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MMA Fastball: Lyoto Machida opens some eyes

Lyoto Machida opens some eyes: Over a decade and a half ago, Royce Gracie showed the world that fighting disciplines that didn't teach ground fighting were incomplete. Interestingly, many of us then decided that the majority of stand up backgrounds that early UFC competitors came from were completely useless.

Lyoto Machida is showing us all that incomplete does not mean useless.

Machida, a Shotokan karate master, fights differently than most MMA fighters on his feet in that he isn't just a Muay Thai practitioner. His karate stance is different; he's hard to hit; and his strikes are quite sudden. As he once again displayed against Thiago Silva, his striking is also quite effective.

Lyoto Machida proves that some of those traditional martial arts styles like Shotokan karate have some worth. They just can't stand alone in an MMA cage.

Georges St. Pierre is now one of the best ever: Some had already come to this conclusion. Others, like this writer, needed some more information and time. You see, to be one of the best ever you need some great wins (Matt Hughes and now BJ Penn both twice). You also need a long reign of dominance. Georges St. Pierre has pretty much come through in both of those arenas. The longer he continues to fight like this, the more people are going to begin to say these words around him.

Best ever. . .

Georges St. Pierre vs. Thiago Alves: Interesting to bring this up after calling St. Pierre one of the best ever, but his next fight will be highly interesting. Perhaps for the first time ever, he'll be fighting a man with similar athleticism and size. If Alves can stop St. Pierre's takedowns for any length of time, and that's a big if, this may end up being his hardest fight to date.

Goodbye to Helio Gracie: Helio Gracie, the father of nine children including Royce and Rickson, has passed on at the age of 95. Helio is truly one of the very few people that deserves the moniker, martial arts master. The impact he had on ground fighting, MMA, and martial arts in general is simply hard to match.

The whole world of martial arts has lost someone very special.

Can you say, split decision?: UFC 94 was a night of split decisions. All told, there were four. Anytime you have that many, you're going to have some disagreement from fighters and fans.

Fedor Emelianenko looks human: Many walked away from Emelianenko's victory over Andre Arlovski continuing to sing his praises. On one hand, he deserves it. On the other, he sure didn't look very adept on his feet in comparison to the former UFC Champion before coming up with a knockout punch. In fact, you have to wonder what might have happened if Arlovski hadn't attempted that flying knee.

Fedor is a survivor. He's one of the best MMA fighters of all-time. But for a few moments he looked very beatable, and that's the first time in recent memory anyone's been able to say that about him.

Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin was close enough for a rematch: That dream match up between Henderson and Franklin was one close fight. Close enough, in fact, that I wouldn't mind seeing a five round rematch.

The reaction to Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's victory: Did Rua look great at UFC 93 against Mark Coleman? No. He got tired, had difficulty stopping Coleman's takedowns, and didn't dominate the stand up as easily as one might've believed he would. But here's something that people seem to forget. The last time Fedor Emelianenko fought Coleman, even he had a lot of trouble stopping the takedowns. Coleman is a ridiculously strong world class wrestler. Rua was giving up a lot in that fight and was coming back from injury to boot.

Did his victory deserve a standing ovation? No. Did it deserve the reaction it got? Probably not. The jury is still out on Rua.

Marcus Davis vs. Chris Lytle: Having talked with Davis in the past, I know that he wanted to have fights that people would remember. Well, his UFC 93 victory over Chris Lytle was one of them. Both of these competitors deserve some props.

Demian Maia vs. Anderson Silva: Don't know when this fight is going to happen or even if it will. But this is the only fight right now that Anderson Silva could be involved in at middleweight that has me stoked.

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