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Lyoto Machida: The MMA Manny Pacquiao and The Return of "The Dragon"

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If I were to see Lyota Machida at any point in time after this past Saturday night in Brazil, I would extend my hand and apologize.

It is unwise to render an assessment based on casual observation without keen evaluation. I won’t even attempt to veil my regard for MMA- I have been about as casual a fan as it gets.

I generally don’t know who’s fighting or why, and unless there’s some sort of huge name recognition, I haven’t even cared to watch.

So it came as a huge surprise to Racheal when at a little past midnight, I immediately headed for “Fox Sports Live” after a night of homemade Pizza, Pink Velvet Cake, the movie “Endless Love” and Chocolate Martini’s (Listen whatta ya want from me? It was Valentine’s Day for Christ’s sake).

I had to toughen this evening up, and that started happening right away when I saw Andy Ogle being “triangle choked” into submission. But that was only a prelude to what I really wanted- the Machida fight.

In a rather "Shameless" (a great show on Showtime, and a shameless plug) admission, I didn't even know Lyoto Machida was fighting Gegard Mousasi until Friday night. I saw maybe a ½ hour of footage on him shortly thereafter. As for Machida, I only knew of him as a result of the Jon Jones fight. I kinda remembered him against Tito Ortiz, who I only knew from the movies.

It was with this sketchy data that I used to “analyze” their fight, which means I felt fairly uncertain that Mousasi would win while cheering for Machido.

“There”, says T@z (tongue in cheek).

I know Boxing and the fighters rather well- pretty comfortable there. I've been to fight parties fairly certain that I was at least one of the most informed guys in the building, if not thee most informed.

Invariably I’d look around the room and spot “that guy”. You know, the guy that clearly just doesn't know sh** about Boxing (I always think about Roger Mayweather's voice with this expression). I’d just smile to myself.

The other night I smiled “at myself”.

In coming down to middleweight to face the very dangerous and methodical Gergard Mousasi, I felt like I was watching the equivalent of Manny Pacquiao returning to 140lbs to completely dismantle and befuddle say- Ruslan Provodnikov over 12 one-sided rounds.

The dynamic southpaw was simply sensational.

He was Manny-esque in how he darted in and out on Mousasi with quick action shots. He pierced his defense with precise, laser-like kicks (which later earned him a lengthy medical suspension), and even managed to drop in some take-downs.

He appeared faster, sharper, in elite condition, and almost indefatigable, while rocketing into position for the winner of May’s middleweight title clash between champion Chris Weidman and perennial badass Vitor Belfort.

But one thing’s for sure whenever he does- I will not underestimate the return of “The Dragon”.


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