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wandshogun09

UFC 247: Jones vs Reyes - Feb 8 🇺🇸

Who wins and how?   

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Back on PPV on Saturday 8th February. And the Octagon is back in Houston, Texas. 

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PPV MAIN CARD
Jon Jones vs Dominick Reyes - Light Heavyweight Title

Valentina Shevchenko vs Katlyn Chookagian - Flyweight Title

Justin Tafa vs Juan Adams 

Mirsad Bektic vs Dan Ige

Derrick Lewis vs Ilir Latifi

 

ESPN PRELIMS
Trevin Giles vs James Krause

Andrea Lee vs Lauren Murphy

Alex Morono vs Khaos Williams 

Miles Johns vs Mario Bautista 

 

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Journey Newson vs Domingo Pilarte

Andre Ewell vs Jonathan Martinez

Austin Lingo vs Youssef Zalal

 

I reckon that’ll be reshuffled yet and maybe there’s still a couple of fights to be added. Like 246, it’s not the strongest PPV, is it? Some good stuff on the undercard but it feels like basically Jon Jones headlining a Fight Night. 

 

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Jon Jones vs Dominick Reyes it is then. It was up in the air for a while who’d get this shot at Jones but here we are. Jones is starting to enter that Georges St Pierre territory now, where he’s fending off whole generations of challengers. And this fight with Reyes will signal the start of him taking on the next wave of contenders. 

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It’s been some journey. And not always a smooth one. But like him or not, Jon Jones is still the King Of 205 all these years later. We’re fast approaching a decade now of him sitting on the Light Heavyweight throne. In March it’ll be 9 years since he first became UFC champion by beating Shogun. Crazy. Since then he’s gone through all challengers. First he had to conquer those big names that came before him. Rampage, Machida, Rashad, Belfort and Sonnen all got dealt with. Then it was the next gen, the Cormier and Gustafsson battles. Add in wins over Glover, OSP, Smith etc and you’ve got a hell of a body of work. Yet he still found time to hit and run a pregnant woman, get popped for cocaine, get stripped of the title, win it back, and then there were those picograms...

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Just a pinch.

All this resulted in a few suspensions and layoffs and no doubt it cost him a fair bit in money he could’ve made if he’d been active. Plus just losing that cage time during the prime of his career. Who knows, if he hadn’t had those lengthy gaps, maybe we’d have seen that much talked about Jones vs Rumble fight. Or even Jones vs Cain. I don’t know. I just know that, although he’s a fucking prick, he’s one of the top few all-time greatest fighters and we all lost out by him not being able to get out of his own way during that dodgy 2015-2017 period. 

That aside, things have been better lately. We’ve had zero controversy with Jones since he returned from his last spell on the naughty step in 2018. And he’s been way more active as a result. We saw Jones fight 3 times in just 7 months this last year! Maybe too much actually because his last fight was probably the toughest of his career so far. 

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Jones went the distance with Brazilian bomber Thiago Santos at UFC 239 in July and barely held onto the gold with a split decision victory. It was a really hard fought, bruising battle and a lot of people had Santos winning. Jones retained in the end though. Both came out of it worse for wear. 

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After that, it wasn’t clear who was next in line for Jonny Bones. Usually after a close decision like this, the immediate rematch would be an option. But Santos was out having both knees operated on. He’s still on the shelf as I type this. So Jones sat out the rest of 2019 and let the top fights in the division play out.

Meanwhile, a bunch of new faces had emerged in the Light Heavyweight division. And one of the standouts was Dominick Reyes. 

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He came into the UFC with an undefeated record of 6-0 with 5 finishes. And on top of that he was still in his late 20s and was a legitimate 205er standing 6’4”. It was way early to be comparing him to Jones but in terms of size and body type, naturally the comparisons were made. He entered the Octagon and quickly rattled off 2 first round wins in 2017. In 2018 he stepped up a couple of levels with wins over Jared Cannonier and OSP. He followed that by barely squeaking past Volkan Oezdemir in February last year. Then it was time for a big headline matchup. 

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He was put in his first UFC main event in October against former Middleweight champ Chris Weidman. Now Reyes was expected to win. Weidman was coming up in weight and hadn’t looked good in a while. But there was still the question of how Reyes would handle the spotlight, the extra pressure and Weidman’s wrestling. 

