Jon ‘Bones’ Jones is one of the busiest UFC Champs this year. This fight will mark his 4th fight in 2011 and it will be is second title defense. Standing across the cage from him is former champ, Lyoto Machida. I’m very excited for this fight as they have very contrasting styles.
Jones is very dangerous on his feet as he uses his long limbs to his advantage. What makes him more dangerous than other strikers is that Jones uses his knees and elbows just as much as his hands and feet. So anyone fighting Jones whether its in close quarters or at a distance they’re bound to be lit up. When it comes to the ground Jones has a solid wrestling background that’ll dictate the fight where ever he wants.
As for Machida he is so elusive. His past opponents often gets frustrated as they try to counter Machida’s strike and flight tactic. He can close the distance with speed and accuracy and bounce away from danger before his opponents can return fire and that makes Machida so dangerous and frustrating to his opponents. Plus, Machida’s karate style can confuse some fighters. Kicks and punches come from awkward angles that can surprise anyone.
Jon Jones has been on a tear. He captured the UFC title and easily defended it. A match up against Machida looks to be an easy win for the Champ, but Machida does have the tools to win. What Machida needs to do to win is that he needs to stick to his bread and butter. He needs continue to be elusive and to use his feints to force Jones to throw punches and kicks. That’s where it’s primetime for Machida to attack, it’s to counter attack. One of the disadvantage of having long limbs is that when you throw a punch or kick it takes just a little bit longer to reset leaving you open for just a split second.
Jon Jones beats Lyoto Machida
Frank Mir beats Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira beats Tito Ortiz
Brian Ebersole beats Claude Patrick
Mark Hominick beats Chan Sung Jung
Nick Lentz beats Mark Bocek
Krzysztof Soszynski beats Igor Pokrajac
Quinton Jackson vs Lyoto Machida
Rampage Jackson and Lyoto Machida are two fighters who’s style are completely opposites and it should make for a very interesting fight. Both fighters are coming off losses yet they’re still a threat to take the title in their division and win for them will easily put them back into contention.
Rampage’s raw strength and power that can end the fight at any point. And Shogun recently proved that as elusive as Machida is known for he can still be knocked out. Machida’s counter attack style has stifled and frustrated many opponents and Rampage will be another victim of that tactic. Like with his previous fights Rampage is either dominant for the entire fight or he finds himself struggling round by round. Machida’s hit and run tactic will no doubt frustrate Rampage, and as it goes further into the rounds Rampage will only be more gun shy and prone to make mistakes. It’ll be a competitive fight, but I see Machida getting the nod from the judges at the end of the night.
BJ Penn vs Matt Hughes
For these two, the score is tied with each fighter having a win over each other. This is a hard decision for me to choose who will win. Not because both fighters are equally experienced and they’ve had wins against each other, but that it’s difficult to know which “BJ Penn” will show up. Is it the relentless and merciless Hawaiian with World Class Brazilian Jujitsu that will step in the cage or will it be the shy island-boy whose unwilling to tap into his full potential? If it’s the former, then that BJ Penn is favored to win against almost any opponent. The latter? Not so much. Matt Hughes has a long career of smashing his opponent with his wrestling and ground and pound, but in his last two fights he has show he’s much more diversified. I’m sure his KO win over Almeida was a surprise to all MMA fans who have followed him. The question is how much improved is Matt Hughes compared to their last fight? Penn was easily winning the first two rounds of their last fight only to get stopped in the third due to either a rib injury or bad cardio (pick one). We know that skill-wise BJ Penn is as well-rounded as an MMA fighter can get. If Penn can tap into that potential of his he can end the fight before his cardio should start to matter. I’ve been a fan of Matt Hughes for the longest time, and as much as I like to believe that his last two fights have showed that he has improved I don’t think it’s enough to stop the Prodigy.
Lyoto Machida beats Quinton Jackson
BJ Penn beats Matt Hughes
Gerald Harris beats Maiquel Falcao
Phil Davis beats Tim Boetsch
Joe Lauzon beats George Sotiropoulos
Karo Parisyan beats Dennis Hallman
Edson Barboza beats Mike Lullo
Mark Munoz beats Aaron Simpson
Tyson Griffin beats Nik Lentz
Lyoto Machida defends his Lightheavy weight title for the first time. The guy facing him across the cage is Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Machida has earned his spot at the top of the division by beating every single person that was put in front of him. Shogun, coming off of an impressive knock out of Chuck Liddell, will be put to the test to see if Shogun of 2005 is back.
There’s no secret between how these two fight. Machida is very elusive with his movement but very accurate with this strikes. His Karate background gives his style a unique and unorthodox fight game. His style gets many of his opponents frustrated which leads to mistakes where Machida can capitalize. Shogun is very dynamic and mixes his punches and kicks throughout the fight and his ground game is just as dangerous. In this fight Shogun will have the odds against him. His aggressive style will play right into Machida’s game. The only way for Shogun to control the fight is to get the Champ to the ground and utilized some vicious ground and pound. Another option is to corner Machida or pin him against the cage and work some dirty boxing, but that’s easier said than done . Machida will do what he does best and that’s to out-striking his opponent while avoiding getting hit. This fight will be exciting and no matter what happens it’s a win-win for Brazil.
Another bout on this card that I’m excited about is the Cain Velasquez vs. Ben Rothwell. When comparing fight records of Rothwell’s Velasquez is a rookie making his mark. The big equalizer for Velasquez is that he has a solid wrestling background that brings along a fierce competitive attitude, great work ethic, excellent cardio, and ability to endure punishment. But I don’t thing it will be enough to edge out the 30+ fight experience of Ben Rothwell. Not only does he has 30 more fights than Cain he weighs at the end of the weight limit of the Heavyweight division. Size and experience matters. If Cain can take big Ben to the ground and control him he might have a chance. Expect to see Rothwell utilize the brawl and sprawl tactic to score points and keeping himself from being on his back. As much as I like Cain, Ben’s wealth of experience and size gives him big advantage that Cain won’t be able to overcome.
Lyoto Machida beats Maruicio Rua
Ben Rothwell beats Cain Velasquez
Spencer Fisher beats Joe Stevenson
Anthony Johnson beats Yoshiyuki Yoshida
Josh Neer beats Gleison Tibau
Ryan Bader beats Eric Schafer
Antoni Hardonk beats Pat Berry
Chael Sonnen beats Yushin Okami
Rob Kimmons beats Jorge Rivera
Razak Al-Hassan beats Kyle Kingsbury
Chase Gormley beats Stephan Struve