Sunday, February 1, 2009

UFC 94: Machida Shows His Roots

(**Spoiler Warning: If you haven't watched UFC 94 yet, I discuss the results in this post.) Last night's UFC was probably the most hyped UFC's of all time for its main event, a rematch for the welterweight title between BJ Penn and Georges St. Pierre. While I was happy that GSP won (I never liked BJ Penn because of all his trash talk and thuggish attitude), the fight that highlighted the night for me was the other main event, the match between Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva.

Machida really impressed me. His ring style seems to encompass the idea: "Why take damage if you can take out your opponent without getting hurt?" While he is widely criticized for his evasive fighting style that doesn't engage as often as many people would like, I personally think that this is a smart way to fight, both in the ring and on the street. Fortunately, Machida used this approach last night with both effective and exciting results.

Machida defeated Silva by slipping and side-stepping his attacks while simultaneously delivering powerful blows and quick takedowns, eventually ending the fight by knockout. This was all done using his original martial arts style, Shotokan Karate. Machida has trained in Karate since he was 3 under his father, Yoshizo Machida, a Karate master. You can truly see Machida's Karate influence when he fights, with his low guard and well-timed use of punches and kicks. Rather than absorbing blows as he attacks, he uses his excellent sense of distance as his primary line of defense, moving in and out of the line of attack to deliver devastating blows.

Most MMA fighters these days train in various combinations of BJJ, wrestling, Muay Thai, and western boxing. Machida, on the other hand, brings us back to the roots of UFC by mostly using his primary style in the ring. And Karate is not exactly widely touted for its effectiveness in the octagon. I like his spirit for this very reason. That's not to say that he hasn't studied up on grappling/ ground game, having also trained in Sumo and BJJ to complement his Karate. You kinda have to to do MMA. But it's still nice to see a fighter who stays true to a traditional style and uses it effectively in the ring.


Elias said...

Nice analogy =D

I'll have to find somehwere to see this.

Anonymous said...

Complelty agree with you. Machida goes against all the people who claim that Karate has no place in MMA and he also does it with style.

Antipodean Charm said...

Excellent commentary. With the dual application of your martial arts and writing skills, you make intelligent and though-provoking analyses of the domain.

I really enjoyed this critical analysis.

Lori O'Connell said...

Thanks! It's nice that my writing and thoughts are appreciated. :)