Jon Jones makes the latest defence of his UFC light-heavyweight title when takes on Dominick Reyes in the main event of UFC 247 on February 8. Will it be another routine defence for ‘Bones’ or can Reyes shock the world?
Road To Jon Jones v Dominick Reyes
Jon Jones has gone 3-0 since returning from a drugs ban at the end of 2018, and although that run has seen him regain and successfully defend the light-heavyweight crown, it would not be unfair to say that ‘Bones’ has been a mixed bag. His comeback fight was impressive – Jones had been taken to the limit by Alexander Gustafsson in September 2013 and many felt that the Swede had done enough to get the nod from the judges after an epic five-round war. They came down on the side of Jones instead, but when the two men met again in December 2018 there would be no need for the men at ringside as ‘Bones’ dominated and stopped ‘The Mauler’ inside three rounds to claim the vacant light-heavyweight title.
A unanimous decision victory over Anthony Smith followed as Jones’ five-round dominance of the contest allowed him to overcome having points deducted for illegal knees, but it was an underwhelming performance from the champion and his next outing would be even less impressive. Thiago Santos fought much of the fight on one leg after suffering an injury in the first roun, but Jones showed a complete lack of killer instinct as he conservatively cruised through the rounds and it was an approach that almost backfired as one judge gave the challenge the nod. Had a second gone with Santos then Jones would not be champion right now, but the other two judges sided with the champion to hand him a split decision win – the first time he had not won a fight by stoppage or unanimous decision.
While Jones was failing to produce fireworks inside the Octagon, Reyes was continuing his climb up the light-heavyweight ladder by improving his professional record to 12-0, compiling a perfect 6-0 record under the UFC banner with four wins coming via stoppage. The 30-year-old made a spectacular start to life in the UFC by earning a ‘performance of the night’ bonus for his 29-second knockout of Joachim Christensen, and that victory would the first of three consecutive first-round stoppage wins that saw his stock build rapidly. Reyes then bested both Ovince Saint Preux and Volkan Oezdemir over three rounds to put himself in the title picture, and a shot at the belt was secured when he took less than two minutes to knock out former middleweight champion Chris Weidman last October.
But as impressive as he has been so far in his career, is Reyes ready for this challenge? Knocking out a washed up former middleweight champion is one thing, but taking on and dethroning a man who many believe is the greatest fighter the UFC has ever seen is completely different challenge? Nobody has managed to completely solve the Jon Jones puzzle, so could his latest challenger be that man? Read on for our free Jon Jones v Dominick Reyes UFC 247 predictions & tips…
Jon Jones v Dominick Reyes Tips
Is Jones on the wane or is there perhaps a motivation issue that has preventing us from seeing the very best of the light-heavyweight champion? ‘Bones’ has been seeking out a big fight for quite some time and with all due respect to the men filling the top five slots in the light-heavyweight rankings, none of those fights jump off the page with the exception of another bout with Daniel Cormier. And even then, how many times do we need to see Jones get the better of his heated rival? If Jones really wants a big money bout then he needs to either make the jump to heavyweight or tempt middleweight champion Israel Adesanya to step up for a crack at becoming the latest two-weight champion in the UFC. But if either of those things is to happen then Jones needs to have his hand raised on February 8 and an impressive performance would not go amiss.
Reyes will certainly fancy his chances of springing an upset here and why wouldn’t he? Jones has looked a shadow of the man who ran roughshod over the light-heavyweight division before other ‘issues’ knocked his career off track. Reyes is a great athlete with good wrestling and plenty of power in his punches, and if he can rock Jones early this could get interesting. However, Jones has more than proven that he can take a big punch and when it comes down to it he is simply the better fighter in all aspects of the game. It will take more than good wrestling and a big punch to end the champion’s reign. The outcome of this fight will largely be dictated by Jones’ mentality. If he is up for it then he should win this in pretty convincing fashion, but if he goes through the motions like he has done previously then we could see another uninspiring 25 minutes from the champion. Either way he should leave with the belt, and given how his last two outings have gone I believe we are for another five-rounder from the champion in which he never looks like losing the title but, on the flip side, never really looks like adding a highlight reel finish either.
UFC 247: Inside The Octagon
In this episode John Gooden and Dan Hardy breakdown the light-heavyweight title bout at UFC 247 between Champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones and challenger Dominick ‘The Devastator’ Reyes.
Successful title defences over Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos in 2019 saw Jones end the decade as both light-heavyweight champion and pound-for-pound king, and now he steps into the Octagon for the first time in 2020 with a clear vision of cementing his place as the sport’s greatest of all time.
Emerging as a standout from a new generation in the light-heavyweight division, Reyes has blazed his way to a perfect 12-0 record and ‘The Devastator’s power striking has now earned him a shot at UFC gold.
Will Jon Jones’ reign come to an end at UFC 247 or will Dominick Reyes be yet another who bows to the king?
Jones v Reyes Tips: Experts Offer UFC 247 Predictions
UFC featherweight title contender Shane Burgos talking to the TSN MMA Show: “You can’t pick against Jon Jones. You know what I mean? You can’t pick against him, you just can’t. He doesn’t stop winning and the biggest hole I would say would be in his boxing and he’s really cleaned that up lately and he’s using his reach a lot better. I got to go with Jon Jones. I feel like his last couple fights haven’t been his best performances, [but] I feel like he’s going to be fighting to get that finish, get that respect he hasn’t really been getting. The fights with Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith… it didn’t look like he was hungry to really get in there and finish. When he fought ‘Shogun’ [Rua] to win the belt, doing all the title defenses against Rashad [Evans], Rampage [Jackson] and [Lyoto] Machida, he looked like a killer. He looked like he was on a mission to finish those fights. From the first bell to the last. In his last couple fights, he’s been content just to go to decisions and win rounds.”
Jones v Reyes Tips: UFC 247 Fighter Predictions
Jon Jones: “I’m going to have a great 2020, and it’s going to start off by destroying Dominick. You [knocked out Chris Weidman. He’s been knocked out so many times. Good job. I don’t have to knock out people. I don’t have to knock out people. The only way you can possibly win this fight is to catch me with a left. We all know that. I could submit you, I could out-wrestle you, I can kickbox you to death. I’m going to get you. I’m going to get you, Dominick. You know it. You’re a one-trick pony. We saw your highlight reel. It was straight left, straight left, straight left.”
Dominick Reyes talking to Submission Radio: “His trash talk is brother trash talk. I have brothers, he has brothers. When you have a bunch of brothers and you guys are all around and it’s competition there constantly. It’s little jabs, it’s little shots about their biggest insecurities just to mess with them and get them mad. He’s like a little kid. It’s the exact same like trash talking. It’s kind of childish. It is what it is. I just think it’s funny because I don’t care. Say whatever you want. It’s not going to help you, it’s not going to save you.”