Jon “Bones” Jones vs. Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida

Jon “Bones” Jones vs. Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida

Fight night’s coming up y’all. That of course, means that I’m increasingly itching with intense excitement at the thought of the main event for UFC 140. I’m especially psyched because this is an interesting matchup stylistically. Let me break it down for you.

 

 

 

[amazon_link id="B0064SC2QM" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Jon Jones:[/amazon_link]

Thus far this kid has been unstoppable. He ran through Pride legends, and former UFC champions Rampage Jackson and Shogun Rua, like he was taking their lunch money. He’s never been in even a spot of trouble during a big matchup. His only professional loss comes from a disqualification. He was dropping some elbows that, get this, were TOO VIOLENT for the UFC. Who was he unmercifully crushing with these devastating blows? Matt Hamill.

For those of you unaware of Matt Hamill’s existence, he’s a three time NCAA D2 wrestling champ, former contender for the light heavyweigh title,  and a deaf guy. Really, very inspiring, and a lot of fun to watch.

While we’re on the subject, I just can’t help but recall an incident involving Hamill that is perhaps in bad taste, but still pretty funny. I was at the local drinking hole watching his undercard bout with another light heavyweight great: Tito Ortiz. Being the fun-loving care-free individual that I am, I had shared a few beer towers with some friends, and as a result, found myself in a boisterous and nearly belligerent state. So naturally, I was yelling at the top of my lungs in reaction to every significant action by either fighter. What can I say? I’m a fan of both fighting and yelling, why not combine the two?

Anyway, In a very competitive fight, the two were going at it right until the buzzer sounded, signalling the end of round 1. Ortiz immediately drops his hands and begins retreating to his corner. Hamill however, innocently unaware of what a buzzer sounds like, saw an opportunity and blasted Tito in the face. The entire bar simultaneously breaks out in an uproar, pauses to realize that Hamill is deaf, and lets out a collective, “Ooohhh…”

But I’m digressing, the point is Jones is so aggressive that he ruthlessly batters disabled people with the sharpest part of his body, and only feels remorse for not being allowed to continue doing it for another ten minutes.

Before you judge Jones too harshly, as he often is, for being a young, brash, cocky, and arrogant champion, I would like to point out that he’s a superhero. No kidding. The day he beat Shogun for the title, he also foiled a robbery.  He was at a local park  in Patterson, New Jersey. I guess it was a seedy part of town. Jones claims he was there to meditate (I think it’s more likely he was searching for skulls to bust– warm-up style.) Suddenly, he and his coaches hear a chilling cry for help. They rush to the source of the scream, and find a woman yelling hysterically that a man has broken her car window and stolen some personal effects.

The following is a slight dramatization of the events directly proceeding.

Jones quickly chanted an ancient Aztec magic spell that gave him the eyes of a hawk , the speed of a hart, and the ferocity of a jaguar. He spots the criminal with his enhanced vision, and gracefully bounds away in pursuit. Making up the 44 block head start the thug had on him in a mere 7 seconds,  Jones unleashed a leg-snapping Thai kick that immediately flipped the no good ne’er-do-well a full vertical 540 degrees, noisily smashing him into the concrete. Then, summoning the strength of an Anaconda, Jones wrapped his 35-foot-long arms and legs around his prey and commenced squeezing the life out of him. His coaches and trusted confidants caught up with them just in time to convince Jones to spare the broken man’s life. Passionately pleading with him, they cried, “Not like this Jon! You’ll be no better than he is!” Jones put his warrior’s blood lust aside, and realized the merit of their words. “Thanks guys, I almost let my rage control me. If you hadn’t of been here, I don’t know what would have happened.” Lovingly patting him on the shoulder, Greg Jackson quietly assured him, “You would have done the right thing Jon. I know it.” Jones smiled, and responded with genuine warmth, “Thanks for always believing in me Greg!”

They waited for the police to come and all had ice cream sundaes afterwards. Oh yeah, then he beat the ever-living shit out of Shogun for the light heavyweight title that night . If for some reason you aren’t satisfied with my stirring rendition of the tale, you can get the actual story by clicking here. I’ll warn you though, it’s not near as good as the way I told it.

