- Brian Knapp
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This time, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua made sure the judges were not involved.
Rua knocked out the previously unbeaten Lyoto Machida 3 minutes, 35 seconds into the first round to capture the light heavyweight championship at UFC 113 "Machida vs. Shogun 2" on Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal. At 28, Rua again sits atop the 205-pound heap.
For many, it will be remembered as a night when justice was served. Machida took a controversial unanimous decision from Rua at UFC 104 in October. Shogun, who battered the Shotokan karate savant with kicks to the leg and body the first time the two met, waited seven months for his shot at redemption, and he made the most of it.
Rua ate some knees to the body and succumbed to two takedowns early in Round 1. However, the 2005 Pride Fighting Championships middleweight grand prix winner dropped Machida with a right hand to the side of the head in a close-quarters stand-up exchange, followed him to the ground and moved immediately to mount on the dazed defending champion. A series of unanswered punches from the top left Machida limp, as Rua rose victoriously from his fallen foe, his arms raised skyward.
Koscheck outpoints Daley, clinches title shot
In a showdown between world-ranked welterweights, Josh Koscheck cruised to a unanimous decision against Paul Daley in the co-headliner, which was marred by a postfight cheap shot from the disgruntled loser.
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Koscheck, who will coach opposite UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre on Season 12 of "The Ultimate Fighter" and then challenge him for the belt later this year.
Koscheck neutralized Daley's feared strikes, scored with takedowns in all three rounds and nearly submitted the Team Rough House thoroughbred with a rear-naked choke in the opening period. Daley reversed into top position and unleashed an illegal knee as he backed out. The blow grazed the top of Koscheck's head and brought the match to a standstill, though the American Kickboxing Academy standout appeared to exaggerate the damage the knee caused.
One of the sport's most decorated amateur wrestlers, Koscheck punctuated the win with a strong third round, as he scored with a takedown and moved into full mount with 2 minutes, 11 seconds left. He finished in top position, ignoring Daley's taunts. After the horn sounded, Daley approached Koscheck from behind and blindsided him with a left hook to the face. Referee Dan Miragliotta quickly intervened and prevented the situation from escalating.
Stephens outduels Stout in shootout
Two of the three judges sided with Stephens by 30-27 and 29-28 counts; a third scored it 29-28 for Stout.
Stephens knocked down the durable Canadian with a straight right hand 2 minutes, 8 seconds into the first round and delivered a knee to Stout's face as he stood and backed away. Stout seemed to turn the tide in Round 2 as he attacked his opponent with leg kicks and left hooks to the body. Stephens answered with wild, winging punches, some of which landed, some of which split the Montreal air.
Stout nearly finished it in the third, when he doubled over Stephens with a body shot, swarmed the wounded Iowan and attacked with elbows on the ground. Stephens -- who earlier in the period scored with jabs and knees from the clinch -- answered with a takedown in the final 15 seconds.
"I just felt I was more powerful," Stephens said. "He has great combinations, mixes it up. That body shot really hurt me, but I'm a warrior, man."
Mitrione dominates Slice
Matt Mitrione battered reformed street-fighter Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson with a steady diet of leg kicks before forcing a second-round stoppage from the mount. Slice met his demise 4 minutes, 24 seconds into Round 2, as he tasted defeat for the second time in his polarizing professional mixed martial arts career.
The 36-year-old Slice delivered a pair of takedowns in the first round but failed to capitalize on them. The Bahamian-born brawler found himself outgunned standing, where Mitrione landed the cleaner shots and smiled at Slice as he did so. Ultimately, the former NFL defensive lineman chopped down Slice with thudding kicks to the inside and outside of his lead leg; Mitrione's training under former world kickboxing champion Duke Roufus paid immediate dividends. He mounted a defenseless Slice midway through Round 2, threatened with a keylock, dropped punches from the top and forced the stoppage.
Mitrione paused to savor the moment afterward.
"Whatever the UFC tells me to do," he said, "I'm going to do."
Belcher submits Cote
Alan Belcher spoiled the long-awaited return of former middleweight title contender Patrick Cote, as he submitted the Canadian with a second-round rear-naked choke. The end came quickly and decisively 3 minutes, 25 seconds into Round 2.
Belcher survived a kimura attempt in the opening period and kept the former two-division TKO champion at bay with powerful kicks to the body and leg. Cote started to put combinations together in the second round and tagged his foe with a number of heavy shots. However, as Cote tried for a double-leg takedown against the cage, Belcher secured a body lock from the top, hoisted him in the air and dropped him on his face. Belcher then transitioned beautifully to his opponent's back, secured the hooks and cinched the fight-ending choke.
A victor in four of his last five fights, Belcher called for a shot at UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva following the submission.
"I'm happy that I finally starting fighting to my potential," he said. "I stopped coming in here, trying to goof off and just brawl with guys. I know if I take a step back and breathe, I can pick everybody apart."
Brian Knapp is a contributor to Sherdog.com.