The second big UFC promotion of the year will get underway Sunday evening with UFC 247 at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX. While the undercard will get us started on ESPN with some exciting fights, most notably up-and-comer Trevin Giles fighting Antonio Arroyo in the middleweight division, two title fights will serve as the main and co-main event. As the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko (-1050) and Katlyn Chookagian (+660) will compete for the Women’s Flyweight belt, as Shevchenko looks to defend her title for the third straight fight.
The main event of the evening marks the return of one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport’s history in Jon “Bones” Jones (-440) defending his title for the third time (this time around) against the undefeated Dominick Reyes +340. Jones has actually held the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship belt since 2011, briefly vacating it following a “no-contest” after testing positive for a banned substance after a 2017 win over Daniel Cormier. Let’s take a closer look at this light heavyweight clash to see where we can spot an edge.
Jon Jones (25-1-0) vs Dominick Reyes (12-0-0)
These odds were taken from FanDuel Sportsbook on February 5, 2019.
A technical support specialist by day, Reyes is still at the point in his professional career that he needs a day job, though that may soon be coming to an end. In his 12 professional fights, Reyes is a perfect 12-0, including 6-0 during his time under the UFC banner. Most recently, Reyes finished UFC veteran Chris Weidman in the first round by KO while earning Performance of the Night honors back in October. Reyes is a physical specimen that nearly matches Jones at 6’4″, 207 pounds with a 77-inch reach. A blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu who has finished nine of his 12 professional fights in the first round, this will be a step (maybe three) above any challenge he has faced thus far in his fighting career.
Simply put, Jon Jones has straight dominated the light heavyweight division for the better part of a decade. If it wasn’t for his “no-contest” ruling back in 2017, Jones would have defended his light heavyweight belt now for an astounding 13 straight fights. Because of that, it’s widely speculated that this could be his last fight in the division, as he eyes the heavyweight class going forward in 2020. Not counting the “no-contest,” Jones has relied on the judges in six of his last seven appearances in the octagon. A black belt in Gaidojutsu and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Jones is in a league of his own from a pedigree and athleticism standpoint, and if he can continue to stay out of trouble outside of the cage, should go down as one of the sports all-time greats.
While Reyes has been an impressive story thus far in his rise in the UFC, he has yet to be in a five-round fight like he will (potentially) be in this Saturday night with someone of Jones’ stature, who also possesses a 7.5″ reach advantage on Reyes. On the other side of the octagon, Jones has gone the distance of five rounds in six of his last eight fights, and there potentially has been no fighter in the history of the UFC more equipped for a 25-minute war than Jones. With this being his potential last fight in the division, I expect a springboard type performance to set the scene for the heavyweight competition.