Quijano: A faster Machida at middleweight

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014


LYOTO Machida’s second fight at middleweight was quite subdued, as he strategized his way to a unanimous decision win over Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night 36.

On the internet, I heard that this fight garnered “Fight of the Night” honors but when I saw the replay I had to do some serious head-scratching.

Regardless, Machida was his usual effective self, darting in and out, and shifting constantly from southpaw to orthodox stance. Mousasi didn’t do to shabbily either but Machida will always be a stylistic conundrum to majority of his foes and Mousasi was no exception.

Also, now that Machida is competing a lower weight division, his speed has improved tremendously, which complements his elusive, non-aggressive stance quite well.

THE FIGHT. In the first round, Machida advanced behind a southpaw stance and scored big with several leg kicks.

In the second round, Mousasi was a bit successful in trying to pin the elusive Machida, and managed to land a couple of right hands. However, Machida defended well against his takedown attempt. I thought Mousasi did enough to merit the nod for this round.

In the third, Machida stalks Mousasi and scores head kicks. Mousasi was able to lock in a standing guillotine just before the round ended, but Machida wins this round again due to his aggression.

The fourth round was competitive with Mousasi landing leg kicks and later landing on his guard after being swept by Machida.

Mousasi is leeking his lifeblood from the nose in the fifth, but he gives it his all. However, Machida is just too clever. Both men end up on the ground and Machida worked hard to get a submission

Post fight, Mousasi admitted he just could not get into a comfortable rhythm and that Machida was always a step ahead of him.

Machida’s emergence as a top contender in the middleweight division comes at a proper time with Anderson Silva’s career-ending injury and the UFC looking to match him up with the winner between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort.

WAITING FOR FLOYD. What’s this I hear about all the pussyfooting Floyd is doing in choosing his next opponent?
At his website where he ran a survey among fans, Khan emerged as the winner. But other boxing sites also ran similar polls where Marcos Maidana emerged victorious.

The media is on a daily watch, and the fans are getting impatient as the date and venue are already in place (May 3 in Las Vegas) but no opponent has been named yet.
In my previous column, I was hopeful that Floyd would honor his own survey and indulge the verdict of his fans.

I voted for Maidana as I think Khan will only give Floyd a boring, tactical fight, but since Khan won the survey I was willing to sit back and watch the kid give it his best shot.

All the while, I was of the impression that the train had already left the station, and we were just along for the ride.

Let’s examine the possibilities. Floyd could be having second thoughts about giving the fight to Khan because there were allegations that the survey was fixed.

Or, he may end up still giving it to Khan but he’s just being himself and just wants to hype up this match-up by attracting more attention, and he doesn’t give a damn if its negative. Remember, publicity is still publicity, and he’ll take what’s available.

Either way, his legacy and his notoriety for cherry-picking his opponents is at stake. It’s bad enough that he limited the choice to either Maidana or Khan. Now it appears he can’t make up his freaking mind either.

VERBATIM. “He has never faced anyone as quick and explosive as me. I definitely know that. If you look at his previous fight with Victor Ortiz, speed and explosiveness gets to him. Ortiz got beat but when he would explode towards Floyd it was effective. Speed and explosiveness gets to him.
Amir Khan (www.thesweetscience.com)

LAST ROUND. It’s on my “kumara” Tetchie Zosa-Tan who celebrates her birthday this week. Cheers!

(jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 19, 2014.

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