Victory at UFC 94 over Silva earns Machida a likely title shot

Las Vegas – As far as victories go in mixed martial arts, Lyoto Machida’s first round TKO over Thiago Silva at UFC 94 on Saturday night couldn’t have been more fruitful.

The win not only allowed Machida to improve his overall record to 14-0 and career UFC record to 6-0 while handing the previously unbeaten Silva his first career loss, but it earned him a $65,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus.

But most impressive of all is word that with the win, Machida has all but assured himself a guaranteed light heavyweight title shot, according to comments made by UFC President Dana White during the post-fight press conference for UFC 94. Whether Machida gets the first title shot at current champion Rashad Evans is uncertain, as White was quick to add that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s destiny still rests in his own hands.

“We don’t have [Machida] scheduled to fight Rashad next,” White said. “But he’s in the mix. He’ll probably have a title shot before the end of the year.”

White inferred that a win by Jackson against Keith Jardine in the main event for UFC 96 on March 7 in Columbus, Ohio will mean that he will get the first crack at Evans. However, a loss by Jackson could mean that Machida would become the new number one contender and get the first show at Evans.

Regardless of the outcome of Jackson vs. Jardine, White stated that Machida will “probably” receive his title shot before year’s end.

Branded by many as a boring fighter, Machida’s win over Silva at UFC 94 was another step in his evolutionart track from a talented prospect to a legitimate star. Known for an elusive counter fighting style that has had a tendency to garner boos from crowds in the past, Machida was anything but boring on Saturday night and was well received by the crowd during Friday’s weigh-ins and again during pre-fight introductions.

The undefeated Brazilian is not only winning fight fans over but has also earned the praise of his boss.

“The thing I said about this kid since the first time I ever saw him is if when you think back to Matt Hughes, Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell and any of the guys who have been the big stars here the past 10 years, they weren’t barn-burners when they first came into the UFC,” White is quoted as saying during the post-fight presser. “It wasn’t like highlight reels and excitement. What happens is guys get in the UFC. It takes them a little while. They have to feel like this is their home. They have to start to get the feel for it, get some fights under their belt, and I said when Lyoto gets that, he’s going to be very dangerous.

“I think he’s going to be one of the greatest fighters in MMA, and every time he comes out to fight, he proves it more and more. … He looks better every time he fights.”

28 COMMENTS
  • Grappo says:

    Booyaaaaaaaaah

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  • BigDave says:

    i seem to remember saying Machida would dominate

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  • Davey D says:

    I’d give Machida the title shot instead of Rampage. I bet Page would be cool with it too. Lyoto has looked more impressive each time he has fought. I agree with Dana White’s theroy. Case in point: GSP. He had a few set back’s and now look at him.

    Machida vs. Evans should be booked for UFC 100. Penn vs. Florian too. Griffin vs. Rampage 2, maybe? How about Wanderlei vs. Leben or Guida vs. Sherk? That show will be top notch.

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  • neijia says:

    I agree, BigDave. A lot of us have been saying Machida is a dominant fighter. Last night really showed that with Silva being completely shut out, landing absolutely nothing. “Elusive” is such a vague understatement of what he actually does. “Darts in and out” isn’t quite accurate either. Those kinds of phrases just show a lack of technical understanding. Machida does dart in, but seamlessly transitions from a punch or two to a knockdown (or a punch is a simultaneous knockdown), rather than getting “in the pocket” to stupidly exchange, and then following up staying “in the clinch” to grapple and exchange knees, damaging both fighters in a stupid stalemate. No, it is just one fluid motion. Dart in, strike, knockdown, dart out. That is superior athletics, and superior martial art on display. That is better in the sport of mma, on “the street” or in combat. It is quite amazing.

    And finally some comments from Dana that I agree with and can respect. Machida vs. Evans would be a really great bout to watch. Glad the fans are coming around. UFC 94 should finally make most of them give Machida some deserved props and give the UFC some highlight reel material to build up Machida’s marketability. Booyah!

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  • kidneybeans says:

    Yet another reason for DREAM style tournaments in the UFC. Machida needs to fight for the title despite what happens with Dana’s boy Rampage.

