I wasn't surprised to see Lyoto Machida get cracked over his left temple and drop instantly, bear-hugging Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's waist and holding on for his dear life. Machida would get no mercy from the Shogun, who pounded The Dragon until his lights turned out 3:28 into the very first round of their rematch.
Machida had been clipped hard just a minute and 18 seconds ago. After separating from the clinch, Shogun charged at Machida in full force, throwing punch after punch. Two of them, a left and a right, connected. The left simply caught Machida by surprise, but the right that came three punches later wobbled him.
The Dragon had no choice but to clinch Shogun and take him down. He would've been knocked out in a matter of seconds if he didn't. Machida tried to work the ground game, but Shogun had other plans: The Shogun knew he could teach the Shotokan Karate exponent a lesson in dynamic Muay Thai kickboxing.
As the UFC commentators Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg roused about how the unpredictability of UFC rematches, Shogun worked himself from the bottom, eventually escaping with 2:11 left in the round. Machida gave the possessed Shogun a knee to the right kidney, but was overwhelmed physically.
Pinned against the cage, and running out of gas and options, Machida broke loose and engaged aggressively in a standup battle. His left knee threw Shogun back for an instant, but Machida couldn't capitalize. His left cross from the southpaw stance was countered by Shogun with a perfectly timed overhand right hook to the temple.
It was such timing that would undo Lyoto Machida's brief reign atop the UFC's light heavyweight division seconds later.
What went down in Machida-Shogun II shows us that even a world class martial arts traditionalist who built his name on evasion and countering can be put down viciously by a world class kickboxer (boxer) if he forgets what makes a Thai or Western boxer tick.
Simply, in what was essentially a classic style vs. style matchup, the Shogun slayed The Dragon by breaking his rhythm and splicing a full-beat left cross with a half-beat overhand right.
It's quite possible that Lyoto Machida could've saved himself by throwing a fast lead right instead of the slower left cross which was instantly countered by Shogun: Machida's resetting himself after ramming Shogun with a solid left knee clearly gave the Muay Thai stylist time to recover and defend himself.
Instead of surprising Shogun with an immediate follow-up strike (punch or otherwise), Machida let the dangerous kickboxer gather himself and track his movements. And when The Dragon compounded the problem by throwing the long left rather than the short, quick lead right or jab, the fight was as good as over.
Ultimately, Machida-Shogun II teaches us an important lesson: No matter what we do in life, martial arts or no martial arts, we must learn as much as we can from the world around us and take control of our destiny.
So let's stop acting like we don't know.
"MC's Act Like They Don't Know" by KRS-One
If s*** can happen to a smart, dedicated, world class professional like Lyoto Machida, then it can happen to any of us.
We must learn.