Back to the point. Jones is a destroyer. No one has legitimately beat him, no one’s even been close. He has a wild unorthodox stand-up game that incorporates a wide range of strikes including elbows, knees, and speedily destructive punches and kicks. His 84 and 1/2 inch reach makes it nearly impossible to get inside on him, and pretty much ensures his opponents take damage long before he will. If they do manage to get inside, as no one has yet been able to do, they have to deal with a scary amount of grappling experience, both from the clinch and the ground. His take-down defense is impeccable, and his submission skills are dangerous as well. The guy really is the total package. He’s the first of a new breed of fighters basically bred for this level of competition. The youngest champ in UFC history has so many tools in his arsenal that it’s a tough sell for any opponent to claim any sort of advantage.

And that’s exactly what Lyoto Machida implies.

 

[amazon_link id="B0037U5P9G" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Lyoto  Machida:[/amazon_link]

Another Former champion, (seems like the light heavyweight belt gets passed around more than a joint at Joe Rogan’s after party) The Dragon is the son of a Japanese master of Shotokan Karate, and a very accomplished jujitsu practitioner. Machida holds impressive wins over former champs: Rashad Evans, Shogun Rua, Randy Couture, and Tito Ortiz. Lyoto can sometimes be boring to watch because of his unique style. He has an almost Anderson Silva-like ability to see strikes and avoid them. His characteristic elusive movement makes him a frustrating and dangerous opponent for anyone, even Jon Jones. Machida is very well rounded and has the ability to finish fights no matter where they take place.

Machida has stated that he will be able to control the distance and is planning to put Jones on his back. These are bold statements. While Machida may be able to control the distance, at least for a round or two, I have to call BS on taking down Jones. No offence to the Dragon’s grappling skills, which are nothing to scoff at, but messing with Jones takedown defense is a fool’s errand for a jujitsu guy. Hell, it’s a long shot for an accomplished wrestler. Just ask Ryan Bader. Machida brings a lot to the table in this fight, but at the end of the day, his track record is neither as impressive nor as pronounced as Jon’s.

I’m a big fan of the underdog, but I really don’t see a path to victory for Machida. The only thing I can really think for him to do is characteristically avoid the dragon-slaying strikes Bones will throw, and rely heavily on kicks to make up the reach. But to do this, he’ll have to be ridiculously slick. And while Machida is pretty slick, I’m saying he needs to be “oil in an ice storm”‘ slick.  Like Travolta’s hair in Grease. I got excited when I heard that Machida had Anderson Silva helping him train for this fight, thinking he actually has the level of ability to proficiently avoid Jones’ strikes, but it turned out that he was live via satellite for the duration of the interaction. The guy actually brought in was Anderson Braddock Silva, another accomplished fighter, but let’s be honest. He ain’t got shit on the Spider.

Of course, Machida always has his secret weapon of drinking his own urine. What? I didn’t mention that? Yeah, Machida is a practitioner and proponent of urine therapy. Apparently, when you slug down some secretions it acts as a natural vaccine, preparing your body for the pollutants it takes in from eating  slightly less wholesome things. It also acts as a flushing agent, clearing your system of additional waste. He learned this practice from his father, who states that it was commonplace in Japan during WWII because of a lack of modern medicine. If you’ve got a strong stomach, I highly recomend watching this video on the subject.

Hey, you know what else can flush out your system and boost immunity? Cranberry juice. Just saying.

I’d like to say more on Machida’s behalf, but for the life of me, I can’t imagine him winning this fight. I’d love to be surprised, because the Dragon is an entertaining fighter, and one of the few who is able to effectively utilize a traditional martial art in MMA. As for Jones, he’s heavily favored, coming to the match with a 5 win streak, and a dominating title defense against a really tough opponent. He’s got the momentum, and the skills to back up any trash he cares to talk. This fight is a big one for him, because it solidifies his status as a lasting and dominant champion in a division known to turn over title-holders every six months.

Though Lyoto does present Jones with a fight that’s difficult to prepare for, and a problem stylistically, I don’t believe it will be an insurmountable hurtle for the young champ. Jones just has too much going for him, and Machida doesn’t have the skill set to counter the savagery he’ll be up against. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t allow the following: when it comes to fighting, nothing is carved in stone. Anyone can be defeated on any given day, and I love a good David and Goliath match. So head to the bar, or order at home, because this is going to be an explosive match that no true fight fan will want to miss.

Update:

It’s all over! With, as I predicted, Jon Jones pulling out a dominating stoppage in the second round. After taking a few lumps, and in my opinion losing the first round, Jones came roaring back with some stifling stand up, cringe worthy cage control, and a discreet but deadly standing guillotine submission to put Lyoto out on his feet. After dropping the Dragon like a sack of potatoes, “Bones” Jones has completely solidified his solid gold status as the best light heavyweight on the planet. Now it’s just a question of who’s next?