D ecember 10th will mark the second title defense for the youngest champion in UFC history. Jon Jones will face off against former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida in what will surely be an incredible matchup of styles. Two counter punchers with amazing agility and timing in a chess match that might be the biggest fight in their careers.
The question is though; How much of a threat will Machida pose against the amazing reach and athleticism of Jones?
My honest opinion, no. Machida is easily the owner of one of the most effective styles in all of mixed martial arts. Through all of the top level opponents he has fought he has only dropped two fights. One by KO after he was caught with a right hook, and one by questionable decision against Rampage Jackson at UFC 123.
Aside from that, the ‘Dragon’ is nothing short of spectacular. He has finished fights in glorious fashion in every known method. Whether it be the submission of Sokoudjou, the great first bout against Mauricio Rua, or his crane kick KO against Randy Couture, Machida has shown that he can do it all.
Against all of these men Machida has used his timing and speed perfectly, however, in terms of reach all of these men came in to these fights with a normal human beings reach. Jon Jones on the other hand is a freak athlete with the longest reach in MMA history. This will surely pose a problem for Machida.
Machida is easily the owner of one of the most effective styles in all of mixed martial arts.Of course, Jones knows Machida’s usual game plan and will surely use his speed to close the distance. I don’t see this being effective though as Jones will continue his strategy from the Rampage fight and use those unorthodox leg kicks to make Machida hesitant to come forward. Also, Jones can throw from a remarkably long distance which means that counter punching will probably fall short as Jones likes to duck out of the way after he throws.
Jones faced two incredible strikers in his previous two bouts and won the stand up game in both fights. Machida needs to know that striking should only be a means to make Jones aggressive. Hopefully if Machida purposely throws sloppy punches, he can Make Jones come to him, thus opening up a counter that needs less distance to cover before landing.
If the fight goes to the ground, Machida must stay active. I can’t emphasize that enough. Jones is to dangerous and powerful to let him take the top position and hold it. If Machida does try to get up, though, leaving through the back door is not the best idea. Jones is just as fast on the ground as he is standing and will use Machida’s movement to ideally wind up in the mounted crucifix where elbows, cuts, and blood are sure to follow.
Which ever way you look at it, Machida is the underdog in this fight. Unless he has crafted a remarkable game plan that will uproot the champion rendering him at the very least, human. I’m not necessarily rooting for Jones even though I enjoy watching the champ work. I just feel like rooting against Jones falls under the same category as rooting against Anderson Silva.