UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida goes down this Saturday from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario and will feature a light heavyweight championship bout between current top-dog Jon Jones and former champ Lyoto Machida.
Supporting the main event will be two high-profile contests between heavyweight veterans Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and another battle of veterans between Tito Ortiz and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Also, don’t forget to check back at FightLine.com Saturday afternoon for our live, ongoing coverage of UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida.
Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida
In the main event of tomorrow night’s UFC 140 fight card, light heavyweight wunderkind Jonny “Bones” Jones will look to knock off another savvy veteran to further establish himself as one of the world’s very best. His opponent, Brazilian karateka Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, emerges from the jungles of Belem to attempt to reclaim the championship he once held.
At just 24-years-old, it’s made all the more amazing that Jonny Bones seems to be able to just about do it all and do it well. While he may not be the best wrestler/striker/grappler in the gym, he blends those aspects of fighting together masterfully and in a way that belies his relative inexperience in pro MMA. His creativity and open-mindedness couple with patience and potent finishing instincts to make Jones a threat in every area. He’s a true prodigy and hasn’t met a man his better yet, though he’s faced some of the toughest in the sport.
Lyoto Machida is the embodiment of the martial arts ethos: a disciplined, humble, soft-spoken and hard-working fighter who competes with clarity of mind and singularity of purpose. His father a karate master, Machida has been steeped in his family’s specific style since his childhood, an aspect of his game that often throws off his opponents and makes room for him to attack, which he does to great effect. Machida, too, has proven to be dangerous from every area, with great technical competency as an all-around mixed martial artist.
Mark: I picked Rampage Jackson over Jon Jones in Bones’ last title defense, predicting that Jackson’s power and experience would test the young champ in a way he hadn’t been yet. I was wrong. Very wrong. Jones is the real deal and, though Machida is truly world-class, I see him taking this fight without too much trouble. Jones via third-round TKO
Dana: The fighting style of Lyoto Machida is very difficult to figure out, but so isn’t the style of Jon Jones. Plus, Jones is riding such a high wave of momentum right now that it is going to take a devastating shot to knock him off it. Does “The Dragon” have another crane kick in him like the one unleashed on Randy Couture? I don’t see Jones falling victim to something like that. Instead, look for “Bones” to control Machida with his wrestling, much like he did against “Rampage” Jackson, before sinking in a submission late in the fight. Jon Jones
def. Lyoto Machida via third-round submission (choke)
Raj: I see Machida giving Jones a lot of problems with his elusive style. Machida’s counter-attacks can also make it difficult for the champ to unleash some of his creative offense. However, I do believe that Jones should be able to handle all of that and pick away at “The Dragon” before finishing the fight in the third. Jones via third-round TKO
Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Two former UFC heavyweight champions (interim in Big Nog’s case) will meet in the night’s co-main event in a rematch of their lopsided UFC 92 meeting, that saw Mir knock out a supposedly ailing Big Nog for the first time and in short order.
Climbing his way back up the ranks following a knockout loss to Shane Carwin, Frank Mir continues to show that he’s one of the most cerebral and technical fighters in the game. His grappling has always been lethal, but he’s added powerful and precise striking on top of that to make himself an all-around threat with the weight to throw around with the division’s largest men.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira made an inspiring comeback over the summer by returning from dramatic losses, major surgery and a long layoff to knockout rising young fighter Brendan Schaub in front of a massive hometown crowd in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nogueira is known primarily for his vaunted submission skills and his ability to withstand punishment, but the larger of the fighting Nogueira brothers also claims solid hands and proven knockout power.
Mark: Though I believe that Big Nog was not at his best in their first meeting, I don’t see their second turning out much different. It’s hard to say for sure, since Big Nog is still recovering from his injuries and may very well look like a different fighter than the one who beat Schaub in August, but I think that Mir is too calculated, technical and powerful for Nogueira to beat. Mir via second-round TKO
Dana: Neither of these fighters have had the kind of career run they expected after facing off a few years ago. Frank Mir looked ready to rule the heavyweight division, but losses to Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin dropped him down a peg or two. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira needed a stunning knockout of Brendan Schaub just to remain relevant in the UFC. Now, “Minotauro” gets his shot at revenge for the TKO loss suffered at the hands of Mir. Mir, whoever, has more power now than he did back than, so expect much of the same on this night. Mir via second-round TKO (punches)
Raj: Big Nog is coming off of a big win over Brendan Schaub this past summer. However, before Schaub got caught, Nog wasn’t looking too impressive. I think the years of epic battles and injuries have caught up to Minotauro, while Mir still appears to be improving. Mir via third-round TKO.
Tito Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Former UFC 205lbs. champ Tito Ortiz and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira will also meet on the card in another battle of veterans.
Now known as The People’s Champ, Tito Ortiz is one of the last holdouts from MMA’s pioneer days, having gotten his start in the UFC back in 1997. After going on a long losing stretch recently that had many writing him off completely, Ortiz bounced back and saved his career by astonishingly and ruthlessly taking out Ryan Bader at UFC 132. Ortiz is a savvy and well-rounded veteran, with mean ground and pound, solid wrestling chops and a continually underrated submission game.
Lil’ Nog has been around the sport for a long time, though hasn’t quite reached the legendary status of his twin brother, Rodrigo. That doesn’t mean that Lil’ Nog isn’t legit or a dangerous fight for anyone, because he is. His jiu jitsu is as sharp as his brother’s and his boxing, at least technically, may be better. Nogueira has had trouble with wrestlers controlling him so far in his UFC career, but is a seasoned and wily competitor that can’t be underestimated.
Mark: I think this one will be close and I don’t see either man having an easy time finishing the other. I think that Ortiz will be able to take Nogueira down and, while I don’t think he can submit him, I think he can do damage with ground and pound and maintain control to take a decision. Ortiz via unanimous decision
Dana: Tito Ortiz wants to finish his career in style, and that means taking out Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. “Lil’ Nog” hasn’t looked all that great since entering the UFC, and should be the perfect opponent for “The People’s Champ” to expose. Ortiz has better wrestling and more power in the stand-up department for Nogueira to handle. Ortiz via second-round TKO (ground and pound)
Raj: Ortiz has been talking a lot about retirement lately, so it will be interesting to see how focused he is on this fight. Since defeating Luiz Cane in his UFC debut, Rogério hasn’t looked too impressive. If Ortiz comes in focused, I see him being able to keep this fight on the ground and pick away at Lil’ Nog en route to a decision win. Ortiz via unanimous decision