UFC 98 saw arrogance humbled in both main-events this past Saturday night. Lyoto Machida put on a clinic defeating Rashad Evans for the UFC light heavyweight title. Matt Serra did the talking while Matt Hughes did the winning to end their grudge.
Lyoto Machida’s dominance over undefeated Rashad Evans is the top story coming out of UFC 98. Machida knocked out the champion at the 3:57 mark to win the title. It was evident early that Evans had no answer for Machida’s elusiveness. I have never seen an undefeated champion look as helpless as Evans did during the entire fight.
Unlike past fights, Evans left his arrogance at home. Even when being controlled in past fights, Evans would often taunt his opponents. Evans had the look of defeat in his eyes early into the fight. Machida would strike with such quickness, that Evans was on the defense from the first bell.
At one point in the first round it looked as if Evans was about to be knocked out. Machida pressed with such quickness that another a few seconds of offense would have garnered him the belt. Evans tried to hang on but was never able to match the speed. Machida hit Evans with a flurry in the second round that tumbled Evans like a slinky.
Joe Rogan proclaimed it the “Machida Era” following the fight. I can’t think of anyone in the division that can answer Machida’s quickness and skill. I can’t see any threats coming from other top light heavyweights like Forrest Griffin, Dan Henderson, Keith Jardine, or Evans. The only possible upsets I could see would come from skilled strikers like Quinton Jackson or Wanderlei Silva winning with a lucky punch in an exchange.
In the other main-event, Matt Hughes won a decision over Matt Serra. This one almost ended a few seconds into round 1. Serra caught Hughes early with a headbutt and subsequently connected on some punches. Hughes looked done but was able to recover by tying Serra up and gathering his own senses. The telling tale to me was Hughes asking his corner if he was knocked out. If you have to ask, than I think it’s safe to say he was.
Hughes dominated round 2 with a wrestling clinic. Hughes looked like vintage Matt Hughes taking down Serra, riding him out, and brutalizing Serra with ground and pound. Hughes continued to dominate the third round, until Serra turned the tides with a takedown. Serra was unable to finish Hughes off and Hughes may have been saved by the bell in this round.
Matt Serra is a joke. For someone did all of that trash talking for 18 months, he showed nothing. He barely pressed the fight and got lucky early with a headbutt. It was laughable when Serra claimed that this was a fight between legends. The bottom line is that Serra connected on a lucky punch against St. Pierre, but otherwise has a record of barely over .500 in UFC.
Overall I thought it was a great show. Sean Sherk was upset early by Frank Edgar. Sherk looked noticeably smaller than in past fights. Draw your own conclusions with that one. UFC returns with UFC 99: The Comeback on June 13 from Cologne, Germany. Wanderlei Silva, Rich Franklin, Mirko Cro Cop, Mike Swick, and Cheick Kongo all return for that one.