I'd just come back from Sin City. And you know what they say? What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Unless you post it up on your website. I'd retired from teaching but retained a single student per his parent's request. I happily accepted. Our lessons are to end in a couple of weeks and, as part of his birthday, his parents generously treated him to go to UFC 98. His parents asked if I'd go with him. You'll find no resistance here. I actually can't say what we did for fear of arrest. We had a good time.
UFC puts on the best events. The preliminary fights were awesome. The main card was even better.
My student and I rooted for different people. But when it came to the light heavyweight title fight between champion Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida, we rooted for "The Dragon"--Lyoto.
Lyoto had been training in Karate since he was born. He's always dreamt of being champion. His father emmigrated from Japan, and being 5'6" tall, he changed karate to suit his height. A lot of Brazilian men tend to be closer to six feet. Lyoto has then trained in Machida Karate and has adapted it to the world of mixed martial arts. He's also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
When Lyoto first came on the UFC, he's been chided for being a boring fighter. He's naturally a counter striker, waiting for the opponent to make a move, and strike at the opening. He's done this since I've been watching him.
Then in his last fight he faced Thiago Silva, an aggressive striker who's also well rounded and undefeated. Both Lyoto and Thiago put up their undefeated records. Undefeated is very uncommon in MMA because there are so many ways to win. Thiago played right into Lyoto's hand, fighting aggressively, and The Dragon knocked him out.
When my student and I got off the plane, we ran into Rampage Jackson. Another UFC fighter. It was kind of surreal to bump into him. He was in line to fight Rashad for the title. But he suffered a broken jaw in his last fight. So next up was Lyoto.
When the fight finally arrive, we were excited. My palms were sweaty. I was nervous for Lyoto because Rashad has never been knocked out or defeated. And he's fought much bigger guys.
Once the fight started, both fighters circled the ring, feeling each other out. The crowd started booing because there was no action. I waited patiently. Then about 3-4 mintues in, after a few non-consequential exchanges, Lyoto kicked Rashad in the head, and knocked him back with a follow up punch.
Lyoto didn't follow through, didn't finish.
Round 2. A wild exchange between the two fighters sent Rashad against the cage. Lyoto jumped at the opportunity, threw several punches that not only landed, but knocked Rashad out. My student and I leaped off our chairs and yelled our heads off.
Lyoto is now the UFC light heavyweight champion. Through conviction, hard work, and not listening to his critics, Lyoto's dream came true. He then said in his interview, "If you have a dream...it's possible."
Do dreams come true. Most definitely.