UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida

Published on Dec. 9 at 6:05 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

The Ultimate Fighting Championship will return to Toronto on Dec. 10 for UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida at Air Canada Centre. The main event will feature Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, who will defend his light-heavyweight title for the second time against former champ, Lyoto ‘The Dragon’ Machida.

Most betting shops are listing Jones as a minus-500 favorite with Machida available for a plus-400 payout (risk $100 to win $400).

Jones is the leading candidate to earn Fighter of the Year honors. On Feb. 5 at UFC 126, Jones handed Ryan Bader his first career loss by guillotine choke in the second round. Next, he destroyed Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua to win the 205-pound belt at UFC 128.

In his first title defense versus Rampage Jackson at UFC 135, Jones defeated the former champ by rear-naked choke in the fourth round of a dominant performance. But dominant has essentially become an oxymoron when describing Jones’s trips inside the Octagon.

The reality is that he’s never been challenged, never been in any sort of trouble and doesn’t appear as if he’ll be relinquishing his belt anytime soon. Jones owns a 14-1 MMA record and an 8-1 ledger in the UFC. His only ‘loss’ came by disqualification for an illegal elbow against Matt Hamill in a fight Jones was clearly winning with ease.

Machida (17-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) suffered the first two losses of his career in 2010, losing his belt to Rua before dropping a controversial split decision to Jackson. But at UFC 129 in April, Machida responded by earning KO of the Night honors with a front kick to the face that sent Randy Couture into retirement.

In the co-main event, a pair of former heavyweight champions will collide in the Octagon. Frank Mir (15-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) will try to earn his second career win over the legendary Antonio Rodrigo ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira. Most spots have Mir tabbed as a minus-270 ‘chalk’ with Nogueira listed as the plus-220 underdog.

When these fighters met at UFC 92 on Dec. 27 of 2008, Mir became the first mixed martial artist to finish Nogueira by knockout in the second round. The victory gave Mir the interim heavyweight title, but he would lose the belt to Brock Lesnar at UFC 100.

Since then, Mir owns a 3-1 record with his only loss coming against Shane Carwin by first-round KO at UFC 111. His wins have come over Cheick Kongo, Mirko Cro Cop and Roy Nelson. Mir is looking for his third straight win and can’t afford a loss if he wants another title shot in the next 6-18 months.

Nogueira (33-6-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) is in the twilight of his brilliant career and might’ve dodged retirement when he KO’d Brendan Schaub in the first round at UFC 134 in Rio this past August. He had not fought in 18 months after having several different surgeries.

Big Nog’s brother, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, is also on the pay-per-view card and will face Tito Ortiz. Most spots have Little Nog listed as a minus-220 favorite, while Ortiz is plus-180 on the comeback.

On the brink of taking a pink slip from the only promotion he’s ever fought for, Ortiz (16-9-1 MMA, 15-9-1 UFC) submitted Ryan Bader in the first round at UFC 132 for his first win since 2006. Then on short notice a few weeks later, Ortiz stepped in for Phil Davis to take on the light heavyweight division’s No. 1 contender, Rashad Evans.

Ortiz gave Evans a very competitive fight and nearly got a submission early in the second round when he locked in a guillotine choke. However, Evans was able to escape and finished the fight by TKO late in the second round thanks to a knee to the solar plexus that Ortiz couldn’t recover from.

I like Jones and Mir to win, but the prices for each are too expensive. If you can bet an MMA parlay, then I think a Jones-Mir parlay will be a winner. As for straight bets on this card, all I like is Ortiz at +180 versus Little Nog. Remember, Ortiz hooked up his backers with a huge payout as a plus-500 underdog against Bader earlier this year.

Brian Edwards can be reached at briane.edwards11@gmail.com.

For daily sports analysis, you’re invited to follow Brian Edwards on twitter at Vegasbedwards.

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