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Sunday, May 9, 2010

UFC 113 Machida VS Shogun 2

Though many may consider men who enter an mma proving ground little else than hired human pitbulls ripping each other apart for massive money and radical amusement, it seems easy enough to recognize that professional level mma is the combat of highly disciplined human spirits, opposing each other for but the duration of the bout. The ultimate declaration of one's will to express oneself as a fighter, demands the form of radical intimacy, circulated between fighter and rival in a cage where the damage one suffers is the wit one failed to exhibit. The reaction of one's opponent is the reaction to whatever one could offer as offense. That is how, in my opinion, the mma fighter fights against himself, by being subjected to his own image, reflected by his rival. Who is, then, ignorant enough to express honest disinterest in such delicious fun?

The will and desire to fight seeks no propagation of aggression, as once two consenting parties are present in a fight, then it is nothing less than an expression of the human spirit and body in the form of combat. The ripe spirit embraces and respects this consenting rivalry, as this is the only channel its will might be shaped and perfected upon, until it realizes that the will of the rival is one with the will he opposes that with. Who though, has the more intricate command of that will? Well, this is why fights are made for.

Notice that the ultimately glorious moments of mixed martial arts are not of those of KOs and submissions. They are of those of hugging the formal rival at the end of the bout, circulating the most honest, pure respect spirit and related intelligence may come upon, the limitless respect each fighter deserves simply by making an attempt of expressing themselves thoroughly, honestly on the proving grounds. The biggest respect one could give is the assumption that one needs solid skills and wits to neutralize the rival. A fight is the expression of these skill sets, put though to the test utterly and completely, instead of infinitely theorizing about them. The most glorious moment of the bout emerges in the form of the ensuing peace between the fighters, a legit, palpable sensation, unifying the former enemies and the grateful audience once the collision reaches its conclusion.

This is a review of the latest UFC event to date, UFC 113 - Machida VS Shogun 2.

Introductory thoughts about the more significant lineups

UFC 113 gives you the rematch mma aficionados have been impatiently waiting for ever since its precursor got recorded into the books. UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida emerges to defend his title for a second time against the man who gave him more problems in the Octagon than he ever had to deal with in it so far: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. The first meeting of the two, that took place in October, 2009, yielded the most controversial decision of the year, and now is the time to find out if Machida is able to resonate the qualities he was characterized by earlier: the Champion scarcely got hit before the first Shogun fight, and he was able to deliver ruthless efficiency whenever chose to explode on the rival. Rua though, in my opinion, fought a delicately elegant, efficient and smart fight, taking away Lyoto's legs and refraining from offering counter opportunities for The Dragon. The match is still a tough one to call indeed, as, though in my reality Shogun won the first fight, the argument that you need to put a decent beating on the Champion in order to be crowned a fresh one, seems to be a legit one, indeed. I think Shogun would have walked away as the victor if the first meeting were not of Championship caliber, but his - nevertheless excellent - performance was not enough to leave Lyoto decisively beaten. Yet, in my opinion: it WAS enough to leave Lyoto beaten.

Josh Koscheck and Paul Daley found little if any tender tendencies so far with the help of the other one, instead, they decided to talk and throw rather steep smack at each other with excellent results: both fighter look forward to the collision with no love in the eyes. The Brit has exceptional knockout power in his left, enough power, in fact, that made Koscheck state how he - Josh - is ready to go toe to toe with Daley, as the seasoned mixed martial arts veteran is pretty confident that Paul has nothing more to offer than his left. There is something which adds even more importance to this great matchup: the winner of the bout will have the right to collide against reigning UFC Welterweight Champion George "Rush" St. Pierre.

Kimbo Slive VS Matt Mitrione

Did Kimbo look good against Houston Alexander, or was it Houston Alexander who looked really bad against Kimbo Slice? Sure, the twilight of the fight has fine moments, characterized by Kimbo's presence, that which is competent enough to find landing zones for precise, powerful, elegant, shady shots, and to command Alexander to the ground with impressive slams. Yet, the two spent the first round by doing little more than circling around in the Octagon. Hopefully, Matt "Meathead" Mitrione will cultivate none of this approach and will take the fight to Kimbo, as both parties seem to be agree upon the fact that fans want to see Kimbo knock somebody out, or, to be knocked out by somebody. I am a fan of both men, but please, deliver a kill, indeed.