    I’m tired of the speculation as to who deserves a title shot, there’s one way to decide without argument. Over the course of a year hold a tournament and we find out who desrves to be champion.

    Arbitrary decisions by Dana White and Joe Silva as to who the number one contender is delegitimizes the sport in my eyes. They are the BCS of MMA.

    I know it’s all about the matchups that make the most money for the company, but in the long-run I think actual undisputed champions and number one contenders is far better for the long-term growth of mma.

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  • Nate says:

    Machida = wow, that was an incredible win.

    It seemed like Thiago came up with a strategy that didnt work out so well, where was his fire & destruction? He probably only threw 5 punches.

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  • Rich S. says:

    You know, they’re probably going to set Machida up with Franklin or something..

    Which is insane, cause he’s coming off of a loss, and Machida hasn’t lost since the last time they fought!

    it seems they really don’t want Machida to fight for the title.. or not yet..

    So they’ll probably just come up with some crazy bout..

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  • detroit_fan says:

    Machida looked great, he deserves a shot imo.

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  • mike wolfe says:

    To all the critics who complained that he was boring, how do you like him now? Still think he’s boring, can’t finish, or runs away? Thiago didn’t look bored lying on the floor of the octagon last night..

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  • EamonJGod says:

    Translation fuck Jardine. They constantly over look him. I think they don’t want him as the title holder because he looks like a serial killer. As for the whole Machida thing, I guess I was wrongish about him. He beat Silva’s ass. He did back up early in the fight but he used it aggressively. I’ve never seen anyone be elusive and aggressive at the same time, so yes it was impressive. A KO win over a 13-0 fighter is a good win for any one. A Rashad Machida match up is a good fight, but I still think it’d be an uphill battle for Lyoto, considering Rashad isn’t an aggressive fighter and is mainly a counter puncher as well Machida might not have an easy time firing off those beautifully timed counters he hit Silva with. While I enjoyed the fight and it marked the first time I was flat out impressed by Machida I am in no way jumping on his band wagon. Jackson is still totally a contender, so is Jardine, and so is Machida. As long as Machida gets a title shot this year, within his next two fights, I don’t care who gets it first. If Jardine win’s the fight with Rampage he deserves a title shot. He took some stiff losses to Houston and Wandie that set him back but he’s got a lot of impressive W’s, like KTFOing Forrest, and dominating chuck. I bet if Jackson wins he gets the first shot and if Jardine win’s he would need to win two more big fights to get a title shot after Machida. Kind of unfair if you ask me. All in all Machida will have to show me a lot more for me to buy into him being the future of the sport.

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  • TK says:

    If Rampage fights Evans I see Rampage winning then losing to Machida…. I think Rashaad is actually a better match-up vs Machida and probably poses the biggest threat to giving Machida his first loss…. but like many others I think Machida is amazing I will go so far into saying he is my man crush… WAR Machida future lhw champ!

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  • mu_shin says:

    Been a fan since I first saw Lyoto Machida fight. Recognized what I’ve seen a few others write over time, how he uses real martial arts technique in the context of the sport of MMA. His true skill in my estimation is the almost psychic anticipatory radar he uses to avoid attacks, and then scoring against every opponent he’s faced with punches and kicks. Don’t get hit, and hit back. Chapter one, page one, paragraph one of the martial arts handbook. Recently I even saw it statistically verified that Machida is the least sored on fighter in the history of MMA.

    Felt for a long time, and have also seen comments written over time, that the UFC is not a legitimage sporting entity, it is an invitation only tournament. There is no protocol in place to assure a fair, logical ascension through the ranks, ending in a title shot for a deserving fighter. Joe Silva and Dana White decide who is good for business, and reward those fighters. Many great matches have come out of this process, but in Machida’s case, he’s been denied when many of us have seen championship form in his style, because of the widely help perception that he has put on boring contests that fans don’t appreciate.

