Friday, December 9, 2011

UFC 140: Bloodsport II

Bricks may not hit back, but Jon Jones does.
There's a lot to like about UFC 140: Jones v Machida. The mixed martial artistry, the interesting skill match-up of these two unorthodox yet technically sound strikers, seeing if Jon Jones can being a reign at light heavyweight, seeing if the Nog brothers finally pull off the old WWF trick where one rolls under the ring and a fresh "twin" rolls out and wins the match...but for me, it's the Bloodsport comparisons.

"I like the haircut, Lyoto."
While Bloodsport set the bar for tournament fighting movies and pushed the "Based on a true story..." line to its limits, Lyoto Machida has always reminded me of the Jean-Claude Van Damme character Frank Dux. It starts as simple as a disciplined martial arts background. And not a background like most MMA fighters have, what separates Machida is that it seems like you always see him in a gi making karate type motions behind a backdrop of crashing waves, waterfalls, or standing on a floating training ground on the water. UFC publicity or not, this is the image I have. Very zen, very Dux.

Watching Machida fight his way to the light heavyweight belt, I would always make the references to Bloosport, and little things just started to build and build. That from this quiet, respectful individual, fury and violence can come forth and really damage people. Much like Dux's 95 mph kick (again probably false) there was an aura that was following Machida. He was the Rubik's cube of MMA.

Bahhhh-HHHHHHH!
Dux was an undersized and well groomed guy who entered the underworld of the Kumite, all while being chased by the FBI and getting friendly with a hot blonde reporter covering the event! But after some respectable showings, he was gaining steam and impressing the bed sheet wearing judges. I won't spoil it for you, but Dux's final battle is against Chong Li, the return champion and along with being the most muscular Asian ever, has a bit of a mean streak. Good vs. Evil battles, and morals and sports jackets and slacks with no belts win for all.

Ahhhh-HHHHH!



Continuing with Lyoto's Frank Dux-ness, he started exhibiting similar traits like his patented scream face (see above and to the left). A constant bewildered look, and while still maintaining his aura of invincibility, was never quite intimidating, but pulled out the fight in impressive fashion (split and shot to the nuts for Dux; sweep and punching Thiago Silva's face into the ground for Lyoto).





That's all well and good, and it brought me joy, but as I started to move on from my Bloodsport comparison, the more it kept reappearing. Before his title fight against Rashad Evans, there was mention about his father Yoshizo Machida. And wouldn't you know it, but Machida's dad looks like the goddamn master that trained Frank Dux in Bloodsport. I've always liked Machida as a fighter but this just took him to a whole new level of enjoyment most fight fans probably wouldn't care about.


Now as a conclusion, the obvious continuation would be for Machida to beat Bones and steal the night on Saturday in Canada. Machida is a heavy betting underdog, and no one expects him to win against he more formidable Jones. The fans will be chanting for Jones, not Machida, and we all know there will be a hot girl sitting ringside to watch.But there won't be any powder pill, there won't be any triple spinning jump kicks (at least not from Machida),and this time the Chong Li character will win. Only do so respectfully and not by killing a couple guys in the ring and breaking Machida's best friend's leg.

A loss Saturday will probably put a cap on the 33-year-old Machida's shot at winning the title again, but I hope he continues to fight for a bit more. After two poor showings against Shogun Rua, the retirement word was being passed around, but for someone like Machida who has absorbed little damage in his fight career, I hope he exhibits that fighting spirit. Splits on the top of buildings are not necessary.

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