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It didn’t matter. He put Weidman down with a counter left hand and finished him with ground strikes. All done and dusted in 1:43. 

By early November, the most commonly talked about names in the running for Jones were Jan Blachowicz, Corey Anderson and Dominick Reyes. Jones was undecided who he wanted to face. Reyes was pushing hard for it in interviews and on Twitter. 

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Reyes also had a few pops at Jones, saying Jones was ‘scared to fight him’ and calling him a PED user. But when the fight was made official, Reyes suddenly started trying to be nice. Jones wasn’t having any of it. 

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So we’re set. Jones vs Reyes. It’s a tricky one. Every bit of logic is telling me Jones mops the floor with him. Reyes is a good fighter but I’m not seeing him as the guy to stop Jones’ reign. But you just never know with undefeated fighters. Maybe he’s about to be exposed or maybe we haven’t even scratched the surface and there’s much more to him than we’ve seen so far. He’s at least got the size and power to potentially make it competitive.

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What do you lot reckon? Do Jones’ last few fights make you think he might be slowing down slightly? Is Reyes the one? Or is it business as usual and Jones just outclasses him?

 

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Valentina Shevchenko vs Katlyn Chookagian co-mains. Not the most interesting of title fights. But I’m always up for watching the Big Valbowski do her thing.

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Shevchenko is a sniper. Big fan of ‘The Bullet’. Her fighting style and her whole demeanour. She’s got that calm, stone cold killer vibe like Ivan Drago or Cro Cop in his prime. If not for Amanda Nunes, she’d be the best female fighter in MMA right now. Says a lot that she went a total of 8 rounds with Nunes and, not only never got stopped, she was mega competitive. Since she’s dropped to Flyweight she’s been even better. Yeah, her last fight against Liz Carmouche was dull but before that she’d kicked Jessica Eye’s head off and dominated Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She’s 18-3 now, on top of a 56-3 Kickboxing record, a 2-0 Boxing record and black-belts in Taekwondo and Judo. She’s a bloody assassin.

Chookagian is decent. I’ve never been overly impressed by her but she’s got a respectable 13-2 record (her 2 defeats were both split decisions) and has some fairly solid wins over the likes of Joanne Calderwood, Irene Aldana and Alexis Davis. Problem is, you need a bit more than ‘decent’ and ‘fairly solid’ to beat Shevchenko. I could be wildly underestimating her but I’ve seen nothing about her game that should really trouble Shevchenko. I think the champ has the advantage in all areas. Let’s be honest, Chookagian is only getting this shot because of the lack of challengers at 125lbs. Which is why if Shev wins here and Zhang Weili beats Joanna, I think they’ll rush straight to a Shevchenko vs Zhang superfight. Probably not ideal but at that point it’d probably be the most appealing fight for them both and obviously for the UFC too.

 

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Justin Tafa vs Juan Adams. Two big bastards who hit hard and both are coming off knockout losses. Either this’ll be another fast finish or they’ll stink the place out trying to play safe to secure the win. Tafa is Australian, 3-1 with 3 knockouts. Made his UFC debut in October and got sparked out cold by Yorgan De Castro in a round. Adams is 5-2. He went 5-0 with 5 knockouts at the beginning of his MMA career, came to the UFC and it’s all gone tits up. Was especially disappointed that he lost to Greg Hardy. Hopefully this is a good old Heavyweight brawl.

 

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Mirsad Bektic vs Dan Ige will probably go under the radar but it could well be the FOTN. These two don’t fuck about. Bektic is from Bosnia and has a 13-2 record. He’s always aggressive and is probably mostly known for his fight with Darren Elkins in 2017. He was absolutely wrecking Elkins the whole fight, only for Elkins to pull off a mad comeback KO in the third round. One of the craziest comebacks over the last few years. Bektic had looked like a killer before that as well. Ige is Hawaiian, 12-2 and coming off 4 wins on the trot. Like Bektic, he’s an attacking fighter and always goes for the kill. Don’t want to jinx it but with these guys’ styles, I’d be surprised if they don’t bag some bonus money for this one.

