Entering his rematch with Shogun Rua after the much-stewed about controversial decision of their previous fight in October, Lyoto Machida knew he had to make an adjustment to avoid losing part deux.
Problem is, the adjustment meant not being Lyoto Machida.
On Saturday night, Rua (19-4) claimed what many thought was rightfully his and it was largely a result of what happened in the previous five rounds the two Brazilian light heavyweights fought at UFC 104 in Los Angeles.
That night Rua utilized a stellar gameplan which involved a heavy dose of Mauy-Thai leg kicks to counter the "Machida Karate" style. Because Machida is a fighter that utilizes extremely good footwork to stay on the outside of his opponent and then like a fencer, dart in with an attack and out before being hit by his opponent, it means that his kryptonite is leg kicks.
Leg kicks -- especially from a mauy-thai artist like Rua -- keep a fighter at bay as well as soften up their legs (and body if it's being attacked as well) which takes away a fighter's ability to move in and out and saps their striking power.
But when Machida adjusted his approach for part deux by trying to be more aggressive in order to win the battle of the "medium distance" as he said in the 'Countdown' show, it didn't mean he wouldn't be susceptible to leg kicks, it meant he wouldn't be Lyoto Machida.
"In my first fight with Machida, I tried to exploit the kicks a lot, and I noticed that every time he tried to attack ... he was attacking, but not with his hands in the proper place -- with his face exposed," Rua said during the postfight show. "That's why I worked this time, not only on the kicks, but also on high overhand rights."
As Machida became more aggressive, he abandoned his counter-punching style and became vulnerable to a larger array of strikes. Against a dynamic striker like Rua, that isn't a good thing. Rua quickly took advantage of the newfound holes in Machida's game.
The overhand right connected to the side of Machida's temple with 1:30 left in the first round, sending him to the canvas and Rua immediately seized the opportunity to finish the champion and secure the light heavyweight crown he has been working hard for since he began fighting as a young kid in Brazil.
Rua, 27, became the sixth UFC 205 lb champion since 2007 when Chuck Liddell entered the year as the division's king.
In other action on the main card of UFC 113 which went down in front of a raucous crowd in Montreal, Josh Koscheck went back to his roots to grind out a win over fellow welterweight Paul Daley.
With the win, Koscheck will now slides into a role as coach on the upcoming season of 'The Ultimate Fighter' alongside division champion Georges St.-Pierre whom he will fight at the end of the year.
Koscheck played a conservative wrestling game to stifle the one-dimensional Brit, Daley, who outside of his powerful striking, can't do much. It spoke of how far Koscheck has come since entering the UFC through TUF back in 2004. The AKA product has been a brash, inconsistent fighter who sometimes felt he could strike with the best and left his greatest asset -- his wrestling -- back in the locker room.
Also earning a "smart" victory was Alan Belcher as he took the Montreal native, Patrick Cote to the ground in the second round and submitted him with a rear-naked choke. Belcher won his second fight in a row and continued his climb up the middleweight ladder.
Matt Mitrione, meanwhile, stymied an early Kimbo Slice onslaught to wear down the bearded one with brutal leg kicks that seemed to sap the very life out of Slice. Mitrione emerged victorious via TKO in the second round.
And it continued to be a sour night for Canadians on their home soil as lightweight Sam Stout fell via split decision to Jeremy Stephens. It was a close fight, as both fighters stood toe-to-toe slugging away at each other, but in the end Stephens' power seemed to be the difference. Stout, though, earned his fourth consecutive 'Fight of the Night' bonus.
The other bonuses went to Rua for 'Knockout of the Night' and Belcher for 'Submission of the Night'.
In the end, though, it was all about Rua who became the first to defeat Machida (16-1) and he did so in spectacular fashion. While his next challenger remains up in the air, all eyes will be on UFC 114 in three weeks as Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Rashad Evans go at it possibly to determine the new No. 1 contender.