John Heinis: Debate has been widespread in recent weeks about whether we will see a second "Machida era." or if Jon Jones will easily clean out the light heavyweight division.
Jones, who is just 24-years-old, boasts a 14-1 record with quality back-to-back wins over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
Funny enough, Machida is coming off consecutive losses to those exact same two opponents.
Worth noting is that many fans believe that "The Dragon" did enough to defeat Rampage and that he never deserved his initial win over Shogun at UFC 104.
Machida is certainly no slouch, coming in at 17-2 with career wins over the likes of Tito Ortiz, Thiago Silva, Rashad Evans and most recently retiring Randy Couture, but personally, I think he matches up horribly with Jones.
Lyoto relies on counter striking and movement, or backing away depending who you ask. Whatever the case may be, no one has come close to hanging with Jones on the feet and I don't think that changes here.
I won't put it past Machida to land a clean strike here and there to hurt Jones, but "Bones" takedowns are unreal, so I am 100 percent confident he will take things to the ground whenever he wants.
Machida has solid takedown defense, but he has not faced an opponent with a blend of collegiate/Greco Roman wrestling and Judo that Jones possesses.
Additionally, I can't see the former champ doing much off his back. Sure, he's a black belt, but when's the last time he had to work off his back from inside the Octagon?
The only argument for Machida is that Jones' chin has never been tested ... and we saw how well that held up for Rampage.
Jon Jones via third round KO
Adam Osterkamp: If there has ever been a fight that is hard to predict, this is it. A lot of people are favoring Jones in this fight, but not long ago people also thought Machida was unbeatable.
Obviously we know that no man is unbeatable (unless maybe you’re Rickson Gracie ...), and more than any fighter Jones has faced, Machida has the ability to win.
This fight is sure to be one of the greatest chess like match ups in UFC history. Each man is incredibly gifted and calculated.
Jones will come out slowly against Machida, feeling him out, but press the action more and more as time goes on.
Machida will test Jones more than any other fighter Jones has faced, but unfortunately it won’t be enough to get the victory.
Jones will win this fight via unanimous decision and will come under high scrutiny from MMA fans who will be calling for a rematch.
Jon Jones via controversial unanimous decision
Jeffrey McKinney: In the night’s main event Jon Jones will defend his title against Lyoto Machida.
Both Jones and Machida have two of MMA’s most perplexing fighting styles.
Machida uses his elusive karate to confuse his opponents while Jones uses a combination of wrestling and unorthodox striking to make him one of the hardest fighters to train for.
If there’s anyone that can defeat Jones, many people believe its Machida.
Machida has great wrestling defense and has KO power in his hands and after his last fight, his feet as well.
Jones is such a tough fighter to do anything against though.
The scary thing about it all is Jones is still learning.
This match up may not be for everyone as I see it playing out like a slow, calculated chess match.
But I believe Jones can match Machida for speed, and will use his size and reach advantage to put Machida away.
Jon Jones by TKO
Dale De Souza: Oh, the things to love about this bout—they are beautiful, are they not?
Both men are unpredictable finishers, both men have a wrestling background (yes, Sumo counts), and both men are seen as rather powerful Light Heavyweights that could beast the beat at Heavyweight.
What’s the only thing that sucks about this fight?
Well, if you’re betting your house on this one being anything like Garcia-Jung, that’s one thing about this fight—the fact of it being likely to be technical and slow-paced for an exciting bout is probably going to disappoint some people.
The other thing that sucks about this fight is that someone has to win and someone has to lose, but if you buy Jones as arrogant, that’s not a bad thing.
Personal vents and opinions aside, Jones’ image has come off as arrogant and not genuine, but Jones is not letting it get to him, which is good.
That said, he’s facing a difficult challenge in Machida, and if it’s established early, Jones might just feel the belt slip right through his fingers, thus continuing the curse of the UFC Light Heavyweight title.
Lyoto Machida by unanimous decision (48-46…and this is the only fight I secretly hope I get wrong)
Jordy McElroy: After suffering back to back losses, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida crane kicked his way back into title contention at UFC 129 with a win over Randy Couture.
Now, he faces the fastest rising star in MMA history and current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
From purely a stylistic perspective, this is one of the most interesting fights in UFC history. Jones and Machida are both incredibly unpredictable fighters who often keep opponents guessing with unorthodox offense and awkward footwork.
This will be a slow, technical battle, which should draw plenty of boos from the “just bleed” fans.
Machida is a very patient and elusive fighter, and he’ll definitely test Jones’ range and accuracy.
Jones will also have to be mindful of the takedown. While Jones is the better wrestler, people tend to overlook Machida’s ability to use his striking to setup takedowns.
The takedown he secured on Tito Ortiz in the first round of their UFC 84 bout was a work of art.
With that said, Machida is a fighter who likes to hang back and wait for an opportunity to explode into the pocket. This is going to be hard to do against a fighter with Jones’ reach.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is one of the best boxers in all of MMA, and the first thing he praised about Jones’ fight game was his understanding of range.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua showed that patience and a well-rounded mixture of kicks and punches throttle Machida’s Karate-based style. Jones has the ability to mimic Shogun’s performance against Machida and possibly even add to it.
In the history of the sport, there has never been a fighter as complete as Jones. He should be able to use his reach to pick Machida apart on the outside, and when the distance closes, look for Jones to secure a takedown or two.
Considering Machida’s ability to avoid punishment, it’s possible this bout goes the distance, but this journalist is banking on Jones netting the vicious third round TKO stoppage.
Jon Jones by Round 3 TKO