Some friend Ed Soares turned out to be.
The Blackhouse manager decided to pick up a "thinking of you" gift while tooling around a South American Hallmark and instead of a yellow snow-globe, he got Lyoto Machida a title fight against reigning 205-pound champion Jon Jones.
"The Dragon" talks to The Vancouver Sun:
"I got the call from (manager) Ed (Soares). Ed said ‘Hey, I got a present for you.' ‘You got a present for me?' Ed said, ‘Yeah, you're fighting for the belt.' I've been studying Jon Jones thoroughly. I've been watching his game. It's not something impossible to do, to come up with a game plan. I think I'll be able to crack that code."
will do his code cracking in the headlining bout of the pay-per-view event, scheduled for Dec. 10, 2011, at the Air Canada Center in Toronto.
The pee drinker was elevated into the championship contest because original opponent, Rashad Evans, was still on pins and needles when it came time to book the bout.
Like Jones, Machida was once considered difficult to figure out, until Mauricio Rua finished him at UFC 113 to capture the crown. Since then, he's split a pair of bouts between Quinton Jackson and Randy Couture, sending the latter into retirement minus a few teeth.
Will Jones bring out the best in Machida? The violent aggressor who spot-welded Thiago Silva to the canvas before cutting power to the consciousness of Evans?
Or will he be the "elusive" Machida, like the one that out-maneuvered Tito Ortiz? More importantly, does either version stand a chance against Jones?