THE HIT LIST: Top 5 Moments from UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Mousasi
For the second consecutive fight card, decisions dominated the event, as 10 of Saturday night’s 12 fights went to the scorecards. But just like two weeks ago at UFC 169 in Newark, New Jersey, UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Mousasi still contained some noteworthy performances and key takeaways to talk about.
Here they are in the latest edition of The Hit List.
Watching Lyoto Machida fight is like seeing a renowned painter turn a blank canvas into a masterpiece, each strike accumulating like brushstrokes to create the impressive final product.
In his sophomore appearance in the middleweight division, the former light heavyweight champion used his standard stick-and-move routine to keep Gegard Mousasi off balance and out of rhythm, landing at a high percentage while keeping his output economical like always. There are few fighters in the UFC that understand and use movement and distance better than “The Dragon” and it showed once again here.
As he is apt to do, Machida dove in with knees to the body, ripped off stiff kicks to the legs and midsection, and snapped hard punches out at Mousasi with off-beat timing, never allowing the Dutch kickboxer to open up.
It was a vintage Machida performance—brief flurries, plenty of fakes and feints, and a few easy-to-miss impressive moments that illustrate that the Brazilian veteran is a cut above the rest of the contenders in the middleweight ranks. His sneaky little foot sweeps are a sight to behold.
While it wasn’t the concussive conclusion that brought his bout with Mark Munoz to a close, Machida swept the scorecards against a game and determined Mousasi, and could very well have earned himself a shot at the middleweight strap in the process.
Another Win for The Alligator
Jacare Souza’s string of finishes came to an end at five, but the former Strikeforce middleweight champion still extended his winning streak to six with a unanimous decision win over a resilient Francis Carmont in the co-main event.
While there are bound to be a number of people scaling back their praise of the Brazilian submission ace following this performance, this should be viewed as another indicator of the growth and improvement Souza has made over the last few years.
Heading into the third round, most scorecards had the fight at one round for each man, with Carmont taking the second frame. It was a prime opportunity for Souza, who spent the majority of the first in back mount, unable to finish his French opponent, to fade. Instead, the Brazilian came out and dominated the final round, once again controlling Carmont from back mount for an extended period of time.
Grinding out a decision against an underrated and dangerous fighter like Carmont is the type of performance that shows Souza is deserving of his Top 5 ranking. Every so often, you need to see a fighter go through a little adversity in order to confirm their place on the list of contender. Souza did that on Saturday night, and he’ll be better for it going forward.
Electricity from Erick Silva
Let’s get one thing clear right up front: Takenori Sato was completely overmatched, and it was obviously long before the fighters stepped into the Octagon.
That being said, Erick Silva did exactly what a fighter in his position is supposed to do in those situations, blasting Sato with a right kick to the body that evidently broke one of the Japanese fighter’s ribs before finishing him in a frenetic combination of inventive heel kicks and powerful right hands.
This was the type of performance that had many predicting big things for the native of Vila Vehla, Brazil. Lightning quick and blessed with rare creativity and offensive capabilities, Silva hurt Sato with the first strike he landed and had the Kazushi Sakuraba student looking for a way out almost right away.
Now the key is for Silva to build off this performance and maintain his momentum. He’s alternated wins and loses throughout his UFC career and has struggled when faced with a Top 20 opponent in the past, but it’s clear that the 29-year-old needs to be fighting better competition than the likes of Sato.
If he can harness that explosive offense without leaving himself open to counters, Silva could still live up to the lofty expectations that initially accompanied him to the UFC. Regardless, Saturday night’s performance showed once again that Silva is one of the most consistently entertaining and must-see fighters in the welterweight division.
Midway through the first round of his fight with Nico Musoke, Viscardi Andrade landed a heavy overhand right, felling the Swedish fighter in the center of the Octagon. Andrade immediately threw his hands up in the air in celebration.
The only problem was that the fight wasn’t over.
By the time he followed Musoke to the ground, Andrade had missed his opportunity to finish, and while he won the round, it was the only frame the massive Brazilian welterweight earned on the scorecards.
In the second and third frame, Musoke dictated the action, using clean, crisp striking to pepper Andrade, who started showing signs of fatigue as the first round came to a close. As the Brazilian hunted for that one big shot that would end the fight, Musoke piled up the points, outstriking Andrade 41-23 and 22-10 in the final two frames, landing a combined 31 significant strikes to Andrade’s four over the last 10 minutes of the contest.
Now 2-0 in the UFC and riding an eight-fight unbeaten streak overall, the Allstars Training Center representative is quietly becoming someone to keep an eye on in the welterweight ranks.
“Do Bronx” Does Work
Much like Erick Silva, Charles Oliveira entered Saturday’s event in dire need of a win. Once a highly touted prospect in the lightweight division, the 24-year-old Brazilian had dropped consecutive contests to level his record at 2-2 since moving to the featherweight division.
And just like Silva, the energetic Oliveira got the victory he needed and impressed in the process.
While Ogle showed the kind of moxie that leads you to believe he’ll be a force in the future, this was almost all Oliveira, as “do Bronx” spent the majority of the first round locked on the Brit’s back searching for a rear naked choke. In the second, Oliveira started by hunting for a D’arce choke, and in the third, the submission attempts kept coming.
After escaping a guillotine attempt, Ogle ended up on top, looking to land with ground-and-pound, but he didn’t get a chance to let fly, as Oliveira quickly scooted his hips to the side and latched on a deep triangle choke, forcing Ogle to tap. Instead of attacking from head on, Oliveira hit the finish from an angle, much like former UFC lightweight Paul Sass liked to complete his signature move, “The Sassangle.”
Oliveira is still young enough to make a run up the featherweight ladder, but the UFC needs to take their time with the exciting Brazilian. This was a quality “get right” performance, but there is no reason to rush him into another dangerous matchup with a Top 10 opponent. The upper tier is loaded with talent, so give Oliveira time and perhaps he’ll reach his potential and become a contender down the road when some of the current crop starts to fade.