As controversial as the UFC 104 judges’ unanimous decision in favor of Fighters.com and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Dragon” Lyoto Machida (16-0) over seemingly obvious victor, now-third-ranked “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (18-4), was among North American MMA fans, nothing compares to the heat over the fight among Brazilian MMA fans.
Rua confounded and flustered Machida with kicks to Machida’s legs and body for at least three out of five rounds in Los Angeles October 24, and some have argued Rua won four rounds. But all three judges scored the fight 48-47 in favor of the champ.
Across the great South American nation from which both fighters have travelled around the world to entertain and awe fight fans, familiar lines are being redrawn because of the controversial UFC 104 main event.
Second-ranked “Spider” Anderson Silva (25-4) of Black House, a team made-up largely of former Brazilian Top Team members, told Tatame, “In my opinion, Lyoto won every round.”
And, ninth-ranked “Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (33-10-1), formerly of Chute Boxe with Rua, declared to Tatame, “[Rua] is the new champion.”
Years ago Brazilian Top Team and Chute Boxe played out one of MMA’s greatest camp rivalries in the now defunct PRIDE promotion. The hot blood between the two camps was thought to have cooled after many of the greatest fighters from both camps moved on to other camps or started their own gyms.
But, the title fight between Machida and Rua has heated up the old adversaries and reignited excitement about MMA in Brazil.
UFC President Dana White promised an immediate rematch between Machida and Rua; and, Since UFC 104, Machida has announced he will undergo surgery on his left hand, postponing the rematch in 2010.
Brazil deserves the rematch! It would be a huge UFC return to Brazil since their only Brazilian event in São Paulo in October 1998.
And, besides the top three spots in MMA’s most competitive and popular division being held by Brazilians, three other Brazilians are also ranked among the top ten at 205.
Of course, Anderson Silva will defend his Fighters.com and UFC Middleweight Championship from Brazilian “Phenom” Vitor Belfort (18-8) sometime in 2010. That previously UFC 108 slotted main event could also be postponed until the UFC can put on a show in Brazil next spring, making a Brazilian card with two all-Brazilian title fights at the top.
Fifth-ranked American Forrest Griffin (16-6) will welcome former UFC light heavyweight champion “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz (15-6-1) back to the UFC at UFC 106 in Las Vegas November 21 in a rematch Ortiz won the first time.
Fighters.com’s November Light Heavyweight Rankings
1. “Dragon” Lyoto Machida (16-0)
2. “Spider” Anderson Silva (25-4)
3. “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (18-4)
4. “Sugar” Rashad Evans (13-1-1)
5. Forrest Griffin (16-6)
6. “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (28-7)
7. “Banha” Luis Arthur Cane (8-1)
8. “Iceman” Chuck Liddell (21-7)
9. “Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (33-10-1)
10. Thiago Silva (15-1)