TORONTO - The UFC put its final piece of business to bed on Friday afternoon. Now all that remains is getting down to the business of fighting.
That will take place Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre when former light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida tries to derail current champ Jon Jones in the only title bout on the card. But before that can happen, all the fighters for UFC 140 had to hit the scales for weigh-ins Friday at the ACC.
Neither Jones nor Machida had any trouble making weight. Machida tipped the scales at 204 pounds, while the champion weighed in at 205.
In that regard, only Dennis Hallman, who has recently been fighting at welterweight, had trouble at the weigh-in for his lightweight bout against Montreal’s John Makdessi. Hallman weighed in at a flabby 158.5 pounds and will be given some more time to try to cut down to the 156-pound limit.
It’s hard to get too excited about weigh-ins, but the UFC probably does it better than anybody. So here, then, are some musings Friday’s event.
JONES PRETTY COCKY
Maybe the champ isn’t quite as popular as he thinks he is. There seemed to be some anti-Jones sentiment in the crowd of a couple of thousand. The 24-year-old American looked pretty cocky as he sauntered up the stairs to the stage with a big smile on his face, wearing headphones and waving to the crowd, something he continued to do while standing on the scale. Not one other fighter did that.
“This is an awesome opportunity against an awesome opponent. I’m just so grateful for the whole situation,” Jones said to a surprising number of boos. “I can’t wait to go out there and play this game that I’m so in love with.”
But maybe the response to Jones was just because Machida is so well liked. The always humble Brazilian said in the best English he could muster, “This is a great opportunity for me, my second time fighting in Toronto. I hope to do a great job tomorrow.” It appears others are hoping so too.
SHORTS IN A KNOT
Here’s hoping that welterweight Claude Patrick has a little more luck against his opponent Brian Ebersole than he did with getting his shorts off. The Mississauga native struggled with the ties at the front of his trunks for so long you could almost hear crickets start serenading the crowd. Patrick will be trying to improve to 4-0 when he faces the unorthodox Ebersole. The last time the American fought he had an arrow shaved in his chest. After the weigh-in Patrick jokingly pointed to Ebersole’s chest wondering where the arrow had gone. The veteran mixed martial artist just shrugged his shoulders and laughed.
To say Thamesford, Ont., native Mark Hominick seems pumped for his fight against Chang Sun Jung of South Korea would be an understatement. Hominick, who easily got the best reception of any of the handful of Canadians fighting in Saturday’s event, ran up the stairs to the stage pumping his fist to loud applause and cheers. The featherweight will be trying to make up for a near miss at UFC 129 at the Rogers Centre where he put in a courageous effort against title holder Jose Aldo only to fall short. The Canadian who got the least amount of applause? Well, that dubious honour goes to Saskatoon’s Mitch Clarke, who is making his UFC debut against John Cholish.
ORTIZ LEAF FOR A DAY
Speaking of cheers, former light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz really knows how to work a crowd. The People’s Champ, as he now likes to be called, wore a brand new No. 11 Maple Leafs jersey with his name written on the back of it. In case you’re wondering, that number is currently worn by Philippe Dupuis, a good guy but not quite the bruiser Ortiz is. The American probably would have looked a little more at home wearing a No. 28 on his back. Still, Ortiz knew what he was doing, eliciting chants of “Tito, Tito” from the crowd.
CRACK ME UP
As usual, former NewsRadio actor and now the voice of the UFC, Joe Rogan, was on stage. He cracked a good one when Clarke stripped out of his underwear trying to make weight for his lightweight bout. “He didn’t even need to take off his underwear,” Rogan joked. “He just did it for fun.” ... That reminds me, what do mothers always say about clean underwear? … The worst UFC nickname? It’s got to be “The Carny” as in Nik (The Carny) Lentz. The name doesn’t exactly strike fear in your opponent. Though a friend of mine did once say she was creeped out by carnies. So who knows? Best nickname? The Korean Zombie. Actually that isn’t that great either … Most UFC fighters look like they can hurt you, but one guy who doesn’t is Jared Hamman. Don’t let the name fool you, the guy is pasty white with nary a muscle in his body. And, hey, what’s with the moustache? Didn’t anybody tell him Movember is over? The heavily tattooed Krzysztof Soszynski, on the other hand, he looks like he can hurt you … Best stare down of the afternoon? Ortiz and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
NEED TO KNOW
Here are the official weigh-in results for UFC 140, which takes place Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre, and where the fights can be viewed.
Main Bouts (Pay-Per-View):
-Jon Jones (205) vs. Lyoto Machida (204) (title match)
-Frank Mir (260) vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (239)
-Tito Ortiz (206) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (204.5)
-Claude Patrick (171) vs. Brian Ebersole (170.5)
-Mark Hominick (145) vs. Chan Sung Jung (145.5)
Preliminary Bouts (ION TV):
-Krzysztof Soszynski (206) vs. Igor Pokrajac (205)
-Jared Hamman (185) vs. Constantinos Philippou (185)
-Dennis Hallman (158.5) vs. John Makdessi (155.5)
-Yves Jabouin (136) vs. Walel Watson (135.5)
Preliminary Bouts (Facebook):
-Nik Lentz (156) vs. Mark Bocek (156)
-Rich Attonito (170.5) vs. Jake Hecht (170.5)
-John Cholish (156) vs. Mitch Clarke (154.5)