 

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Derrick Lewis vs Ilir Latifi in a battle of true UKFF favourites. Had no idea this was even booked until now. Or that Latifi was moving up to Heavyweight! Not sure how that’ll pan out for him. He’s a funny shape. He’s got the powerful build but he’ll be on the short side. It’s a fun fight though. Adding the Black Beast to any card is an instant boost. He’s coming off a win in an entertaining slobberknocker against Blagoy Ivanov at MSG. Latifi got battered by Volkan Oezdemir in his last fight. This move to Heavyweight feels like desperation to me more than anything but hopefully he does alright. Can’t see past a Lewis win and another class post-fight promo.

 

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Antonio Arroyo vs Trevin Giles was originally booked for the São Paulo card in November but Giles pulled out. Arroyo ended up getting messed about with more opponent switches and ended up losing a decision to Andre Muniz. Hopefully this one stays intact this time and we get a better look at him. He’s 9-3 with 8 finishes. Giles is 11-2 and lost his last 2 fights by submission. Got to think that something Arroyo will look to exploit. Giles is dangerous though. He went 11-0 with 10 finishes initially in his career. 

 

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Andrea Lee vs Lauren Murphy I’m not overly fussed about. Lee’s OK, she’s got some nice boxing from what I remember. 11-3 record coming off a points loss to Joanne Calderwood on the Abu Dhabi PPV in September. She was riding a 7 fight winning streak prior to that though. Murphy’s been around a while, 36 years old now with a record of 11-4. Former Invicta Bantamweight champion. Not a bad fight. Not arsed though.

 

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Alex Morono vs Khaos Williams might be worth a look. Haven’t been too fussed with Morono in the past but he’s on a decent little 3 fight streak at the moment and he looked great in his win over Max Griffin in October. Williams is making his Octagon debut here, stepping in to replace an injured Dhiego Lima. Can’t say I’ve ever heard of Williams. His name can’t actually be Khaos though, surely? Looking him up he’s 8-1 with 5 finishes and has done a little bit of Boxing. Boxrec has him at 2-0.

 

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Miles Johns vs Mario Bautista. Don’t think I’ve seen either man fight before. Sounds alright on paper. Johns is 25 years old and is yet another one of Dana’s Contenders. He’s 10-0 and beat Cole Smith in his UFC debut on the Gaethje vs Cerrone undercard in September. Bautista is 7-1 with 5 finishes. His only loss was to Cory Sandhagen.

 

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Journey Newson vs Domingo Pilarte, I haven’t seen enough of either to give much of a fuck in all honesty. They’re both 8-2. Newson lost his MMA debut to Ricardo Ramos in June. Pilarte was on a 5 fight win streak before dropping a split decision last time out. Meh. Maybe it’ll surprise us. 

 

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Andre Ewell vs Jonathan Martinez might be decent. I’ve quite enjoyed the fights I’ve seen out of Ewell so far. Doubt he ever moves very far up the card but he’s fun for prelim filler. His nickname is ‘Mr Highlight’ for fuck’s sake. You better not be boring with that tag. He’s 15-6 now. Has a win over Renan Barao but has losses to Nathaniel Wood and Marlon Vera sprinkled in there. Martinez is 11-2. Hasn’t beat anyone all that impressive yet but he’s won 4 of his last 5 and scored a big knee KO in his last outing.

 

And that’s all folks. 

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Edited by wandshogun09

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14 hours ago, wandshogun09 said:

What do you lot reckon? Do Jones’ last few fights make you think he might be slowing down slightly? Is Reyes the one? Or is it business as usual and Jones just outclasses him?

On paper, Reyes has the size and kicking game to give Jones problems. Especially if Jones underestimates him or doesn't follow his corners instructions. I actually think Reyes has a better chance than almost all of Jones' recent opponents (I didn't give Santos a hope in hell beforehand)

Mind you, I, and others, said all this about the Gusty rematch, yet Jones put on once of the best performances of his career. Yes, Gusty perhaps didn't fight to his best that evening, but the way Jones fought, especially with how he finished Gusty on the ground, was very commendable. 

If pressed, I think Reyes gives Jones some issues early on. Jackson then calls a audible between rounds, and Jones follows through with it and takes over from there. Give me Jones by a 4 rounds to 1 decision, or late stoppage. 

Edited by jimufctna24

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15 hours ago, jimufctna24 said:

On paper, Reyes has the size and kicking game to give Jones problems.

I thought so as well, but when I saw them both at the press conference I realised the sheer difference between them. Jones in person is a huge individual. He's not just a big guy, he's a big athletic looking guy. I've never seen anyone like that before. Reyes looked tall, but didn't have the same look build-wise as Jones does. He's a fucking unit for sure.

