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Posted on December 9, 2011 by John Petit

Breaking Down UFC 140 Main Event: Jones Vs Machida
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Jon Jones (Champion)

89% Fights Won
52% Striking Accuracy
65% Takedown Accuracy

Style:
STRIKING 36%
TAKEDOWNS 42%
SUBMISSIONS 22%

Odds: -445
Reach: 84.5
Record: 14-1
UFC Record: 8-1
Last 5: 5-0
Streak: +5
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Lyoto Machida (challenger)

89% Fights Won
58% Striking Accuracy
67% Takedown Accuracy

Style:
STRIKING 42%
TAKE DOWNS 35%
SUBMISSIONS 23%

Odds: +350
Reach: 74 in
Record: 17-2
UFC Record: 9-2
Last 5: 3-2
Streak: +1

When Lyoto Machida first came on the scene in the UFC the overlying opinion was that he was a boring a fighter. He had a very defensive posture, he wasn’t willing to take many risks to gain rewards, and was able to confuse most fighters with his odd angles and strange combinations. No one had really taken the elements of Karate that worked and applied them effectively in mixed martial arts. When Machida faced Thiago Silva at UFC 94, his career and his fighting style took a turn for the better. The win over Thiago got him a title shot at Rashad Evans, whom he also knocked out, and the momentum even prompted UFC announcer Joe Rogan to call it the “Machida Era.”  The point to this brief history lesson is that he needs to find a healthy balance between the two styles in order to beat a fighter like Jon Jones.

Jones took a vastly different journey. Coincidentally also at UFC 94, Jon Jones fought Stephan Bonnar, and defeated him via decision. This was the last time Jones has been to a decision, and has since finished Jake Obrien, Brandon Vera, Vladamir Matyushenko, Ryan Bader, Mauricio Shogun Rua and Quinton Jackson. He was handed a disqualification loss by Matt Hammil, but all you need to do is see that fight to know that Jones has a L on his record but he didn’t lose that fight. You could hardly call any point in Jones’ career boring. His long reach, his athleticism and his greco roman-wrestling all make him a tough nut to crack. No one has been able to do it to date.

Jones is a confident fighter, and so more then likely we will see a long feeling out process by both fighters. If Jones feels he can out-strike Lyoto he may just keep it on the feet, but more then likely Jones will want to close the distance and put Machida’s back up against the fence. With his size advantage, Jones will be able to punish him with knees, lean on him to tire him out, or take him down with a trip. If Jones gets a dominant position on the ground, even half guard, that could be disastrous for Machida. With his reach, Jones can sit in half guard and generate plenty of power with his elbows and punches to finish him off (much like the way Shogun finished Machida.)

Machida needs to be very technical in this fight, and he needs to pick his openings VERY carefully. Jones is the type of guy who isn’t afraid of taking risks or being “creative”(ie spinning back elbows) in the cage so he needs to be on point at all time. Jones is able to uncork something fierce at almost any moment of any fight, and that’s just one of the things that makes him so dangerous. Machida will need to adjust as the fight goes on, we saw what happened to Shogun when he played around at the end of Jones’ punches, and so the best bet for Machida is to change it up. He needs to work his feints, and whatever he does, he needs to keep his back off the cage. Jones’ wrestling is expert against the fence, and he knows how to light your legs up with knees and out of no where take you down. If he doesn’t take you down, he will lean on you and pepper you with knees, and if Machida creates some distance he will label him with an elbow.

This is Jon Jones’ fight to lose, and although Machida posses the skills to dethrone Jones, I don’t see it happening on Saturday in Toronto. I think Jones will be able to get Machida up against the fence, and put him on his back. I think Jones will be able to stack Machida up against the cage, and land punches until Big John McCarthy pulls him off (I don’t know for sure McCarthy is reffing that fight, but he will be there and usually gets the high profile matches.) In order for Machida to win this fight, everything will need to go his way, and so far we haven’t seen Jones make many mistakes. This is MMA so anything could happen, but I think the smart money is on Jones in this one.

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