UFC 98 Review: Machida is the Future!

By Eric Kamander Subscribe to Articles by Eric Kamander

UFC 98 had some interesting potential and proved to be much more. The main event was compelling to all but the lowest common denominator of MMA fan. Two divisive, undefeated fighters with a whole lot going for them. At one these were two of the least respected fighters in the UFC. But who didn’t want to see them now? And it certainly delivered in decisive fashion answering many questions.

The long postponed grudge match, which was overly tempting to dismiss, was very revealing and even satisfying in ways.

Plenty of other quality matches showed, once again, that you can never count out the underdog, or a bad referee decision.

Lyoto Machida defeated Rashad Evans via KO (punch) at 3:57 of round 2 to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship

Rashad went in with the “smart” strategy of not rushing Lyoto, and playing the waiting game. The only problem with that is that while Lyoto has the reputation for being elusive, he beats people up…and that’s just what he did here. Lyoto showed that even against someone as quick and patient as Rashad, his speed and poise are on another level.

Machida has been one of the most divisive fighters in MMA, but in his last two fights he’s managed to win the fandom of many previous haters. Meanwhile long time Machida fans are singing his praises: “Machida is the man!” even “Machida is god!” and my favorite “Machida is the future!”

And I think he is. A fighter that can simultaneously defend themselves enough to avoid any damage, while attacking with precision strikes of all types, standing or grappling.

Rashad is a great fighter is is certainly a match for almost any light heavyweight. I would still like to see him fight Rampage, and I think he’ll win that fight.

But for Machida, I don’t see any compelling fights for him in his division. Maybe he should fight Fedor…

Lyoto Machida was awarded a $60,000 bonus for knockout of the night.

Matt Hughes defeated Matt Serra via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Matt Hughes and Matt Serra were each awarded $60,000 bonuses for fight of the night, and while it certainly wasn’t the best fight in my opinion, in a way I’m very happy for them.

Serra came into this fight a serious underdog, but he did real well against Hughes. If Hughes did decide to retire, like he’s been saying he would, this would be a perfect last fight for him. It was a win that showed that he is no longer competitive with the elite of his division. If he decides to keep competing, he will either loose to the top guys in the division, or soon start loosing to up and comers.

Meanwhile Serra, is only where he is because he scraped out a controversial decision against Chris Lytle on a TUF Finale. If he can’t beat Hughes, he won’t be able to hang with top 10 welterweights. If he can possibly make it back down to lightweight, that’s his best bet, and even then he’ll have his hands full.

Drew McFedries defeated Xavier Foupa-Pokam via TKO (strikes) at 0:37 of round 1

I knew McFedries hit hard, but I didn’t think he would catch Profesor X so early. I thought Xavier’s footwork would be enough to avoid the McFedries presents.

So what does McFedries do now, get submitting by someone with half a grappling game, or be limited to fighting bangers?

Chael Sonnen defeated Dan Miller via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

I was really on the fence about this fight. Dan Miller’s submission strength is Chael Sonnen’s weakness. And Chael could not hang with Dan standing either. Fortunately for Sonnen, his one strength was enough to get the win. Unfortunately, that one dimensional wrestling style will only get him so far in the division before he meets someone that can keep it standing, or with better submissions than Dan.

Frankie Edgar defeated Sean Sherk via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Edgar, who came in as a heavy underdog, looked fantastic. He had great movement and a variety of attacks. Meanwhile Sherk looked POWER).

Now I’m interested in seeing Sherk fight Maynard. Maybe Edgar could fight Diego Sanchez.

Brock Larson defeated Mike Pyle via submission (arm triangle choke) at 3:06 of round 1

Brock Larson looked really good earning his $60,000 submission of the night bonus. He was quick and dynamic. I’d like to see him fight some ranked fighters like maybe Karo Parisyan, or Matt Hughes if he’s bent on not retiring just yet.

Tim Hague defeated Patrick Barry via submission (guillotine choke) at 1:42 of round 1

What a shame when someone is so one dimensional. For Pat Barry to be clearly dominating the fight and then become totally lost once the fight hits the floor is sad and inexcusable.

Krzysztof Soszynski defeated Andre Gusmao via TKO (punches) at 3:17 of round 1

I was skeptical that Soszynski could pull it off. Gusmao was supposed to have the better striking and grappling. What went wrong? Was Gusmao all hype? Did Soszynski get lucky?

Kyle Bradley defeated Phillipe Nover via TKO (punches) at 1:03 of round 1

There’s really nothing you can say about this fight except that it was a questionable stoppage, to say the least. If this were a higher profile fight we would see plenty more opinion pieces for and against this type of early stoppage, but for my part, I can say that this is why I supported Yves Lavigne when he prematurely stopped the Brown/Sell fight and then went on to let it continue. It’s unfortunately that Yves did not feel he had the freedom to act the same this time.

Yoshiyuki Yoshida defeated Brandon Wolff via submission (guillotine choke) at 2:24 of round 1

Did Wolff still have bumps on his head from his fight with Ben Saunders? Yoshida looked good once he clinched up, but up to that point his performance made me think there’s no way he’s making waves in any division.

George Roop defeated David Kaplan via split decision (30-27, 30-27, 28-29)

I didn’t watch the last season of TUF and watching this fight didn’t make me regret it in the least.

What Do You Think of This Fight/Event?