UFC 140: "Jones vs. Machida" is set to blow the roof off Toronto's Air Canada Centre tomorrow night (Dec. 10, 2011) featuring a light heavyweight title fight between champion Jon Jones and challenger Lyoto Machida.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of UFC 140, beginning with the pay-per-view telecast at 9 p.m. ET on Dec. 10. In addition, we will deliver up-to-the-minute quick results of all the under card action much earlier on fight night.
The big story heading into tomorrow night's mixed martial arts (MMA) extravaganza surrounds the invincible warrior known as Jon Jones. There hasn't been a fighter to date to give him any kind of resistance, or even make him break a sweat.
Will Lyoto Machida be that guy?
There's also a heavyweight rematch on tap that pits Frank Mir against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. "Minotauro" wants to prove he was flattened by a staph infection -- and not the fists of his fellow ex-TUF coach -- while Mir is hoping history will repeat itself.
Another couple of legends will throw down on the main card as Tito Ortiz tries to rebound from his UFC 133 massacre at the hands of Rashad Evans by taking on fellow struggling 205'er Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Who brings home the bacon in "Hog Town?" Here's my best guess:
Nostradumbass predicts: This is an interesting match-up. We have a guy who loves Jesus fighting a guy who drinks his own urine. I know there's a Piss Christ joke in here somewhere, but with the way people are getting fired around here for tasteless comedy, I'm just gonna let this one go.
So who the hell wins this fight?
As much as I hate to do it, I've gotta pick Jones. The reason is fairly simple: I just can't make an effective argument against him. Normally over the course of a fighter's career, you can rewind the tape and identify areas of weakness.
In nine fights under the UFC banner, where can I go? What can I look at?
If the biggest knock against "Bones" is "Well, he looked a little tired against Stephan Bonnar in the third round a few years ago," then this division is screwed. I've also heard, "You know we haven't seen his chin or his ground game tested yet."
That's all well and good, but what if he passes those tests? Either way, I can't make an effective prediction on questions that haven't been answered, so I have to stick with what I know, and to do that I look no further than his record.
14 wins, 12 finishes.
Machida is a worthy opponent and it's not going to be the lopsided affair some are predicting, but "The Dragon" has been all smoke and no fire since getting outgunned by "Shogun" Rua and there's no reason to believe, based on his recent fights, that Saturday night will be any different.
Actually, my biggest fear is that we get the old "elusive" Ma-cheetah, who gets on his bicycle for five rounds and turns this thing into a twenty-five minute staredown. Okay, that's not really true. My biggest fear is that Machida wins by front-kick knockout and I have to spend the next six weeks coming up with new Steven Seagal jokes.
Prediction: Jon Jones def. Lyoto Machida via unanimous decision
Nostradumbass predicts: As a fan, I will cheer for Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and boo Frank Mir. As a (cough) "analyst," I have to go with the cold, hard facts. "Minotauro" is 2-2 over his last four and while I cheered just as hard as everyone else when he put Brendan Schaub on queer street, I wasn't ready to declare he was "back."
Like Wanderlei Silva, he can benefit from favorable match-ups against guys who play to his strengths. "The Hybrid" was that guy. Frank Mir is not. While Nog attributes his UFC 92 loss to staph infection and litany of other ailments, I have to agree with Mir in that they likely had little effect on his poor head movement (likely due to its size) and rudimentary defense.
And if Nog's head gets any bigger, it's going to need its own stool in-between rounds.
I don't want to pretend Mir's been lighting up the division, because he hasn't. His biggest win in the past five years came from blindsiding Cheick Kongo and choking him unconscious. True, he also beat Lesnar, but leg-locking a 1-0 fighter whose biggest accomplishment was eating a Korean crabby patty named Min Soo Kim does not impress me.
The bottom line is that neither guy is championship material at this point in their respective careers but, Mir's edge is that he's younger, fresher and more durable that his Brazilian foe. There was a time when not even a pipe bomb could wobble "Minotauro."
