The pay-per-view event at the Staples Center Saturday promised to please audiences, but the results left the fans disappointed.
The world-renown Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) organization Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) paid its first visit to Los Angeles since 2006 when the Hall of Famer Matt Hughes defeated the legendary Royce Gracie.
The UFC’s return to the city of Angeles came with promising match-ups in both the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight divisions.
Cain Velasquez, an undefeated up and coming heavyweight fighter, took on “Big” Ben Rothwell in the co-main event. The two fighters have excelled in their careers and their intensity in the cage set the stage for a good fight.
The main event on the UFC 104 card, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida versus Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, promised to be an instant classic. Machida defended his title for the first against Rua.
Both fights made the UFC event a memorable one, but not in the best of ways.
Velasquez won his fight against Big Ben in two rounds.
Most of the first round consisted of Velasquez setting up combinations in order to take Rothwell to the ground. Rothwell got back to his feet several times, but Velasquez continued to throw him to the ground at will and follow through with vicious punches.
In the second round, Velasquez continued to dominate as in the first. As Rothwell attempted to get back to his feet against the cage, Velasquez threw a barrage of unanswered right hooks, causing the referee to step in to stop the fight.
The Staples Center was filled with boos as the fight was stopped.
Rothwell immediately expressed his disagreement with the referee’s stoppage. He appeared to be still coherent in the fight at the time of the stoppage. Rothwell had been taking blows throughout the whole fight, but at no point did he stop to defend himself or lose consciousness.
Steve Mazzagati, the referee for the match has had a history of stopping fights too soon and this fight turned into other mark on his record.
Luckily, this fight was only the co-main event. What people really wanted to see was the fight between Machida and Rua.
Undefeated Machida is known for being the least hit fighter in UFC history and just won the light heavyweight title by knocking out the undefeated Rashad Evans.
Machida’s style consisted of avoiding shots and countering Rua’s attacks, but he would also leap into his attacks.
Rua, once considered the top light heavyweight contender in the world, won the chance to fight for the title after knocking out Hall of Famer Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell.
Rua also counter’s shots, but his shottobox style is more aggressive than Machida’s.
Machida and Rua, aware of each other’s power and speed, fought very carefully, avoiding each other’s shots more than dealing them.
Rua blocked and countered Machida’s attacks and was able to damage to the body and legs. Rua also seemed to control the pace of the fight by engaging Machida with strikes and attempting to take him down.
Rua’s game plan did not change from the beginning of the fight until the end, which left the result of the fight in the hands of the judges.
All of the judges scored the bout 48-47, giving 3 of 5 rounds in favor of Machida.
For the second time that night, the attendees of UFC 104 were upset and let it be known with boos. Machida was the favorite to win in the fight and the crowd quickly turned on him as his hand was raised in victory.
UFC president Dana White also expressed his disapproval of the judges’ decision in the post- fight conference. Both fighters have verbally agreed to have a rematch as soon as possible.