UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones (14-1, 8 KOs) defends his title this evening in UFC 140 from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in one of the most exciting opportunities for online sports betting on UFC/MMA action this year. Taking on challenger Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (17-2, 6 KOs), Jones puts his impressive recent string of victories on the line against another formidable opponent, a former champion who has shown to be both tough and resilient.
We can’t start a discussion on this top match-up without beginning with the exciting Jon Jones. Jones has been one of the most unique and talented fighters to watch in recent years, and anyone who hasn’t seen this guys’ arsenal of attacks, please make a note for later and look-up a video for a Jon Jones spinning back elbow. Scary. Then realize that Jones is 6’4″, 205 lbs of wiry muscle, with an 84″ arm span, and has defeated six of his last seven opponents by either knockout or submission. This is the hottest fighter in UFC competition, and there is little question about Jones’ ability to back up his title hold with the amount of confidence and available weaponry he has. As we noted in his last match-up against Quinton Jackson (of note, a man of similar stature to Machida), Jones’ impressive attack range made possible by his long limbs makes him unusually difficult for opponents to stay away from, even if one is as skilled in the art of elusion as Machida is touted to be. Jones steps into this match-up against Lyoto Machida with 3 inches of height and a significant 10 inches of arm span in his corner. What’s extra frightening about a guy with the reach of a 7-foot man in a 6’4″ body, is that Jones is a smart fighter, who uses creativity to his advantage in just about every scenario. Whether he is standing-up fighting in hand-to-hand fighting, or down on the canvas working towards submission, there is simply no area of the mixed-martial arts bag that Jones won’t reach into. And what’s particularly troubling for a fighter like Machida, is that Jones is already proven against the only two fighters he himself has lost against; Mauricio Rua and Quinton Jackson, who lost to Jones by TKO and submission respectively.
Though Lyoto Machida is not the physical specimen that Jon Jones is, he does got a number of useful tactics available that could give him a very good shot of at least making a decision against Jones, provided he can stay away from a quick strike that instantly turns the tables on him. Machida, who was hailed by many as one of the next big names in UFC fighting after going 15-0 to start his career, has a very unorthodox style of fighting that may help him to keep Jones out of rhythm, and away from getting struck with a long-armed strike. That is essential tonight for Machida against a very fast swinging, hard-hitting Jones; he’ll simply have to get out of situations where Jones can land big, heavy blows, and work his counter game in order to catch the champion off balance. Machida is a very strong fighter with his knees to the body, which could be very effective if he can utilize his elusive footwork and move around Jones’ attacks, then strike when Jones recoils. He’s been noted for having exceptional footwork, though in recent bouts many analysts have pointed to disturbing examples of Machida clumsily retreating in a straight line away from opponents. That just won’t work against the fast, and long-reaching strikes that Jones will muster should Machida show any missteps. However, if Lyoto Machida can get his once-impressive footwork back in tonight’s bout, and keep the long reach of Jones from becoming a factor early on in the fight, his chances could be very good of at least getting to the final bell in the 5th round.
Perhaps the most interesting area of this fight will be what happens when the two fighters inevitably grapple and are forced to work in the clinch game. With Jones being a former wrestler, and showing his skills in taking down each wrestling-centric fighters he’s ever faced, Machida won’t want to find himself too tied up with Jones, unless he’s the one instigating the takedown. Machida has shown good examples of being very quick and powerful once next to an opponent’s body, and being well balanced on his feet “The Dragon” could utilize surprising and swift moves into Jones to get the champion onto his back. I don’t think Machida stands a chance at pulling out a victory here without being aggressive and getting to the body against a gangly, powerful foe like Jones who has a decisive advantage fighting head-to-head. Though Jones is arguably equally good at wrestling, Machida’s knack for being slippery and elusive could work in his favor in this part of the fight game, provided he can stay away from those nasty quick elbows and devastating knees bound to be generated by the champ.
Betting Lines for Jon “Bones” Jones vs. Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida
As one of the first websites ever used for UFC/MAA sportsbook betting, we’ll return to Bodog.eu Sportsbook, one of the best reviewed sportsbooks found on our site, for the best betting lines on tonight’s UFC 140 Main Event between Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida. Looking at just the money line, as expected Jon Jones is a heavy favorite for tonight’s fight, with -500 odds of taking a win while Machida is the underdog at +375 odds. Looking to some of the more exciting options for online sports betting on this fight, check out the UFC/MMA props section at Bodog for betting lines with much more interesting odds, including Jon Jones getting -200 odds to win inside the distance, -200 odds to complete two rounds, and +175 odds to complete 4 rounds. Those pushing for Machida to get to a decision tonight face a couple of potentially profitable options, first backing Jones to win in a 5-round decision (+350 odds), or with a little less risk, taking Machida to get to the 4th round (+175 odds).
Our Pick to Win:
Although Lyoto Machida has been known for his elusive and unorthodox fighting methods, the sound technique and physicality of Jon Jones will prove too much to handle in UFC 140, and Jones will hold on to his Light Heavyweight Championship belt at the end of the evening. For online sports betting however, it’s a tough call to choose which way to wager on this match-up. If Jon Jones can start off with a violent flurry of punches, get a hold of Machida and work to a submission or knockout, this match-up could be over before we’re settled in to our seats. However if Machida can return to his previously-touted form and stay away from the big hits, and slip out of Jones’ clinch game, there’s a possibility he can keep pace with the Champion and at least make a decision. Either way, with the technical ability, physical advantage, and history against fighters of similar stature and ability as Machida, Jon Jones will simply prove too much to handle, and this fight never gets to a decision. I like Machida to get through a few rounds, but wearing down his opponent, look for Jones to take advantage of a poorly-timed mistake to get him a win by knockout, or in to position to utilize one of his many submission tactics to get The Dragon to tap out. It’s going to be a good fight regardless of the outcome, so make sure to join me at Bodog.eu Sportsbook for your taste of the best UFC/MMA action remaining on the 2011 calendar!