Charismatic manager to the stars Jorge “Joinha” Guimarães was one of the personalities drawing attention among the 55 thousand spectators in attendance at the Rogers Centre, where UFC 129 took place this Saturday in Canada. “Flight of the dragon” was how he described the kick Lyoto Machida launched to bring an end to his face-off with Randy Couture, who bid farewell to the fenced cage at 47 years of age. It happened to be the knockout of the night.
Behind the scenes at the show in Toronto Machida explained the move to GRACIEMAG.com’s editor, Marcelo Dunlop.
“My dad told me to do something different; he said my game was played out. We practiced the move and I managed to land it twice in training. I saw an opening and everything worked out,” said the former light heavyweight champion.
One of the concerns going into the bout was his opponent’s wrestling prowess, but training made all the difference.
“I didn’t even feel any pressure from him, since I didn’t let him get in range. I trained a lot of wrestling with Glover Teixeira, who’s a great guy, so I didn’t let him get a hold on me,” Machida said, without wanting to detract from Couture’s merits.
“Fighting him was a dream, an honor. He’s my hero, he’s the man,” he said moments before conversing with our team, while still in the octagon.
The fight is historic, as it very well could be the final appearance of one of the promotion’s all-time greatest stars – a former champion in two divisions (heavyweight and light heavyweight).
“You all won’t be seeing me again; it ends here. I put a lot of thought into this decisions and they offered me a fight with Lyoto, which really was something I wanted a lot,” said Couture, who plays down the wounds suffered in the setback:
“He’s a great fighter. I think I had all my teeth before this fight!”
“Couture is now in the hospital, but he’s fine. He thought it was a punch. I told him we’ll get him a better tooth in Vegas,” remarked UFC president Dana White at the press conference.
Now Couture should take to rest, which is what Lyoto has planned as well – albeit temporarily.
“I’m going to take a vacation in Natal. I went through 12 weeks of hard training,” he said in closing.