That time, regrettably, has long since passed.
Prediction: Frank Mir def. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira via technical knockout
Nostradumbass predicts: Two light heavyweight veterans with nothing to lose but their jobs. In four fights under the ZUFFA banner, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira has managed to look good in one fight, his Octagon debut when he pasted Luiz Cane in less than two minutes at UFC 106.
In his next appearance, he was outworked by Jason Brilz in unanimous decision "win" that was either scored by Brazilian judges or drunken dwarves who couldn't see over the table.
That preceded back-to-back losses to Ryan Bader and Phil Davis and a current match-up against fellow elder-statesman Tito Ortiz, who may be the only 205-pounder who has managed to look less impressive than Nog has over his last four fights.
True, Ortiz stunned Bader (and most of the MMA world) back in July, but we can compare that to Nogueira's win over Cane: Nothing more than a depressing reminder of what once was and will never be again. So where does that leave us tomorrow night?
That all depends on Tito.
Nogueira has faced three straight wrestlers and was handled by each of them. If "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy," or whatever the hell he's calling himself these days, can come out and make it a wrestling match, he grinds out a unanimous decision win.
If he wants to stand in the pocket and play pat-a-cake, Nogueira will roll him and mark him with a C, for "cut."
Prediction: Tito Ortiz def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira via split decision
Nostradumbass predicts: Claude Patrick is one of the division's top prospects at 170-pounds, and in three trips to the Octagon, the Canadian has successfully legitimized much of the hype surrounding his promotion debut back in 2010.
Then Joe Silva went a did a mean thing like pair him up against Brian Ebersole.
The "Bad Boy" is a bad ass, shaving arrows into his chest and beating up grown men in speedos. Aside from that, he's also a 63-fight veteran with 34 stoppages in 48 wins. Both fighters are 31-years old and while Patrick has been in the game since 2002, he's had a quarter of the fights Ebersole has.
"The Prince" has controlled his recent contests but in a side-by-side comparison, Ebby's faced the stiffer competition, taking on Carlos Newton, Chris Lytle and Dennis Hallman. I also give him the edge on the ground because of his wrestling pedigree.
He just has to be careful of Patrick's slicker-than-owlshit guillotine choke.
In the striking, I expect Santa Claude to befuddle Eber's soul on the feet, which will do more harm than good. Why? Because it will force Ebby to take this thing south for the winter, which means three rounds of calculated ground-and-pound.
If he doesn't choke (literally), he grinds this one out in convincing fashion.
Prediction: Brian Ebersole def. Claude Patrick via unanimous decision
Nostradumbass predicts: I know the popular move these days is to parade Mark Hominick's nuts through the streets of Ontario because he beat the stuffing out of an exhausted Jose Aldo for one round earlier this year, but I'm not ready promote him to second-in-command just yet.
Will he be the better striker tomorrow night? More technical? Yes and yes.
Does he win at UFC 140? Hellz no. I'm taking the "Zombie" because I believe him when he says he's no longer the walking dead inside the Octagon. The fans might not approve of intelligent gameplanning or tactical offense, but this is Canada, so he's not getting cheered in a bout opposite a hometown hero anyway.
Why not play to win?
All the "Mark's going to pick him apart on the feet" experts are conveniently overlooking "The Machine's" penchant for getting subbed. Half of his nine losses have come by way of the tap and Jung has a deceptive ground game as evidenced by his twister on Leonard Garcia.
The challenge for Jung is to get inside without getting lit up in the process. He must also resist the urge to turn this thing into a slugfest because if he does, he's going to sleep.
I predict he has the patience and the durability to keep himself in the fight until Hommy makes a mistake midway through the second, and finds himself asleep before he even realizes he was being submitted.
Prediction: Chan Sung Jung def. Mark Hominick via submission
That's a wrap, folks.
For previews and predictions on the preliminary card fights click here and here. To see all the odds and betting lines for UFC 140 click here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Jones vs. Machida."
What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for tomorrow night's event.