Alan Belcher VS Patrick Cote

After a balanced first period primarily characterized by Belcher's efficient body kicks and Cote's intact ability of finding the range he can ignite rockets from with the highest precision, it eventually is Cote to gain a momentary upper hand by sticking to an offensive leg and taking it to the ground with him - with Belcher attached to it, fortunately. Though Cote delivers a competent performance on the ground by attempting a kimura, Alan proves to be able to reverse the dire situation, eventually administering more damage in this ground sequence than Cote is able to. The second round showcases some brief, nevertheless impressive exchanges in which no strikes remain unanswered, yet it is Cote who finds himself in the role of the hunted at the midway point of the round, desperately driving his rival into the fences as opposed of continuing the toe to toe warfare. Belcher is quick to gain the upper hand in the clinch position via an efficiently offered knee, convincing Cote to take the fray to the ground once again - in theory. In reality though, while Patrick is regaining his wits via cultivating an intimate relationship with the torso of his rival in close quarters, Belcher picks him up and face plants him into the canvas. This consecutive act of sobriety molestation proves to be enough to sink in the hooks from the back, demanding a tapout from Cote due to a rear naked choke.

Kimbo Slice VS Matt Mitrione

Kimbo looks good in the first half minute of the bout, countering Mitrione's attacks with a dive-in, scoring a beautiful double leg takedown, yet the former YouTube sensation is quick to find himself in the inferior position when reaching low quarters, with Mitrione's legs wrapped all over him. Though Kimbo escapes from this dangerous position, he gets subjected to consecutive submission attempts, nevertheless leaving the impression of a competitive fight behind. In the second round, Kimbo's defense looks way less effective, while his ability to deliver offense is virtually non-existent. Mitrione delivers vicious leg kicks and constantly finds a landing zone for those solid strikes, grinding down Kimbo up to the point on which Mitrione's noted rival is no longer in the same fight. Kimbo soon finds himself mounted on the ground, with Matt administering ground and pound on him. Having nothing more and nothing else to offer than sloppy defense work Slice has zero chance to stop Mitrione with, Referee Dan Miragliotta eventually puts an end to this contest. The winner is Matt Mitrione by second round TKO.

Josh Koscheck VS Paul Daley

Paul Daley might possess semtex power in his left indeed, yet his collision with mma veteran Kosch Koscheck clearly proves that a martial artist needs to possess a more versatile tool set than that in the possession of the talented Brit, if to face and remain competent against a fighter with the grappling experience of Koscheck. The story of this bout entirely revolves around Josh's ability to take down Daley at will, in order to subject the Brit to various submission attempts. While they spend the majority of the fight on the ground with Daley being the molested, the bout also is characterized by two rather strange incidents: Daley lands an illegal knee in teh first round, yet later it turns out that the knee did not exactly contact with Koscheck, who, nevertheless, delivers an acceptable performance of suffering the definite hurt real bad. Though no point is deducted from Daley eventually, he might just earned himself a suspension for his Octagon behavior following the end of the match. When the two do stand up from the ground position Koscheck exhibited constant superior position on, the talented Brit can not control his emotions, and punches his rival in the face AFTER the bout has arrived to a conclusion. This is a more intricate incident though, in my opinion, than it may seem like at first. It appears as if Daley would want to make peace with Koscheck, laying his hand on Josh's shoulder, yet Josh is walking away, signaling than he will have none of the peace Daley seems to offer. This is the moment, probably, by Daley loses control of his emotions, as he probably feels humiliated. As such: he punches the evident winner. Josh is the sound triumphant of the fight nevertheless, and will have the chance to headline the next season of the Ultimate Fighter reality show to culminate that event with a collision against reigning UFC Welterweight Champion George St. Pierre. As for Paul Daley, he probably will have a suspension, and, along with that, will have the opportunity to calm his emotions, although I remain reluctant to offer a radical verdict on his behavior, as he indeed seemed like he was trying to make peace with Koscheck, right before he decided to punch him instead - after the fight, which is totally unacceptable, of course - as result of being humiliated by the man who just bested him. Either way, I feel a suspension is a just decision in this case, because behavior like this does no good to the sport.

Lyoto Machida VS Shogun Rua

Shogun starts to work early on those legs again via finding the range he is most dangerous and efficient from, and, quite similarly to the first meeting, Machida seems to be unable to offer an antidote for those. The challenger shows an increased amount of aggression compared to what he was relying on in the first confrontation, getting away with the better of the swift, quality exchanges that summarize the virtually non-existent feeling out process of this bout. Interestingly enough, Machida decides to take Shogun to the ground on two separate occasions, yet the canvas warfare yields no other results than a relentless urge from Rua to get back on the feet, an intent he brings to fruition without too much desperation on his part. Continuing to stalk the Champion, Rua exhibits sober and well positioned aggression that swiftly-, yet surely forces Machida to play the role of the hunted, yet, at one point, The Dragon decides to have no more of that, and accepts the invitation to slug it out. As Lyoto darts in to close the distance, Shogun clips him on the temple: the Champion collapses, and the next second witnesses the challenger dropping precision air to ground missiles until the lights go out in Georgia for Lyoto. Mauricio Shogun Rua wins this battle at 3:25 in the first round by the way of knockout, and emerges as the new UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. A spectacular performance which leaves no questions behind this time around.

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