As Phil Davis and Lyoto Machida waited for the results of their contest at UFC 163, there was an air of predictability. Aside from being taken down twice, Machida appeared to have landed enough strikes to gain the victory. Davis, on the other hand, whiffed on many chances and hoped a third round flurry was enough to convince the judges.
The mood quickly changed as Davis was declared winner by unanimous decision. Entering their bout in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, both fighters had aspirations of inching one step closer to a light heavyweight title shot. Following the controversial decision, it is apparent that their careers are going in opposite directions.
Despite landing only 29 of 98 strikes, take downs late in the first two rounds sealed the victory for Davis. The former All-American wrestler now has three straight victories and an outside shot at a championship matchup with Jon Jones. While it’s not an overly convincing win for Davis, he continues to dominate the UFC with a 12-1 record, his only loss coming to Rashad Evans.
For Machida, the loss is a sign of a continuing downward spiral. He’s made a career out of being patient and maintaining a conservative approach, but losses in four out of his last seven fights are cause for concern. At this point, it would seem a title shot is out of the question. With top contenders like Alexander Gustaffson and Glover Texiera in the mix, Machida may have to settle for whatever opportunity he’s given.
Interviewed after his loss last night, Machida stated he didn’t know “what exactly the judges were judging”. You could say he “should know” but the real question remains with many fans, spectators and fellow members of the press, “does anyone know what the judges are really basing their decisions off of?” This needs be clarified and resolved if UFC is to be taken seriously. We aren’t speculating a conspiracy of any sort but certainly a lack of clarity around the nature of the judging process. Fighters, trainers and spectators need to know what the parameters for winning a fight are! Regardless for the unfortunate loser of this match (Machida), if he continues to lose fights like he has over the last few years, his days as a UFC star athlete may be numbered.
One piece of advice we have for the venerable Dragon. FINISH the fights first! Constant hesitation and toying with your opponent leaves too much up to the judges and it’s always a gamble when it comes to what they will decide.