a challenger known for being so “elusive” that his fights often resemble a ballet more than a brawl – that’s not anyone’s dream bout, least of all a promoter’s. 

But what this fight lacks in star power and fireworks, it makes up for with sheer, good old-fashioned quality.  In many ways Evans-Machida is the best, most legitimate title fight the UFC has put on in nearly a year.  Here’s why:


1. Strength of Record

Between the two competitors in Saturday night’s main event there are 27 wins, 1 draw and no defeats.  In boxing that wouldn’t be so impressive, but in MMA it’s as rare as a decent Michael Bay movie.  There’s an easy appeal involved in seeing two guys who have never been beaten square off, simply because somebody is going to experience a depressing new low for the first time.  It’s just a question of whether the crying in the locker room will be in Portuguese or English.

2. An All Too Deserving Challenger

For a while it looked like Machida’s style of fighting (almost) without fighting would make him the best light heavyweight not to get a shot at the UFC belt.  If “Rampage” Jackson had been healthy enough to take the Evans fight, Machida would still be getting overlooked.  But fortunately for him the UFC can no longer ignore him and really had no choice but to give him a shot.  That’s a stark contrast to recent title fights like Couture-Lesnar and Silva-Cote that left many of us wondering exactly what the challenger had done to warrant a title fight.  There are no such questions when it comes to Machida.  He deserves this.  The fact that he’s getting it, regardless of how or why, is almost enough to make you think the UFC’s system of deciding top contenders is completely fair and unbiased.  Almost.

3. A Contrast of Styles

Norman Mailer once described two opposing boxers as being so different in the ring that “one could not pass a bowl of soup to the other without spilling it.”  So it is with Evans and Machida.  Evans is the hard-charging wrestler who relies on controlling the tempo of a fight and on brief spasms of fantastic violence to end them.  Machida is the fluid karate master who picks his spots without offering any one devastating attack, but is gone by the time you even consider a counter-attack.  At times he seems as if he doesn’t want to hurt his opponents so much as instruct them.  Evans, on the other hand, has no problem grabbing his balls and coming right after you.  When two fighters are this different you can’t help but want to see what will happen when they’re locked in a cage together.  Maybe nothing much.  Maybe something that’s new to both of them.

4. Because We’ll Finally Be Able to Shut Up About It

Evans beat Forrest Griffin to take the title, but so what, say his detractors.  And Machida has won a bunch of decisions, but he can’t dance around for five rounds against someone who matters.  These are both somewhat valid criticisms, but after Saturday night at least one of them will be put to rest, thank God.  Either Evans solves the riddle of Machida and proves he’s the true champ, or Machida shows us that he really has figured out something about the fight game that has, shall we say, eluded everyone else.  Either way, the debate can finally stop.

(BF)

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UFC fan- May 21, 2009 at 6:31 am
ColinL, you have serious issues. I think you are closet homo. you "project your subconscious" on everything you read. I hope you come to terms with your problem..................till then stop posting on this sight, no one but capslock hal, tuf gay, and trinity care about your sexual deviation.
ColinL- May 21, 2009 at 4:27 am
Also, expecting dancing for 30 seconds and then Machida goes to work. If Rashad makes it to decision, we better make Greg Jackson the Governor of California, Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary General of the UN because obviously the guy can perform miracles.


And you know Rashad still would lose that decision. Haha. :)
ColinL- May 21, 2009 at 4:23 am
"There’s an easy appeal involved in seeing two guys who have never been beaten square off, simply because somebody is going to experience a depressing new low for the first time."

There's just something inherently unsupportable about this opinion, that's for sure.

It's a clever sentence, but I'm not sure if the masturbation undertone is strong enough.

Let me help.

"There’s an easy appeal involved in seeing two guys who have never been beaten square off, simply because somebody is going to experience a depressing new low for the first time."
Aenarion- May 21, 2009 at 1:14 am
Lyoto's title shot may be a little hard to justify... however, it's not like he doesn't have big wins. Though he's only recently done Ortiz and Silva, who straddle the line between top contenders and chumps, if you look to his earliest days even when he was a newbie he beat BJ Penn, Rich Franklin, and Stephan Bonnar. Not too bad. Honestly, it just seems to me like the UFC didn't want to give Lyoto any good fights for fear that he would be boring. However... the man has never lost a single round in the UFC. Not even a round. That's gotta count for something, right? On paper he might not have earned the shot, but everywhere else he definitely has. "Am I deserve the title shot?" Yes!

