After a frenetic month that saw the UFC’s debut on FOX, a return to the UK for an event, and a steady pace of events on a weekly basis, the UFC is taking a few weeks off before returning to Toronto, Canada for UFC 140 ‘Jones vs Machida’. The main event for the Lightheavyweight Title between Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida might be a good spot to find value in the underdog simply because the Jon Jones bandwagon is at this point getting pretty bloated, and it is just at times like these that MMA surprises. Let’s look at this.
Lightweight titlist Jon Jones has been untouchable in his career, and his transition to top competition didn’t slow his rise down at all. But he is no longer an unknown quantity, and with stardom comes a lot of attention. He has been remarkably grounded and focused to this point, but let’s see if his ego is affected.
Machida’s star is down a little bit after back to back losses in 2010 (to Quinton Jackson and Mauricio Rua) but is still one of the most skilled and unorthodox fighters in the weight class. When he was at his peak and undefeated, people were talking about the Machida era, similar to the talk surrounding Jones now.
The number one thing that has to happen for Machida to win is he must hurt Jones early. That is the one question that Jones must answer, how does he react to getting hurt? With his background in other martial arts, Machida has footwork that makes opponents seem awkward, so we will see if his defense keeps him safe as he tries to get thru and touch Jones up.
I also count on Machida to come in with a very solid gameplan tailored specifically for Jones. Sure, Jones has Greg Jasckson to game plan with, but Machida’s team is solid and can maybe negate some of the strategy advantages Jones may normally enjoy.
As I’ve said before, I think this is a more competitive match for Jones than Rashad Evans would represent. Yes, Evans is an explosive athlete but I think his height is a real negative matching up with Jones, and that is something that Machida negates to a certain extent. Right now Jones is minus 450 (-450) at the sportsbooks, and that is likely to go up as the fight gets closer.
With three weeks off, it is likely that UFC executives Dana White and Joe Silva may work from home one of these days. And I notice that Dennis Hallman is on the UFC 140 card. Hmmm……