Saturday night was UFC 175, the biggest event of the year for the world's largest MMA promotion. In the main event, Lyoto Machida challenged Chris Weidman for his UFC Middleweight Championship in an attempt to be just the third fighter to hold belts in multiple weight classes.
Machida came up short in his effort to become champion, dropping a unanimous decision to Weidman. It was a fight that was largely contested on the feet and excited the fans throughout.
In examining Machida's performance, it's easy to see where things went wrong for the Japanese-Brazilian karate master. His slow start and defensive style did him no favors early on, which got him behind on the scorecards.
First, it must be noted that Machida's takedown defense and ability to get off his back when he was taken down was on point as usual Saturday night. Weidman tried many times to plant Machida on the mat, but Machida would either fend that attack off or get up incredibly fast.
Also, it should be stated Machida finished the fight well. Despite his slow start, he picked up steam down the stretch, though, that could be viewed as a weakness in this fight.
Weidman's Octagon control was at the detriment of Machida in this bout. Weidman controlled the cage and was able to dictate the striking game. It made it tough for Machida to get off and blitz like he usually does in his fight.
Machida's defensive style also hurt him. He was waiting on Weidman too much, but because Weidman is athletic and quick, he was able to escape many of Machida's counters. He was able to land some, but not like he normally does in fights.
His slow start also did him no favors. He didn't really look like the Machida of past until the late fourth round and entire fifth round. That's where he finally started to get going, though, it was a little too late.
If there's something to take from that, it's that we now know that the weight cut doesn't affect Machida's cardio. He was fresh throughout the fight and never really looked too gassed.
Most of the times that Machida hasn't won fights was because he was too timid and not aggressive enough. That could easily be to blame here as well.
Machida is still a high-level middleweight and will stick around the title picture despite the loss. Seeing his recent performances against Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi show that he is going to be a tough out for any top-level 185-pounder that the UFC possesses.
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