UFC 140 Predictions: What Must Go Right for a Lyoto Machida Win?

Andrew Barr@@andrewbarr8Correspondent IDecember 10, 2011

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones is a riddle that no one in the UFC has been able to figure out.

At UFC 140, another man will go to task trying to find a whole in Jones' armor—a man who at one point also seemed like an unsolvable riddle, former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida.

Just two years ago, Machida was in a similar position to Jones.

He was undefeated—which Jones would be if not for a controversial DQ loss to Matt Hamill—the new light heavyweight champion and seemed unbeatable.

Machida has lost twice since then but tonight looks to regain his belt and prove that, just as he was exposed, Jones can be exposed as well. However, Jones is an unusual opponent, even more so than Machida was, so he will not be easy to beat.

A lot of things are going to need to go right for Machida if he's going to win this fight.

First off, he needs to get Jones' respect early in the fight by landing some solid punches.

In Jones' past few fights, he has seemed comfortable on his feet and unconcerned with his opponent's power.

Machida needs to make him uncomfortable and tentative to engage.

Jones' massive reach is for sure going to be a problem, so Machida needs to get Jones chasing after him.

If Jones is the one countering and moving back, it will be nearly impossible for Machida to reach him. However, if Jones is the one being aggressive and Machida is moving back, Machida can try to surprise Jones with quick bursts forwards, while Jones is also moving forwards.

Perhaps most importantly, Machida needs to land a clean shot and knock Jones out.

If this fight goes to a decision, that favors Jones—who has the longer reach and the better grappling. Machida doesn't stand much chance of winning this one based on points.

Lastly, Machida must use his quick footwork to avoid Jones takedowns. Jones is an animal from the top position and Machida is not known to fight well off his back.

If Machida can put all these strategies into play, there is a reasonable chance we could have a new UFC light heavyweight champion by this time tomorrow.

Be sure to stay tuned to Bleacher Report for all things UFC 140. B/R is your home for complete coverage of the December 10 fight card, from pre-fight predictions to in-fight coverageresults and post-fight analysis

Andrew Barr is a Featured Columnist for BleacherReport.com. For updates on what's happening in the world of MMA, follow him on Twitter @AndrewBarr8.