Eventually, Lyoto Machida's habit of playing it close to the vest was going to backfire. Saturday night turned out to be that night for the former UFC light heavyweight champion.
While Machida was rarely threatened over the course of 15 minutes, Phil Davis scored takedowns late in each of the first two rounds of their UFC 163 fight in Rio de Janeiro. And that was enough to sway the judges, if no one else at HSBC Arena, to give Davis the decision. Davis won with 29-28 scores across the board.
"The late takedowns definitely helped," said Davis (12-1, 1 NC). "That's always my strategy is to get takedowns, work all the time, it's just part of what I do."
Machida (19-4) got the better of Davis for the first four minutes of round one, utilizing his counter-striking game to keep Davis off-balance. Davis scored a late takedown and didn't do much with it. Davis had his best round in the second, avoiding Machida's counters and scoring another late takedown. In the third, Machida regained his focus, expertly stuffing his takedown attempts and effectively counter-striking.
"I really don't know what the UFC rules are, I really don't know what they are judging," Machida said. "Just listen to the crowd, they're telling you what happened."
Machida had a two-fight win streak snapped, while Davis won his third consecutive bout.