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Jones and Machida side by side in Toronto

Jon Jones / Photo: UFC

The UFC has a star-studded cast lined up for Toronto, Canada, a city for which the promotion’s president, Dana White, has nothing but praise. His high spirits showed through at this Wednesday’s UFC 140 press conference. In preparing for the event headlined by Jon Jones defending his title against Lyoto Machida and featuring matchups between Rodrigo Minotauro and Frank Mir, Tito Ortiz versus Minotouro, White expects nothing less than fireworks for the December 10 show.

During the Q&A, the greater emphasis was on the light heavyweight title bout. Jones will defend his belt for the second time, this time against the unpredictable Lyoto, whose style tends to puzzle his opponents.

“I love these clashes of styles. Machida attacks differently and it’s hard to find him. If Jon Jones gets past him like he has the others, the sky’s the limit for the kid. It’ll be a great fight,” White said, revealing his hopes for the matchup.

Lyoto lands a kick on Randy Couture in photo by Esther Lin (publicity).

After losing the divisional belt to Maurício Shogun, Lyoto lost a contested decision to Quinton Jackson. His return to prominence came when he put Randy Couture into retirement, knocking “Captain America” to the canvas with a highlight-reel karate kick. In preparing to face Jones, Machida reveals that he will be receiving some special support.

“I’ll be ready by December 10 for sure, and I believe I’ll have to rely on technique to overcome him. Anderson [Silva] called me and said he wants to visit me at my city. He told me he wants to go over some things with me, and I hope it really happens.”

With 14 wins and just one loss, by disqualification, Jones boasts a record beyond reproach. The 24-year-old champion already holds wins over seasoned fighters like Vladimir Matyushenko, as well as Quinton Jackson and Shogun, the only two ever to beat Machida. The divisional kingpin knows he’ll have his work cut out for him but says he’s not likely to change the way he fights.

“I’m going to deal with Lyoto’s style being me. He’s never fought anyone like me, just as I’ve never fought anyone like him. I have to study him,” declared “Bones”, who is banking on his youth over his opponent’s experience.

In fact, it’s mileage that White and Machida see as the key to successfully usurping the lightweight throne.

“Lyoto has fought for a long time and went undefeated for years,” Dana White reminds us.

“It’s hard to say, but I might have a bit of an advantage in experience,” wagered Lyoto.

Something else that became clear at the presser is that Jones wants a showdown with Rashad Evans, who was set to fight the champion but had to drop out to injury. Jones knows he’ll only get his shot at Evans if he beats Lyoto. Could his desire to face Evans be further motivation in his upcoming bout, or will pondering a hypothetical matchup throw off his focus when he steps into the ring with Machida?

Let the betting begin. Who’ll come out on top when this thrilling UFC card unfolds?

Check out the card:

UFC 140
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
December 10, 2011

Jon Jones vs Lyoto Machida
Frank Mir vs Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs Tito Ortiz
Brian Ebersole vs Rory MacDonald
Mark Hominick vs Chan Sung Jung
Igor Pokrajac vs Krzysztof Soszynski
Dennis Hallman vs John Makdessi
Rich Attonito vs Claude Patrick
Mark Bocek vs Nik Lentz
John Cholish vs Mitch Clarke

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