December 10, 2011
Jon Jones refers to the often brutal sport of mixed martial arts as "a game he loves to play." It's seems like a strange way to refer to MMA, but Jones showed again tonight that he's quickly becoming the master of the game.
The UFC champ was getting outmaneuvered early in the fight, but as always made the necessary moves to first cut Lyoto Machida and then turns the lights out with a standing guillotine in the second round to successfully defend his UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 140.
"He's just smart. He kicked really hard. He knew his range. He has great tactics and definitely he was a very tough puzzle," Jones told UFC analyst Joe Rogan.
Jones, who won the title back in March at UFC 128, has successfully defended in two times. All four of his wins in 2011 have come via stoppage.
Amazingly, he's posting these dominant victories by different means each time out. His physical gifts are off the charts, but it's the way he's mastering the mental game that makes him look more unbeatable each time out.
Machida (17-3, 9-3 UFC) is also a brilliant tactician, who really confused Jones in the opening round. The champ looked sloppy with his fists and landed a few leg kicks, but it was the challenger who landed the heaviest shots with a few well-timed flurries. When drilled Jones with overhand left with 5o seconds left, Machida locked up the first round.
"He didn't have me hurt, but he did punch me pretty good and it wobbled me a bit," Jones said. The champ looked at eating that punch as a positive. "It was good. One of my biggest critic points is that I can't take a punch, so I'm glad to prove it to myself, and to everyone that I can take a legit hit."
Instead of turning up the aggression on Jones, Machida dialed it down a bit in the second. He let Jones get comfortable again.
With three minutes left in the round, Jones landed a right that stopped Machida in his tracks and worked the clinch for a big slam takedown. That's Jones' world and he immediately went to work from half guard. At 6-foot-4, Jones is a huge 2o5er. He imposed his size from the top and scraped a nasty elbow across Machida's forehead. The result was a deep gash that leaked blood into Machida's eyes.
"I know Lyoto's a black belt so I was expecting a lot more motion on the bottom, but he didn't move a lot and i was able to open him up," said Jones.
Machida got to his feet, the stop was stopped to check the cut for a few seconds and then reset. The fighters separated momentarily and both tried to throw the left hand. Machida's was a wide left hook and Jones was a short chopping left. The Jones shot landed and Machida went to his knees. His head was exposed as he stood back up where Jones landed a knee and locked on the standing guillotine along the cage.
The taller athlete cranked up and eventually Machida's right arm went limp. Referee John McCarthy stopped it and when Jones released the choke Machida fell flat on his face. He was out cold.
"It's not really a move that I practice. I think it's something that comes natural from wrestling for years. But yeah, it was a great lock. I realized that I had it, that I just needed to be tough and hold the position and eventually he'd run out."
Jones is showing off new weapons all the time. The fact that he finished off a top five light heavyweight with a move he's never practice is more proof of his greatness.
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