Dream Matchup: Lyoto “the Dragon” Machida v. Jonny “Bones” Jones

Posted: May 9, 2011 in Fandom, MMA
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jonny Bones JonesMachida

I recently did analyses of two of my favorite fighters, former UFC lightheavyweight champion Lyoto “the Dragon” Machida and current UFC lightheavyweight champion Jonny “Bones” Jones. This post is written in that context, so if you haven’t read the prior posts, this one might be confusing to read at times. Go give them a read. I’ll wait.

Done? Great. Let’s move on.

One of the questions flowing through the tubes of the internet is how this fight would go down. While not generating nearly as much buzz as Anderson Silva v. George St. Pierre, this fight is far more likely to happen (or at least, will happen 1 year sooner) and has less analysis attached to it. There’s no sense in me providing yet another article on Silva-GSP. I’ll just say GSP by decision and leave at that.

This fight, however, clearly has a future unless one of these fighters loses, which is something I don’t anticipate. It also involves two guys at the top of their division, and it’s the same division for both of them. Unlike GSP, Lyoto doesn’t have to move up (or down) in weight to challenge for Jones’s title.

As I discussed, Jones’ sole chink in his armor is his arrogance, and having seen his behavior lately, it’s apparent to me that he’s really enjoying his success. Of course, we all would, but that comes with a price. He needs to be better than the rest of us – more grounded – or he could lose his title quickly. I don’t know if he will humble himself, so I’m going to have to analyze this fight in two different ways. First, I’ll assume he stays grounded (both literally and figuratively) and fights smartly, relying on wrestling to take down and ground out a victory. Second, I’ll assume he fights arrogantly and tries to outstrike the striker.

As for Machida, I don’t see Machida trying to prove anything to anyone, so his approach to the fight won’t be much of a variable. He’ll plan a strategy designed to maximize his chances at success. I have no concerns of arrogance for this guy.

Scenario #1: Jon Jones Plays It Safe

In this scenario, Bones does exactly what he’s supposed to do. He uses his striking merely to close the distance – he can’t just bull rush in – and eventually scores a takedown. Once he’s on the ground, his wrestling is so strong that I have no doubt he’ll keep Lyoto down there. At this point, the fight becomes academic. The only thing I’ve ever seen from Lyoto on the ground is a couple of quick strikes and then a quick stand up. I’ve never seen him on his back other than the second fight with Mauricio Shogun Rua, and we all know how that turned out for him. I don’t see Lyoto getting out from under Jones. The best I see is that Lyoto avoids the takedowns for the entire first round, getting midway through the second round before taking a nap.

Bones by TKO/KO, Round 2.

Scenario #: Jon Jones Tries to Outstrike the Striker

This is actually the most likely scenario, and it’s the one giving Lyoto an opportunity for an upset. I don’t know how Jones’s spinning elbows connect against professional fighters, but one thing’s certain: They don’t have good reach. Those things aren’t going to land against a fighter like Machida who’s fighting from an atypically far distance. I also anticipate Lyoto getting out of the way of any flying knees Bones tries to launch from a distance. Forget that goofy stuff. It isn’t going to land against Machida.

In terms of what is going to land, Bones does employ his kicks well when needed, and they’ll be needed here to do some damage from a distance, which is where the fight will be fought. Bones’s aggression will work against him, as Lyoto loves to counterstrike. Anything thrown while airborne is easy to counter (at least by a counterstriking expert) because you know the exact trajectory of the strike and the striker. This could be the difference that has Bones falling into a shot to the jaw; however . . .

I’d still bet money on Bones winning. Bones has the “it” factor, and no, I can’t describe that any better than you can. He’s just the kind of guy that finds a way to win. Even if everything I say here represents the most brilliant analysis of fighters ever done, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bones threw a wrench into my analysis by doing something completely out of character, departing from the style we’ve all come to expect from him. I don’t necessarily think he’d have to map out that game plan ahead of time. His instincts are probably good enough to develop a brand new style on the spot in response to whatever Lyoto throws at him.

Bones by decision.

So, either way, Bones wins it.

Of course, it ain’t over ’til it’s over, and it can’t be over ’til it’s signed. I hope we get to see this fight.

Follow me on Twitter @MMADork
Follow Lyoto Machida on Twitter @lyotomachidafw
Follow Jonny “Bones” Jones on Twitter @Jonnybones
Follow the UFC on Twitter @UFC
Follow Anderson Silva on Twitter @SpiderAnderson
Follow George St. Pierre on Twitter @GeorgesStPierre
Follow Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on Twitter @ShogunRua

  1. […] event. I’ve written three posts analyzing Jon Jones, analyzing Lyoto Machida, and dealing with a possible matchup between the two. While that’s a lot of reading to do, it’s almost necessary to understand my views, but I’ll […]

  2. […] second, Machida’s Unsolvability, discusses why and how stylistic matchups matter. The third, Dream Matchup: Lyoto “the Dragon” Machida v. Jonny “Bones” Jones, compares the two fighters and predicts how the fight will unfold. All three of these posts have […]

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