MAIN EVENT: JON JONES(c) 14-1-0 vs LYOTO MACHIDA 17-2-0 for the UFC LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Jon “Bones” Jones will make his 2nd defense of the Light Heavyweight Championship this Saturday in Toronto. He is coming off a submission victory over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson back in September when he defeated the fighter turned actor with a rear-naked choke. Jones has become one of the new, young faces of MMA in the past year, and is now one of the more popular fighters in the sport. He did seem a little intimidated against Jackson though, and that showed in the fight. He wasn’t nearly as aggressive as he has been in past fights, but I expect that to change on Saturday against Lyoto.
Since starting his MMA career 16-0, Machida has been on a cold streak, losing 2 of his last 3 fights. He is coming off a win against the legendary Randy Couture at UFC 129, but his 2nd round knockout did little to make me think he is back on track. There was once a time where you couldn’t even scratch Machida. He has the best Karate in the sport, and has lethal kicks to boot, but I can’t bet against the current champion Jones. Lyoto wouldn’t even have this title fight if “Sugar” Rashad Evans didn’t suffer an injury. Right now, I believe Jones is leaps and bounds ahead of what Machida brings to the table. Lyoto is the more technical fighter, but Jones skill-set will rattle Machida. Jones has superior striking, length and amazing wrestling. Jones will take this fight to the ground, and retain his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship with a submission victory.
FRANK MIR 15-5-0 vs MINOTAURO NOGUEIRA 33-6-1, 1NC
Frank Mir is looking to get himself back into the Heavyweight title picture. The winner of Overeem/Lesnar will be first in line for Dos Santos, but with a victory over Nogueira in Toronto, Mir could put his name back in the discussion for a title shot. His last fight was back in May when he defeated “Big Country” Roy Nelson via unanimous decision at UFC 130.
This will be the 2nd time that Mir and Nogueira have met in the UFC Octagon. Mir defeated Nogueira back at UFC 92 to win the interim UFC Heavyweight Championship when he knocked out Minotauro. The win was slightly tainted as Nogueira revealed he wasn’t 100% healthy going into the fight. That won’t be the case this Saturday, as Minotauro is coming in ready to fight and 100% healthy. Frank Mir is highly motivated going into this encounter, as he wants to prove that he was always the better fighter, and healthy or not, he can defeat the Brazilian legend. Tauro clearly has more experience, but he is also 36 years old, so it may be hard for him to keep up with the younger Mir. I predict Mir’s striking will be the difference maker Saturday, as Frank handles Nogueira easily with a TKO victory.
TITO ORTIZ 17-9-1 vs ANTONIO ROGERIO NOGUEIRA 19-5-0
This fight will be do-or-die for both Ortiz and Nogueira. A loss may signal the end of their tenures in the UFC.
Ortiz has only 1 victory in his last 7 fights. He did score an impressive 1st-round submission victory over Ryan Bader at UFC 132, but followed that up with a horrible showing against Rashad Evans a month later. Knowing that everything is on the line, we may see the best out of Ortiz in Toronto.
Nogueira is a legend of the MMA world, but just like Tito, he has been on a downward spiral as of late. Antonio has lost his last 2 fights, losing decisions to both Phil Davis and Ryan Bader. He will never be mistaken as a world-class athlete, but he does possess incredible Jiu Jitsu and superb takedown defense.
There is no way this fight ends in a submission, as both fighters are too good on the ground to allow themselves to be submitted. If Tito can enter this fight at full-strength (he has had recent back problems), then I would put my faith in him to pull out a decision victory. This will be the last Rogerio Noguiera fight in the UFC.