MMA Betting Futures: UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones

Jon Jones MMAIt was a well-hyped fight, but one that played out perhaps even more one-sided than imagined.  The always vocal Chael Sonnen had talked his way into a title shot at 205 lbs, yet champion Jon Jones wasn’t impressed by the verbal acrobatics, and certainly wasn’t impressed by Sonnen’s skills.  Landing shots in the clinch and easily winning the wrestling battle, Jones broke a toe, but absolutely dispatched his opponent with little danger and maximum damage.

Now, with the dust having settled, we’ll take a look at some of Jones upcoming options, with an eye towards some long-term wagers, using my own comparison betting odds as a benchmark.

Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida 2:

Jones -480


One of the only fighters to win a round against Jon Jones in a title fight, Lyoto Machida was never-the-less harshly dispatched in his title run, having been sucked into a lethal guillotine.  Making a comeback with a fantastic one punch KO counter against Ryan Bader, Machida faced aging warrior Dan Henderson for a supposed number one contender fight.  While the show was lacking in action, Machida worked his vintage game plan of low-output and high-impact counter striking to take a close decision over Henderson, ushering him into another title shot.

This is a case where Machida’s skill set simply doesn’t match up to his opponents, leaving him with almost no outs to win this fight.  Used to engaging from the outside, Machida’s lack of size means he has to leap into Jones’ wheelhouse to attack, falling into range of Jones’ murderous elbows and leaving the champ the ability to clinch if needed.  With Machida’s lack of KO power, this means he has to fight an absolutely perfect match to even hope to snatch a decision here, and short of a few surprises by Machida, this would end up as a route.  A game of cat and mouse ends with Jones laces Machida with elbows against the cage, putting Machida out cold for the second time.

Jon Jones vs. Gegard Mousasi:

Jones -400

Mousasi +300

A terror on the world MMA circuit across two weight classes, Mousasi has slowly worked his way into the Zuffa fold.  Having fought the lower-tier talent offered by Strikeforce in the LHW division, Mousasi had a great deal of success, but injuries and layoffs took a bit of the steam off of his rise to the top.  An injury to Alexander Gustafsson took away his main event title implication as well, but Mousasi adjusted to the dramatic change in opponents and defeated Ilir Lafti with a workmanlike performance, making a moderate case for the next title shot.

Mousasi is a Middleweight playing at Light Heavyweight, and skating on the fact that he’s a multi-level terror.  A complete boxer with a judoka’s power and base, Mousasi also brings crippling ground and pound and bottom game submissions to the fold, yet simply can’t stack up to elite level 205 lbers.  While his boxing and striking power are admirable, his lackluster footwork and lazy output make it difficult for him to dictate a match at this weight, and keeping larger opponents on the outside has proved too problematic for him against King Mo, Keith Jardine and Mike Kyle.  Against someone like Jones, he’ll be stuck well-outside striking range and lacks the alacrity to move forward and land.  His history of issues against top-level wrestlers would also rear its ugly head here, as Jones can easily plant Mousasi into the mat at will.  Short of a submission off of his back, Mousasi would be drawing dead here against Jones and be sent shuffling off to his appropriate weight class of 185 lbs.

Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones?

Cormier vs Mir at UFC on FOX 7

Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier:

Cormier -160

Jones +130

The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion, Cormier has only recently made the jump to UFC, yet has made waves immediately due to the possibility of a drop to Light Heavyweight.  Having dispatched title challenger Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and two former UFC Heavyweight champions in Barnett and Mir in his heavyweight run, his career looks bright even at his walking weight.  However, with main training partner, Cain Velasquez, having a hold on the UFC heavyweight strap, a win in Velasquez vs. Big Foot may signal a drop in weight by Cormier.

Even at 205 lbs, Cormier would give up a substantial amount of reach to Jones, yet the one aspect he brings is a superior clinch game to the champion.  Combining Cormier’s clinch wrestling prowess and the relative frames of both men, Jones would be literally unable to escape from the fence should Cormier close distance on him.  With his improving striking game, dirty boxing and the grinding pace he can set, Cormier could tax Jones’ cardio and resolve like no one else, all while avoiding the submissions that have made him so difficult to grapple.  Cormier’s cardio would be in question given his renal history and weight cut, but a fit Cormier with a proper weight cut could dethrone the champion with suffocation offense.

Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva:

Silva -200

Jones +160

One of the many super fights having been thrown around, Anderson Silva and Jon Jones makes one of the most compelling.  With both men having arguably cleaned out their respective divisions and Silva nearing retirement age, this is a fight that should happen sooner rather than later.  Provided both parties agree to it and Silva gets past Chris Weidman in his next title defense, we could be seeing this super fight at a major UFC show.

Just as Jon Jones is a horrid match for Lyoto Machia above, Anderson Silva may be a horrid match for Jones.  Having some of the heaviest hands in the fighting world, near supernatural evasion, and fast subs off of his back, there aren’t many places this fight can go where Jones isn’t in trouble.  While Jones has the obvious wrestling edge, a flaw in his fighting game has shown itself against Belfort and even against Chael Sonnen to a degree: He can’t get his arms out of submissions.  Long limbs are a double-edged sword in terms of offense and defense, and the near armbar win by Belfort showed exactly how vulnerable he is on that mat when not attacking from top.  Silva is a better bottom game specialist than Belfort ever was, and it makes Jone’s best chance of victory another danger zone for him.  Jones could certainly win a decision on superior pacing and doing just enough everywhere to score points, but Silva has most of the outs to finish, and I see an armbar finish early in this fight for the MW champion.

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Category: Betting, Exclusive, Featured, MMA, UFC

Mike Hammersmith (Featured Staff Writer)

About the Author ()

I'm a 20+ year veteran of martial arts and a fan of MMA since UFC 1, when my world was thrown on its head by the budding sport. I'm obsessive in the pursuit of martial abilities and have competed across the country in everything from Vale Tudo to archery to Scottish broadsword. Once my body broke down, I picked up a pen and went in the direction of writing. I specialize in betting advice, predictions, and I'm a walking encyclopedia of MMA trivia. I own a cafe in Exeter, NH called Hammersmith Sandwich Company and write out of my office between customers.

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