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