    Really happy for Machida and for other fans who have appreciated his talents that he handled Thiago Silva in as authoritative a fashion as he did, and that the fight ended in a highlight reel stoppage. Personally, I have enjoyed watching him all along ( I think I first saw him on a late night replay of an old K-1 event) and hope that now that he has gained some well deserved notoriety, as well as apparently having gotten into the good graces of Dana White, that Machida will receive the title shot he has been deserving of.

    To imagine waiting for a Rampage/Evans matchup, after the Rampage/Jardine matchup, puts the Madhida title shot most of a year away, which is too long. An interim fight will be in order, but who’s left? Forrest Griffin, perhaps, or maybe Dan Henderson at 205? Oh wait, Henderson is doing TUF, and Griffin is trying to put his hand back together following his loss to Rashad… Shogun is fighting Chuck, and Tito is outside the UFC, already beaten once by Machida. Maybe Steve Cantwell? Too much inactivity is not good for fighters, or for their fans.

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  • king mah mah says:

    Machida deserves the title shot first.

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  • triangleman says:

    I really think rampage deserves it but I don’t think he wants it! Anytime in boxing or MMA when the reigning champ loses his tile via split decision in controversial fashion they get an immediate rematch! Obviously that couldn’t happen with Rampage but barring his legal troubles it should have. Now he wants Forest bad and they gave him Jardine because I think they are protecting Forest to get his confidence up! Give the shot to Machida and feed forest to the beast and nix the Jardine fight!

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  • Ft. Dub says:

    I was not on the Machida bandwagon before the victory, and am only slightly more on board now. I have never doubted his technical prowess, nor his ability to strike. He is clearly a good fighter when he chooses to engage. He rarely “mixes it up” and I fear for a horrible fight if he does face a Rashad type who is also a disciplined counter puncher.

    What would Machida look like if someone wasn’t chasing him? Has he fought someone with TRUE one-hit knockout power? I would be interested to see him in those scenarios. It’s not that I doubt he would do well, I am just intrigued by what that would look like. Machida vs. A. Silva would be a truly compelling technical fight.

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  • ACK! says:

    Machida deserves a title shot right now. Like today.

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  • kidneybeans says:

    You know how we could determine who really deserves a title shot? A tournament.

    Unless the fans start pressuring the dudes in charge we will never know for sure who deserves what. I encourage everyone to start making noise to the UFC, we don’t like someone telling us who the number one contender is.

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  • Guy Gaduois says:

    The surety that Quinton is not going to end up as a guest of the California Penal System is a little surprising. I’m a little reticent to risk the LHW belt being lost in a shower room brawl and raping in prison. The rules in the Big House are very different than the rules in the UFC I’ve heard.

    So far, no one can resist chasing Machida around. I wonder if Rashad and Machida would just circle each other for 25 minutes. The boos would be deafening. The first guy that gets Machida to come ahead on the attack is the guy that has the best shot at beating him – the other approach is not what the analysts call “a strategy for victory”. Somebody’s got to try something different.

    Machida’s KO of Silva was very impressive.

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  • JollyDV says:

    Rampage cut a deal. He isn’t going to do any time in prison. He has to do a lot of community service and pay fines. If he doesn’t get in trouble and completes the CS and pays the fine, they are dropping the charge down to a misdemeanor on his record.

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  • JBAR says:

    Did Machida even get touched anywhere but the end of his fist? He could easily be ready for another fight in 3mos with Evans. If Rampage gets past Jardine he could then have his shot at the winner as he would have just fought as well. GIVE MACHIDA HIS SHOT!!!!!!!

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  • JDamico23 says:

    “To all the critics who complained that he was boring, how do you like him now? Still think he’s boring, can’t finish, or runs away? Thiago didn’t look bored lying on the floor of the octagon last night..”

    To answer your questions…I pretty much hated his style of fighting…i found it OVERLY evasive, frustrating to watch, and boring. I was opposed to anything associated with him, and cringed at the very thought of him ever getting a title.