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Yeah, it’s always amazed me how Jones has made 205 with no problem all his career. For years there’s been people who’ve said he should move up and that he has an unfair advantage at 205 but as far as I recall he’s never had an issue making the LHW limit. As long as you’re making weight and passing the drug test, there’s really no such thing as an unfair advantage. You look at him though and physically he easily matches up to say a Stipe or JDS. He’d be slightly smaller and giving up some strength and power but he wouldn’t be dwarfed or anything. Power’s never been his game anyway, he’s admitted as much himself. It’s the only thing he doesn’t really have as a fighter. 

In looking at Jones’ last couple of fights, going the distance with Smith and squeaking by Santos, I was thinking is he maybe finally starting to slow down a bit? But as much as I love Santos and was impressed with his performance that night, I honestly think there might’ve been a bit of burnout in play on Jones’ side. Like I said, that was his third fight in 7 months. He fought Gustafsson in December 2018, then turned right back around for Anthony Smith in March 2019, then had the Santos fight in July. And it’s not just the fights, it’s those 3 training camps back-to-back-to-back. This little few months off he’s had might’ve done him the world of good. 

On paper, Reyes has some tools that you’d think could give Jones grief. And with undefeated fighters you can’t always tell what the ceiling on their potential is. He could be way better than he’s shown so far, or maybe he’s already peaked. But I don’t know. He’s still a bit of an unknown quantity for me. He’s criticised Jones for fighting 185ers in his last 2 fights but then he faced Weidman last time out. We haven’t even seen him face many good, legit 205ers. His best win to date is probably Oezdemir yet most thought Oezdemir should’ve got the decision. The OSP win was good, fair enough. The Cannonier win looks good in hindsight because of what Cannonier has done since but that’s since dropping to 185. Reyes beat him at 205 and Cannonier wasn’t the same guy at that weight. I don’t know. Reyes for me just hasn’t had that one standout performance where I’ve thought ‘man, maybe he’s the next guy’. It feels more like he’s getting the shot because he’s got an undefeated record and because Johnny Walker lost and Corey Anderson is dull. 

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I think Jones does what he needs to do in order to win to be honest. He doesn't really put in a prime Anderson Silva-esque performance all that often, he's more about clinical efficiency. It's not so much about him being eye-catching, it's the way he seems able to take the strengths of his opponents and nullify them.

As far as size goes, he looks like he could easily make heavyweight and come in at around 245lbs or so. Actually, the idea of him being even bigger and stronger is quite frightening. 

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Jones was probably complacent against Smith and Santos (IMO). He committed a foul in the later rounds against Smith, which could have cost him the fight. Smith never gave Jones any real issues throughout the fight. Hence, why I think Jones became a bit reckless and almost got DQ'd

Against Santos, it's been speculated that his corner wanted him to take Santos down. Yet, Jones chose to ignore his corner and continued to strike with Santos. Perhaps Jones felt he was doing enough and was unaware that Santos was actually running him close. When Gusty had him in trouble in the early stages of the first fight, Jones was fully aware of the situation and followed his corner's advice from round 3 onward. The change in tactics his corner initiated probably saved him from a loss on that occasion. Or perhaps he just doesn't care as much as he used to, and that's why he ignored his corner's advice against Santos. Who knows? 

Jones has actually been better at 205lbs when he's slimmed down a bit. Before the OSP fight, he packed on a lot of additional muscle. This muscle came at the expense of his cardio. 

Jackson said this immediately after that fight:

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Powerlifting’s a problem. He gasses. I only want to do an I-told-you-so dance right now.

What he would look like at heavyweight, where he wouldn't have to cut weight, is another matter. A sub-par Jones is probably good enough to beat almost every ranked heavyweight in the UFC. However, someone like Miocic, who is very talented fighter and has a team that devises very good strategies for him to follow, could realistically give him problems. 

Edited by jimufctna24

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no ones mentioned it, but Rivera/Vera is off. Rivera injured. Lima/Morono is off too.

 

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This is less than a week out then. Not the best card but it’s decent enough and at least it’s on normal BT Sport and not Box Office.

Can’t see past Jones and Shev retaining their belts in the top two fights but I’m looking forward to watching it all the same. Rivera vs Vera being off is shit but at there’s still Bektic vs Ige and Lewis vs Latifi. Main card’s alright. 

