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Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida Returns To The Octagon Tonight

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Over two years since last stepping foot on UFC canvas, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida is back tonight, facing off against Derek Brunson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 119 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Machida was a guy who was seemingly unbeatable when I was discovering the sport, going 16-0 and capturing the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship before finally being stopped by Shogun Rua. In that time, he not only established himself as one of the best fighters the sport had ever seen, he proved he was also one of the most exciting, too.

After losing his championship, he went on a 6-7 run, losing to murder’s row of Shogun Rua (again), Rampage Jackson, Jon Jones, Phil Davis, Chris Weidman, Luke Rockhold, and Yoel Romero, and also moved down to middleweight division. His last win was in 2014 over C.B. Dollaway, but tonight, the now unranked legend looks to have a resurgence against the #7 middleweight in the world and change your last memory of him in the cage.

There are however two sides to every story, and on the other side of this one sits Derek Brunson. Brunson’s been riding the line between elite and not elite for years now, always JUST missing out on breaking into the upper echelon of the middleweight division. He’s felt like a fighter who will stay between #5 and #10 in the rankings for the rest of eternity, but in his last two fights, he’s stood toe to toe with Anderson Silva in a bout many thought he won, and defeated Dan Kelly dominantly in just one round. With a win over The Dragon, he proves the hype is for good reason.

In the co-main event, Demian Maia will attempt to bounce back against Colby Covington after the worst loss in a championship I’ve ever seen. No, he didn’t get knocked out, or submitted, or even hit that much. He just got 21 takedowns stuffed and had no backup plan whatsoever. That’s kinda what we love about the guy, though! He’s going into that cage with the intention of submitting his opponent and doing absolutely nothing else. His statement on the loss makes me think there’s some more left in the tank, too:

“Unfortunately for the guys in my division, I will keep going. I have more energy to burn. I want to keep going a little bit more. I don’t know. Let’s see what happens – they’re thinking about opening 165, 175(pound divisions). Let’s see. I never give up. I came to this fight on five weeks’ notice, and I leave this fight with my head up.”

Maia famously walks out to Linkin Park’s “Numb”, as well, so bet the god damn house on him at +120. Colby’s such a meathead cock that you’re obliged to root against him, by the way.

Also fighting is one of my favorite guys in the entire sport, John “Motherfucking” Lineker. Homeboy SWANGS AND BANGS, knocking everyone at 135lbs out with his hands of stone. Marlon Vera WILL get knocked out tonight, I promise you that. Mortal lock of the century.

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As for my personal picks (not bets) on tonight’s fights, they are as follows:

Lyoto Machida (+145) – C’mon, I’m not picking against The Dragon here. You nuts? I think Brunson is a great fighter, but his target seems to be too small to hit recently. He doesn’t know whether or not he should be a killer who risks getting hit to get a knockout or whether or not he should be a calculated, measured fighter who works towards points on scorecards.

Demian Maia (+120) – Other than coming out to “Numb” against the most hatable tool of all time swaying my vote, I do believe Maia will be able to bring this fight to the ground, and when he does, there’s no getting up for Covington. I think his value is great.

Rob Font (-155) – I love this matchup. Two upcoming bantamweights (Pedro Munhoz being his opponent), both exciting no matter where the fight goes, but Munhoz aiming to bring it down to the canvas for a submission while Font aims to knock him out, which I think he will. There are some clear holes in Pedro’s defense, and Font is flawless in the UFC for finishes other than his decision loss to John Lineker. He’s no slouch on the ground, but if it’s pulled down there via grappling, Munhoz does have the advantage.

Francisco Trinaldo (-200) – I love Jim Miller, but I haven’t been truly impressed by him in a few fights, and he’s like 100 fight years old. Trinaldo should be able to finish this fight within 3 rounds.

Jack Hermansson (-115) – “The Joker” is coming off two first round knockouts in a row, and while this is possibly the most even matchup of the night, I think that makes me lean to his side. Thiago Santos is the value pick, though, if you’re a gambler.

John “Motherfucking” Lineker (-460) – Easiest pick ever made. Night night time for Vera.

Remember, these are my overall picks, not bets I’m telling you to make. Although I did suggest some value ones. Overall pick record for the year is 70-47-3.