Accord, NY (PressExposure) October 19, 2009 -- UFC 104 Machida Vs Shogun Match Preview & UFC Betting Picks
Mauricio Shogun Rua wants Machida's LHW Belt.
Blog post photoMauricio Shogun Rua used to rumble through pride opponents with sheer aggression. TKO's by soccer kicks and stomps. Come on! Shogun rocked people. He won the PRIDE Fighting Championship's 2005 MW Grand Prix. If one of Shogun's matches went to the later rounds he could even pull out a submission victory. In his first 18 fights only two went to the final bell and Shogun came out victorious. Both wins were by unanimous submission.
Shogun is a powerful, pressing muay thai striker and a BJJ black belt who will punch your head off or kick you on the ground until you quit or the referee saves you. That is Shogun.
Before joining the UFC, Shogun's list of victims, and I don't use the word lightly, include Evangelista Santos, Akihiro Gono, Quinton "BA Baracus, I'm done fighting" Jackson, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alistair Overeem (x2), Ricardo Arona, and Kevin Randleman. Many of these top level men were punished. This is the Shogun the UFC signed, this is the Shogun the UFC fans wanted and expected. What they got was something different.
The problem was that Shogun has knees, and sometimes they don't always hold together. Shogun's knee injury during training did not allow for a competitive camp and he lacked the fitness to compete against Forrest Griffin. After losing the first two rounds, Shogun ultimately succumed to a rear-naked-choke in the final seconds of the third round. Shogun looked exhausted. His fans slumped in their chairs and looked bewildered. I remember that. I can accept the injury excuse/reason. It really didn't look like Shogun. There was also the fact that it was his first fight under the Unified Rules of MMA, which include no kicks and knees to the head of a downed opponent. Injured, out of shape and lacking weapons. Shogun looses the match and the chance to make a first impression on UFC fans that hadn't seen him before.
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Shogun's next chance was also a chance to avenge his earlier loss to Mark Coleman. This time UFC fans had a chance to see two well known fighters almost not make it to the end of the fight due to exhaustion. "Fight of the Night" or not, nothing overly impressed me here except the fact that someone actually won before I fell asleep. I was beginning to wonder if Shogun was just collecting the cheques and finishing out a contract before retiring. Then came Liddell. The Iceman was out in the first round due to Shogun's big left hook and a flurry of hammer fists. This was getting back on track, even if it was against a fading Liddell.
So the question remains, do we get the original Shogun, or the lumbering, out of breath Shogun. My guess is that Shogun has had a full camp, he's fit and adjusted to the cage, and is more than ready for a title fight. He's too much a professional and too proud of a guy to take this fight anything less than completely serious. I expect a new and improved Shogun.
I expect Machida is expecting the same.
That may be Shogun's downfall against Machida. Shogun's aggressive style is exactly what a counter-puncher loves, and exactly what Machida is waiting for. I think Machida's accuracy and timing will prove to be too much for Shogun.
Shogun's coach, Andre Dida disagrees, "For the pace of fighting that Lyoto forces, always looking for the knockout, I think this fight wonât go past the third round. Shogun will knock out him in the 3rd round for sure. Shogun is going to be the unique guy to show the world how to beat Lyoto. Everyone will learn how to beat Machida so on."
UFC 104 Picks: Machida by TKO, later rounds.