The “Machida Era” was extended in controversial fashion on Saturday, as light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida was awarded a questionable unanimous decision win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in the main event of UFC 104 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
In a decision that was met with boos from the live crowd and claims of robbery and calls for an immediate rematch from online fans, the judges awarded Machida the victory with 48-47 scores despite Rua winning the bout on nearly every observer’s scorecard.
Rua’s strategy relied on damaging leg and body kicks that left Machida battered after the five-round technical showdown, while Machida connected less frequently with precision strikes. Despite more frequent and damaging blows, the decision was given to the reigning champ, who was defending the title for the first time since winning the belt from Rashad Evans in May.
Machida remains undefeated, improving to 16-0 in the victory with his eight-straight wins inside the Octagon tied for second-best in the promotion’s history, while Rua falls to 18-4 in defeat.
In the UFC 104 co-headliner, Cain Velasquez cemented his status as a top heavyweight contender with a dominating win over Ben Rothwell. After blitzing the IFL veteran for the entirety of the opening round, Velasquez picked up where he left off in the second, taking Rothwell to the ground and quickly finishing him with punches.
Velasquez, now 8-0 on his career with five-straight UFC wins, remains in line for a future title show, while Rothwell falls to 30-7 and will return to the Octagon in search of his first UFC win to get him back on track.
In other main card action, Gleison Tibau used dominant takedowns to pick up a decision over Josh Neer, Joe Stevenson forced Spencer Fisher to tap to a barrage of elbows, and Antony Johnson earned a 41-second knockout of Yoshiyuki Yoshida.
On the preliminary card, The Ultimate Fighter 8 winner Ryan Bader earned a unanimous decision over Eric Schafer, Pat Barry kicked off the Spike TV card with an impressive second-round TKO of Antoni Hardonk, Chael Sonnen dominated Yushin Okami en route to a unanimous decision win, and Jorge Rivera, Kyle Kingsbury, and Stefan Struve also earned wins.
The official results for UFC 104 were:
- Lyoto Machida (c) def. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
- Cain Velasquez def. Ben Rothwell via TKO (strikes) — Round 2, 0:58
- Gleison Tibau def. Josh Neer via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Joe Stevenson def. Spencer Fisher via submission (strikes) — Round 2, 4:03
- Anthony Johnson def. Yoshiyuki Yoshida via TKO (strikes) — Round 1, 0:41
- Ryan Bader def. Eric Schafer via unanimous decison (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Patrick Barry def. Antoni Hardonk via TKO (strikes) — Round 2, 2:30
- Chael Sonnen def. Yushin Okami via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jorge Rivera def. Rob Kimmons via TKO (strikes) — Round 3, 1:53
- Kyle Kingsbury def. Razak Al-Hassan via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Stefan Struve def. Chase Gormley via submission (triangle choke) — Round 1, 4:04
Pictured: Lyoto Machida