not really, if that was the case Chuck would've beat Jardine. And the loud noise you refer to isn't smoke and mirrors man, there is a reason a leg kick from Shogun is louder than a karate jab, because it is hitting 3 times harder. Also, a lot of Machida's so called counter punches didn't land that flush, just like his knees, from certain angles they looked good, but in the replay not one knee landed to Rua's face or head, most missed and the others hit him in the body. None of the knees landed like the one against tito though except in the openeing minutes of the first round. Now when Shogun did that jump kick to the body, that was a good coutner by Machida and it knocked Rua off balance, but what really did more damage, it was aparent the body and leg work was adding up and Machida slowed at the end of the fight, i bet he can hardly move today, i'd put a lot of money on it
I'm gonna have to agree with you here. Those counters weren't landing very well, and on top of that, they weren't doing any damage. Lyoto was visibly affected and impeded by the damage he took from the body and leg kicks. The same cannot be said about Shogun.