It's gonna be really interesting to see what Greg Jackson comes up with for Lyoto, by the way. And if Lyoto wins... well I would just like to say I'd be interested to see how contenders try to topple him. He's quite the enigma, and I'm a fan.
UFC fan- May 20, 2009 at 6:30 pm
"By the way, I train with Jeremy Horn in Salt Lake if any of you want show your face to me there."


thats it...thats as far as I can stand to read, when it comes down to some dumbass moron pulling the "I workout at so and so gym with so and so, and that makes me a bad fucker and I will beat anyone here who DARES to come face me....." BLEH I call bullshit! I say you play video games a pretend to to go to a gym, and because its the internet you can dream up anything. well for your information I have trained in GUNfu, so go FUCK yourself....come talk shit to ME asslicker! (fucking pathetic losers like you and tufGAY need an education).
PaulO- May 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm
Sure, he did beat some people that are decent now... like 4-6 years ago. And no offense to Thiago Silva, but he's not exactly a contender in my eyes. I'd much prefer to see Forrest versus Machida fight and give the winner a title shot against the winner of a Rashad versus Rampage fight. And Anderson Silva versus.... GSP! Yay.

To me, Machida just needs to fight at least one guy that either is a contender or has been a contender in the past couple of years. I just don't feel like I can effectively evaluate the guy until I see how he performs today against someone that isn't Tito or Thiago.
LOCKCAPSHAL- May 20, 2009 at 4:08 pm
its going to be 25 minutes of prancing, get out the tutu's
just some dong- May 20, 2009 at 3:43 pm
PaulO, I won't try to justify Lyoto's title shot... it probably is a little early for it. But with 'Page injured and Machida coming off that last brutal KO victory (plus the fact that all of his fights have been so insanely dominant), I think it makes sense. The closest thing we have to compare the two is the fact that they've both fought Tito... however Lyoto beat Tito easily, while Rashad might well have lost the fight if Ortiz hadn't suffered a point deduction.

Lyoto also beat Rich Franklin easily in a different organization... though that was a pretty long time ago.

denver_rolling- May 20, 2009 at 3:30 pm
also, Machida does have a sumo background and is a BJJ black belt. He's an awesome grappler and has beautiful sweeps. Rashad is strong, but I don't think it will be as easy as people seem to think for him if it goes to the ground (which I hope it does)! Im really looking forward to this
PaulO- May 20, 2009 at 3:20 pm
I'm not saying Machida can't win, but my question is this:

Who has Machida fought in the past 3 years to warrant a title shot?

To all of those trying to pick a winner, how can you evaluate Machida? When is the last time you watched him be challenged by a quality opponent? To me, he's a huge question mark. Sure, maybe he can win. I have no idea because I have nothing to go on.

just some dong- May 20, 2009 at 3:15 pm
Man i was just thinking... what if Rashad gets the better of the standup exchanges? Oh man this is gonna be so good... I too like both fighters. I just hope Lyoto wins because he's such a unique and cool dude... not that Rashad isn't, but compared to the Dragon he just seems like average joe.
Savageleto- May 20, 2009 at 2:43 pm
Its BJ Penn...

Thats why...
ken-mura- May 20, 2009 at 2:03 pm
I like both fighters, but I think Evans has more killer instinct.
PingPong- May 20, 2009 at 1:43 pm
I can wait to see what the best mind in MMA (Greg Jackson) comes up with to get after Machida.

This fight is gonna be just great!
TrueMMAFollower- May 20, 2009 at 1:16 pm
Keep dreaming ArmFarmer. I VERY MUCH doubt you own people on the mat, and you sure as hell haven't owned anyone here on the web. You've just proved to all people reading these comments that you are nothing but a pretended-know-it-all who wants to make himself feel like a bigger man by putting others down. Nice job, hope you feel proud of your success.
ArmFarmer- May 20, 2009 at 1:07 pm
Damn Dana White's blowing me up, probably wants me to step in short notice for a title fight again. I gotta go talk to the boss, see you guys later.
ArmFarmer- May 20, 2009 at 1:04 pm
"So if you're in the ufc, how come you spend all day on the computer bashing other people's comments with seemingly nothing better to do???"

I keep a computer in my gym so that I can simultaneously own people on the mat and the web. It's called multitasking.
ArmFarmer- May 20, 2009 at 1:02 pm
Except the lay n pray involves no skill part, that I don't agree with at all. It takes far less skill to dance around and avoid exchanges than it does to impose your will, force your opponent to the mat when he doesn't want to go there, and keep him there. Example.. Joslyn vs Koschek.. A very boring fight for sure but plenty of skill involved. Joslyn is a bjj blackbelt and is very crafty from his back, are you saying it takes little skill to take him down at will, keep him down, and avoid all sweep and submission attempts? I think it'd be much easier to dance around and run away from someone than take down an expert ground fighter and control him for 15-25 minutes.
TrueMMAFollower- May 20, 2009 at 1:01 pm
So if you're in the ufc, how come you spend all day on the computer bashing other people's comments with seemingly nothing better to do???
ArmFarmer- May 20, 2009 at 12:57 pm
"look at what happened to frankie edgar against gray maynard, edgar was a fantastic wrestler and it got him far against opponents that couldn't wrestle as well as him, but once he ran up against a bigger better wrestler he looked like he had no idea what to do."

