“Shogun” Rua is well past his unanimous decision defeat to UFC
light heavyweight champion Lyoto
Machida six months ago. Now he’s focusing on a new strategy to
implement in their awaited rematch at UFC 113 on May 8 at the Bell
Centre in Montreal.
Rua and Machida appeared on a conference call Tuesday discussing
the second match and how this next one will differ from their UFC
104 encounter. On that night, Machida was awarded the unanimous
decision over five, grueling rounds against Rua, who stacked his
offense with leg kicks. The discrepancy between the judges’
scorecards and those of others who watched the fight encouraged UFC
President Dana White to secure an immediate rematch.
“I don’t feel any pressure at all (to finish this next fight),”
said Rua through his manager Eduardo Alonso’s translation. “My goal
whenever I fight is to give my best performance. That’s the
pressure I put on myself and the only pressure I put on myself. I
don’t think about controversy or any thoughts on what happened,
because I think this can only hinder an athlete.”
Machida said after having six months to reflect on and review the
bout, he still felt that the decision was correct. Accordingly, he
said he wouldn’t veer too far from what he’d done the first
“My strategy is to come in and be prepared to take the fight
wherever it goes,” said Machida through his manager and translator
Ed Soares. “There’s not too much that’s going to change. I’ve
worked on certain areas of my game to improve, but for the most
part, I’m going to come in and apply my strategy.
Rua, who was lauded for his calculated attacks against Machida,
said he’s been planning and drilling alternative strategies but
doesn’t forget that he’s facing an unorthodox striker.
“Many people think that taking the fight to the ground and working
the ground with Machida would be a good way to win the fight, but
that’s a very hard thing to (do) because Lyoto is a very good
player on the ground and he’s trained a lot of sumo and wrestling,
so he has a very good base,” said Rua. “Sometimes it’s very hard to
get him down to the ground.
“When you prepare (for) a fight, you have to focus on the worst
situation you can go through in a fight,” he continued. “Fighting
Machida, the toughest situation you can find is fighting him
Machida, undefeated in 16 career fights, has not been an easy
opponent to crack. The 31-year-old Japanese-Brazilian fighter’s
striking, based on the teachings and technique of Shotokan karate,
presents itself at odd angles and has a counter-aggressive pacing
that confuses opponents. Rua, a 2005 Pride grand prix champion, has
been the only one to push Machida through five rounds, a recent
development that has actually given Machida some solace.
“I believe that one of the main things about a championship bout is
that you go five rounds, and we’ve trained that a lot,” he said.
“I’m always confident, but it does make me (more) confident that I
went in there and fought for five rounds.”
Another benefit of their extended first affair, said Machida, was
that it gave the fighters the opportunity to study each other.
“Being in there for 25 minutes, I’m sure that he noticed some
things about me and I noticed some things about him,” said Machida.
“That’s what the great thing about the rematch is, is that we’re
both a lot more familiar with each other than the first time we
• Asked if he might have underestimated Rua in their
first match, Machida stated that he never undersells an opponent:
“I never underestimated Shogun. I knew he was a tough fighter, and
as you can see, it was a very tough fight. I never underestimate
anybody and I didn’t underestimate Shogun. A fight’s a fight and
you never know what’s going to happen until you get up there and
• Rua on the scoring value allotted (or not allotted) for his
leg-kick attack in the first bout: “I think there should be some
better guidelines for scoring and a way to put weight in each kind
of striking and way of fighting.”
• When asked if he could someday become complacent with fighting,
Silva has been described of late, Machida answered: “I find it
very difficult for me to act that way in the ring. Everybody’s
different. I think Anderson has a little bit more of that style.
He’s a little more at ease in the ring. He likes to play around.
It’s just more of his style. I have a different style in fighting,
so I don’t think I’ll have that type of situation happen to
• Rua said one of his biggest mistakes upon entering the UFC was
not procuring himself a cage to train in right away: “When I fought
Coleman (at UFC 93 in January 2009), I was in good shape. I was
well trained, but some things were lacking. I didn’t really have a
good notion of space inside the Octagon because I’d never trained
in the cage before. That was the biggest difference that affected
my performance in the fight.” Rua said he now has an Octagon-size
cage in his Universidade da Luta gym in Curitiba, Brazil.