    After the fight, i almost couldnt believe my eyes…To see what Dana had been getting at after the lackluster/not as exciting fights machida had, where i believed he was just making excuses until he lost and could cut him. However i will admit that it seemed like Machida did in fact hone his style, and execute it flawlessly. Im not sure he was even hit in that fight, which in previous fights would piss me off because he would have been running most of the fight. This time around i saw absolutely incredible counterpunching skill with a deadly flow and pep in his step, evading YET somehow pressing thiago. I remember saying he looked to be in two places at once. He had thiago looking like Filho in his second bout with sonnen…simply confused. WELL DONE LYOTO.

    While i give the man his due credit, i will not be climbing aboard his wagon just yet. Id like to see him fight like that one more time before i say he has changed my opinion on him entirely, and who knows maybe two more like that and ill be a fan.

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  • JDamico23 says:

    I still have yet to see anyone test his chin though…im sure if he fights Rampage or Rashad, one of them will crack him with a good shot, and we’ll see if hes got a chin

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  • neijia says:

    Ft Dub – KO power, well, Thiago Silva has it. He won 10 of 13 by KO or TKO, mostly in rd 1. Machida did initiate though he is a very good counterattacker. If an opponent truly did not try to close, I think said opponent would just end up getting hit. Machida will probably just hit from longer range then suddenly close for a knockdown. His timing is better. It also works because other fighters think too much in terms of discrete ranges rather than transitioning between them. Machida does this seamless transition even better than Fedor does. Also, notice that a lot of his opponents have textbook bad stances. Silva practically had his head hanging forward. I was waiting for a Cro Cop (or Gonzaga to Cro Cop) style left high kick. Machida, in contrast, stays upright, almost leaning back. So many of the best targets on him are farther away. They probably look farther away than they are if you are trying to fight him. Someone should try more leg kicks on him, though something tells me that’d just get them punched in the head.

    Look at these gifs if you think Machida is boring: http://www.spladdle.com/?p=124 – they should cure you.

    I agree with kidneybeans, though. Tournament!!!

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  • neijia says:

    “This time around i saw absolutely incredible counterpunching skill with a deadly flow and pep in his step, evading YET somehow pressing thiago. I remember saying he looked to be in two places at once.”

    yes, that’s exactly it. that is what he always does. the problem is it’s hard to see it. anyone can see if a grappler FAKES a strike then level changes and does a clear takedown. that is bjj’s original mma 101 move. Machida’s skill is harder to see because his punches land then turn right into knockdowns before you can say “counterpunch”. I think that must also be demoralizing. I would hate it if everything I tried resulted in me being knocked on my ass even if I were the best ground fighter ever. If you close like the stereotypical grappler with crap standup, he’ll punch you and do that. If you close like the stereotypical striker with crap takedowns, he’ll do the same thing. If you are good at both, you’d better study and practice harder.

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  • EamonJGod says:

    No one has anything to say about Jardine being in the mix for a title shot? I guess you all over look him too. Cantwell Vs. Machida would be a great interim fight. I don’t know what the chances of it happening are but I’d love to watch it. Cantwell should be on the fast track to a title shot coming in with the WEC belt and ripping that blokes arm off in his debut in the UFC, and Machida is the number one contender, but I think Joe Silva’s job is to make the fights good interesting match ups and at this point we don’t know how “interesting” a 5 round fight between Rashad and Lyoto would be so Cantwell Machida makes for a good alternative. Lyoto is still relatively new in this sport, and young so he should have no problem waiting in line for a title so many people are sure he can attain.

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  • Grappo says:

    Id like to see him fight like that one more time before i say he has changed my opinion on him entirely, and who knows maybe two more like that and ill be a fan.

    All you really saw was him be a little more aggressive than he usually is. The moves and technique are pretty much mirror images of his previous performances. Did he really “hone his skill” or did he just see more openings and opportunities to attack on Silva, who had nothing? Silva was pretty much a forward moving punching bag. He probably was a little more motivated to put on a dominating performance in effort to win over fans and get a title shot, but Silva’s style was tailor-made to get f’ed up by Machida’s.

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  • Q says:

    Hey Sam, the bonus was for K.O of the night, not for fight of the night.
    Great article

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  • JDamico23 says:

    maybe to you folks that was what he was always doing, but this is the best opponent he has beaten in the ufc and he did it in a far more impressive manner than his other wins

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