Watch Edgar vs Griffin. Griffin was the bigger of the two but Edgar mixed his skills perfectly and came out on top. It was an excellent display of mixing disciplines and keeping your opponent guessing.

Other than that I pretty much agree with everything you said.
ArmFarmer- May 20, 2009 at 12:53 pm
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and he wasn't even making negative comments, just giving his opinion about the fight, and isn't that what this site is all about??"

No, he wasn't. Maybe you should read his post before talking about it. He didn't give his opinion about the fight anywhere in his post. Was he making negative comments? Yes, he was. His entire post was nothing but rediculous speculation and wrestler bashing.

"We are all allowed our own opinions ... or has the UFC suddenly become communist?? And in the end, it's all just opinion until the fight actually happens, and THEN we will see who really is the best light heavyweight in the world."

As I just pointed out, no where in his entire post did he attempt any kind of discussion about the fight between Rashad and Machida.. so no.. when the fight actually happens we won't really find anything out, at least not anything related to this conversation.

"And until I see YOU fighting in the UFC yourself, don't try to claim that you know everything about MMA, because you don't."

1. Sense when does bieng in the ufc mean you know everything about mma??
2. I AM in the ufc fucker.. where do you think I farm my arms??

"I thought the purpose of these forums was to post comments and thoughts and ideas in a CONSTRUCTIVE manner, not to bash on other people for their opinions. Sorry man, but not everyone in the world is going to agree with you. We are all allowed our own opinions"

First off, you obviously havne't been here very long. Second, I am posting thoughts and ideas and backing them up. I am engaging in a discussion and posting relevant information that relates to mma, the article, and the comments on the article. Everyone is allowed their opinion, including me. It's a little contradictory to make a post telling me to shut up and in the same post saying we are all allowed our own opinions.

Just a couple weeks ago this site was filled with graphic homosexual suggestions and very little discussion on mma so I don't think I'm really stepping out of line here.
daddypants- May 20, 2009 at 12:45 pm
so why would you hug any specific martial art's nuts if you are an MMA fan? they all depend completely on the person practicing the style to be effective, and if ANY of these styles were what we consider a COMPLETE martial art then there would be no use in cross training in different styles and ultimately there would be no MMA. wrestling is great, karate is great, but both are just pieces of these competitors styles, and both alone just can't cut it in the octagon. people sound so stupid when they go on and on about a mixed martial artist's "base" style. that's retarded. a good martial artist (like both of these competitors) can incorporate ALL the good parts of ALL the different styles they train. look at what happened to frankie edgar against gray maynard, edgar was a fantastic wrestler and it got him far against opponents that couldn't wrestle as well as him, but once he ran up against a bigger better wrestler he looked like he had no idea what to do. a fighter's "base" discipline doesn't mean squat if they don't learn the other angles of the game too.

wrestling and karate are BOTH great 2 dimensional ways of getting your ass kicked in a fight, but work great when used in tandem with other styles. they are both as limited as the point of views of the people that think they are complete.

and a lay and pray is just as boring to watch as two guys dancing around a ring not hitting each other, only the lay and pray involves less skill.
kempo666- May 20, 2009 at 12:35 pm
If everyone thinks Rashad is going to win this fight, then why are the lines in Machidas favor? I thought I had an underdog to bet on that might finally pay off... Now that is out the window.
Between Machida and GSP, Karate schools might start filling up which is good news for me.
TrueMMAFollower- May 20, 2009 at 12:27 pm
@ArmFarmer

Give up already, dude. Nobody wants to hear you go on and on AND ON bashing Videodrome's comments. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and he wasn't even making negative comments, just giving his opinion about the fight, and isn't that what this site is all about?? I thought the purpose of these forums was to post comments and thoughts and ideas in a CONSTRUCTIVE manner, not to bash on other people for their opinions. Sorry man, but not everyone in the world is going to agree with you. We are all allowed our own opinions ... or has the UFC suddenly become communist?? And in the end, it's all just opinion until the fight actually happens, and THEN we will see who really is the best light heavyweight in the world. And until I see YOU fighting in the UFC yourself, don't try to claim that you know everything about MMA, because you don't.
ArmFarmer- May 20, 2009 at 12:12 pm
Honestly.. reread your entire first post. That's blatant wrestler bashing. No one has brought up any of the following.. wrestling/which style is the best base/wrestling being the best base/Ryan Bader ect.

No one said anything about any of these things, and yet somehow in your reply to the dude's post which had nothing to do with any of your points you manage to write an entire paragraph about how much you don't like wrestlers.

The part I find most ammusing is that you yourself mention wrestling as the best base style to start with.. no one else made that claim you just brought it up and said it so that means either A. you believe it yourself or B. a large percentage of people believe it and you're tired of hearing about it. The fact that you brought it up without anyone else mentioning it works against your own argument.
CagePotatoMMA