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Yeah I'd be astonished at an upset in either of the title fights. I'm not sure I can see a way Reyes can beat Jones, unless Jones makes a big mistake, or suffers a crucial injury mid fight or some other unlikely scenario. Saying that, going in I only gave Santos a glimmer of hope based on the sheer violence level he can bring to the table. In the end I scored that fight for Santos, although it was ridiculously close I think and wasn't at all surprised that Jones got the nod based on the action. 

Jones getting a bit of a wake up call against Santos will prove to be Reyes undoing here I think. Jones seemed complacent in that fight and just narrowly snuck away with the win. I can't see him being as willing to assume he's ahead on the cards if this fight looks to go the distance. I see him stopping Reyes in the 3rd or 4th. 

As for Shev, she's not losing another fight for years unless she decides to fight Amanda Nunes again. Shevchenko to win, and easily. By way of ground strikes in the second or third maybe. 

Hopefully Lewis can add another win to the column and keep ticking over. I don't want to see him fight Blaydes next though. That looks to be a clear win for Blaydes via repeated takedown and subsequent Lewis exhaustion. I'd love to see Lewis knock Greg Hardy's teeth into Bruce Buffer's lap. 

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That’s a hell of a KO. But obviously, it’s one thing doing it to that guy and then another thing entirely trying doing it to Jon Jones. Like, I’m a fan of Alexey Oleynik but it goes without saying that him pulling off the Ezekiel choke of doom against Stipe would be way more difficult than he’s finding it against the lower level heavies. Not a knock, and I’d like to see Reyes make a good fight of it. But you can play that game with any fighter if you cherry pick from their early fights. The observations about the timing and stuff mean nothing because of course it’s going to be way easier to time some part time Lidl shelf stacker than it is to time one of the best fighters in MMA history. 

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12 hours ago, wandshogun09 said:

The observations about the timing and stuff mean nothing because of course it’s going to be way easier to time some part time Lidl shelf stacker than it is to time one of the best fighters in MMA history. 

I read Gross' comments as an endorsement of Reyes' demeanour. In the video, he wasn't thrown off by his opponent's taunts, and neither did he act surprise when he caught him. In turn, Gross implies that if Reyes can find success against Jones, which is a massive if, that he is a smooth enough operator to capitalise and give Jones problems. 

Now, I haven't seen many of Reyes' fights. In fact, the only fight of his I remember viewing was against Weidman. However, I have read that Reyes is a good kicker, and kicks seem to be the decent weapon to use against Jones (see the rematch with DC and the Santos fight as examples). 

Of course, I expect Jones to win this weekend. I will never bet against Jones, other than perhaps against Miocic. But I am more hopeful that Reyes can give him  a competitive fight than I was with most of Jones' past opponents.

Edited by jimufctna24

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I always feel Jones' complacement, relaxed nature to fighting is gonna cost him one day, he always finds a way though and still usually makes it look pretty comfortable. If Reyes can stay mentally in the fight when he isnt getting the same kinds of success he usually finds himself having he could do it though, Jones just has that ability to shut people down and break a guys spirit.

Thoughts are here nor there for the co-main event, can't recall seeing Chookagian fight. On paper looks like a routine defence for Valentina.

The two heavyweight fights on the main card should be fun.

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I think it’s being mostly forgotten as well that just last year Reyes was taken to the wire by Volkan Oezdemir and it seemed a good chunk of people who watched it felt like Oezdemir should’ve got the decision that night. And bear in mind, that was the only time we’ve seen him in with a real fringe top 205er. Weidman was a 185er on shite form who was moving up out of desperation. And Cannonier wasn’t anywhere near as effective at 205 as he is now at Middleweight.

I can see it being competitive. These days, Jones doesn’t just blow through opponents as regularly as he used to. The Gustafsson rematch was the last time he just breezed through someone and made it look easy. I can see Reyes having his moments. But I really don’t think he’s the guy. I think in some cases of the MMA media bigging him up, there’s a bit of a hedging bets thing going on. They won’t outright predict a Reyes win because they don’t actually believe in it. But even if they just say they think he’ll give Jones a harder fight than people think, if he does win they can say ‘well, I did say....’ 

Edit - I forgot that Reyes also fought OSP. My bad. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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