Saturday, May 8, 2010 | 10:50 p.m.
The Lyoto Machida puzzle has been solved.
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua shocked the MMA world Saturday, knocking out the notoriously defensive Machida in the first round of their UFC light heavyweight title fight in Montreal, Canada.
The fight was a rematch of one of the more controversial fights of 2009, when Rua dropped a unanimous decision in Machida’s first title defense.
Rua, who believed he had done enough to win that fight, didn’t leave it to the judges this time.
“Instead of working on my kicks, I worked on my hands,” Rua said. “I was happy with my new strategy.”
Despite being known for his dominant and unorthodox standup game, it was Machida (16-1) who appeared to be less comfortable on his feet.
After getting rocked early by a right hook that wobbled his legs, Machida took Rua (19-4) down twice in the first round but wasn’t able to keep him there.
The end of the fight came at the 3:35 mark. Rua landed another right hook directly to Machida’s temple that dropped him. Rua followed him to the floor, gained full mount and finished it from there.
Seeing the UFC light heavyweight belt around Rua’s waist was a sight that many fans had prepared themselves for when he first joined the organization in 2007. A knee injury that forced him into surgery in 2008, however, had put that dream of his in doubt.
The 28-year-old fighter erased any concerns regarding his health and talent with the win. He’ll likely face the winner of the May 29 fight between Rashad Evans and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in his first title defense.
In the co-main event of UFC 113, top welterweight Josh Koscheck grinded out a win over British striker Paul Daley. The win solidified his spot as the No. 1 contender in the division and also earned him the right to coach opposite current champion Georges St. Pierre in the 12th season of "The Ultimate Fighter."
The former NCAA national champion wrestler took Daley (23-9-2) down at will through all three rounds, taking his back in each. He worked into the full mount in the final round but was unable to finish the fight. All three judges ended up scoring the bout 30-27.
Arguably the biggest shot Daley was able to land all night came moments after the final bell sounded.
Daley threw a cheap shot that connected under Koscheck’s chin as he was walking back to his corner after the conclusion of the fight. Referee Dan Miragliotta quickly stepped in and pulled Daley away.
When asked about the cheap shot afterwards, Koscheck (15-4) took the opportunity to poke at the Montreal crowd, claiming the Pittsburgh Penguins would bounce the Canadiens from the NHL playoffs.
“And then I’m going to beat St. Pierre, so you guys are going to lose twice,” Koscheck said. “How about that? That’s right Montreal.”
Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].