UFC 140: What Lyoto Machida Must Do to Pull the Upset over Jon Jones

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UFC 140: What Lyoto Machida Must Do to Pull the Upset over Jon Jones
Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

When it comes to hype, nobody does it better than the UFC.

From Royce, to Tito, to Hughes, to Chuck, to St. Pierre, to Silva, to Lesnar, it's been evident from the beginning that the UFC has a recipe for pushing their guys as unbeatable physical specimens.

The latest example? None other than reigning and defending 205-pound champion Jon Jones. Jones burst onto the MMA scene at UFC 87 against Andre Gusmao and hasn't looked back.

Showing new skills, new techniques and an improved overall game every time out, Jones has built a record of 14-1 (7-1 UFC), with the lone loss being the infamous disqualification loss to Matt Hamill at the TUF: Heavyweights finale.

From throwing Stephan Bonnar around like a rag doll to bringing unprecedented violence to Brandon Vera's face, onlookers knew early that Jones was something special.

The prophecy came to fruition at UFC 128, when a vicious TKO stoppage in the Mauricio Rua fight brought Jones to the helm of his sport as the new UFC champion.

At UFC 140, Jones makes his second title defense, this time against former champion Lyoto Machida. Machida is coming in as a heavy underdog (+275) early according to our friends over at betonfighting.com.

But that's not to say that the upset is impossible. Matt Serra showed the world that when the cage door locks shut, anything is possible.

The real question is, what can Machida do to knock the Jon Jones train off it's tracks?

 

Movement

Machida has developed a reputation for an unorthodox style, involving loads of movement, odd angles and crisp striking. His hit-and-run style carried him to the top of the division once before, and he'll need to be at the top of his game for this one.

Navigating the unbelievable reach advantage Jones has over his opponents is no easy task, especially given the angles Jones creates to strike from. With busy footwork, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Machida can generate a higher work rate, translating to positive scores from judges. 

 

Leg Kicks

The inside leg kick needs to be Machida's best friend in this fight.  Not only will it help keep the distance, but it's also a useful technique in slowing down your opponent.

Given Jones' speed, this needs to be a priority. The inside leg kick also sets up a variety of other kicks, including the crane kick used to knock out Randy Couture in Machida's last outing.

 

Takedown Defense

Possibly the most important thing for Machida is to keep off his back. Despite his rank of black belt in BJJ, we haven't seen much of it in his UFC career.

Tito Ortiz gave him trouble from top control at UFC 84 and we've all grown familiar with the amount of damage Jones can do from the same positions.

Constant circling, proper use of the wizzer and knees on the shot will be crucial to this, especially given the speed with which Jones shoots.

It will be a tall task for Machida on December 10th, as nobody has so much put Jones in trouble to this point in his career. With this game plan and maybe a little luck, Machida just may be the man for the job. 

 

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