When Ultimate Fight Night 30’s Lyoto Machida made his UFC debut, fans knew the UFC had a future champion in hand. However, after several fights, his elusive Karate style became a bit polarizing. Some fans appreciated his ability to not get hit, while others found his point fighting style a bit boring, and it was second nature in predicting a Machida fight, that it would be “Machida by decision.”
With his knockout over Thiago Silva at UFC 94, the streak was finally broken. But it’s not really fair to say the streak ended. In reality, a new streak began, as Lyoto Machida has literally not won a single convincing decision since that fight.
Against Rashad Evans, he scored a second round knockout. The unanimous decision win over Mauricio Rua was one of the most controversial decisions in UFC history, and Rua would knock him out in the rematch. At UFC 123, he would lose a very controversial decision to Quinton Jackson. At UFC 129, he scored another epic knockout against Randy Couture. At UFC 140 against Jon Jones, he was finished for the second time in his career. He rebounded with a knockout win over Ryan Bader, but followed that up with a close split decision over Dan Henderson. Then, most recently, he dropped the second controversial decision of his career, losing in Brazil at UFC 163 to Phil Davis.
While the loss certainly didn’t put him out of the title picture, questions have to be asked about what is going on with the Brazilian. Surely off of a controversial decision loss to Phil Davis, Machida will want to keep this one out of the judges’ hands. Then again, if he didn’t learn that lesson against Rampage, then who really knows what to expect.
However, with Machida making his middleweight debut on Saturday against Mark Munoz, maybe the questions don’t need to be asked. After all, Machida has never chased the knockout, and has generally scored finishes off the overzealousness of his opponents. Plus, Machida will have five rounds to work against Munoz, and so he will have a lot more opportunities to take things out of the judges’ hands.
With a win over Munoz, Machida would immediately enter the middleweight division’s top 5, and could be one fight away from a title shot. And, if Weidman were to beat Anderson Silva in a rematch, there is no doubt a title fight with Lyoto Machida would make perfect sense. Just don’t expect anyone to pick Machida winning by a dominant decision, because it just hasn’t happened in a really, really long time.