Rashad Evans Against Lyoto Machida UFC Hollywood
Entering the fight, the UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans defends his title against challenger Lyoto Machida. Having won the title against Forrest Griffin at UFC 92. Now meeting the undefeated Brazilian fighter at UFC 98, Evans was confident he would be the first to give Machida a loss inside the octagon.
But coming into the match with fourteen straight wins, Lyoto was very much seen as the favourite. An unknown quantity until relatively late on the mainstream UFC scene. His previous destruction of former champion Tito Ortiz had catapulted him into the spotlight. And now he found himself in the running for the 205 lb title.
And with the former TUF house winner holding the light heavyweight crown. Having knocked out fan favourite and former champion Chuck Liddell at UFC 88. Rashad was that guy at the top of the pile for whom everyone was now gunning. And in line for his first title defence against Machida, it wasn’t going to be an easy night for the new champ.
Evans vs Machida Round One
In a tentative start, both fighters were cautious. With Lyoto seeking to be the aggressor, Rashad appeared on the back foot. Waiting for the challenger the make his move and perhaps try and counter. Knowing the speed and accuracy of Machida’s striking game. Rashad looked like he did not want to be the one to make the first mistake.
Boxing mixed with wrestling based style from the champion. Facing quite a unique karate base not seen all that often in the octagon. This fight was always going to be a clash of styles. As the crowd began to get restless form lack of action. We could see that with the first significant strike of the fight being landed at two minutes in.
And this is how most of the first round continued, as both men seemed to be working out the best form of attack. But then with one minute left in the round, Machida landed a stinging body kick. Which he followed up with a sharp left hand that sent Evans to the ground. Where he would follow and try to close out the fight with a first-round stoppage.
As round two gets underway, there is a definitive change in the crowd atmosphere. With many now chanting “Machida, Machida,” It’s obvious the challenger has already gained a number of new fans. And looking to pick up where he left off in round one, Lyoto once again begins to push forward. Probing and feinting as Rashad seems to want to counter, but is not being given that opportunity.
With Lyoto landing a few nice kicks, he is eventually able to get inside and Rashad up against the fence. But his collegiate wrestling means that the champion is no easy prey in the clinch. Quickly brushing off the attack and regaining the centre of the octagon. As the pair once again engage in the game of who will blink first.
And with the clock ticking down past the halfway point. It looks for all the world like this may very well just be one of those fights which go to the judge’s scorecards. With Rashad Evans happy to sit back and wait for his opponent to make the first move. It appears that this may end up going the full five rounds.
But with almost just one minute left in the round. Machida steps in and lands a hard left-hand flush on the face of Evans. Sending him to the ground, he follows up with a series of strikes that badly rock the champion. And he may be down, but he is not out as Rashad gets back to his feet and against the cage.
But the exchange is not over as Lyoto moves in for the kill. Throwing a flurry of punches that land, with yet another hard left sending him to the ground and out of the fight. In a show of pinpoint striking, the new light heavyweight champion shows why he is one of the most difficult fighters in the sport to face.