Ahead of every UFC battle card, Jay Primetown of MMAOddsBreaker.com takes a look at some of the key competitions at every event. In the most recent installment, we look at UFC 214’s blockbuster primary event as Jon Jones returns to the Octagon to face Daniel Cormier at a bitter grudge match to the light heavyweight championship.
Daniel Cormier (Record: 19-1, +235 Underdog, Power Ranking: A+)
The 38-year-old Olympic wrestler turned MMA fighter has turned into among the best light heavyweights of all time. Of his 20 bouts, the only time he watched defeat was to Jones at the first meeting. Since that blow in 2015, Cormier has won four consecutive bouts, with successes over Alexander Gustafsson, Anthony Johnson (twice) and Anderson Silva.
Being undersized hasn’t been an issue for Cormier in MMA. He really made a name for himself in Strikeforce, beating the likes of Josh Barnett and Antonio Silva to be the last heavyweight champion in the business before it was acquired by the UFC. After from the UFC, Cormier quickly transitioned to light and has become a Hall of Fame-caliber fighter. Despite being under six feet tall with merely a 72.5-inch reach, Cormier has seldom had an issue with competitions even giving up to a foot in reach and six inches in height.
Cormier is very strong. He lands 3.78 significant strikes per minute despite absorbing only 2.07. He enrolls almost two takedowns a 15 minutes in the cage with an astonishing 42 percent achievement rate on takedowns. Cormier has very good footwork for the weight class and does well to shut space and force opponents to fight him at close range. He does not have the knockout capability to put quality competitions away early, but he has an excellent chin, forcing opponents to a physical, energy draining bout. He’s shown to be one of the most difficult fighters to deal with in a cage over 25 minutes.
Jon Jones (Record: 22-1, -255 Favorite, Power Ranking: A++)
The 30-year-old Endicott, New York native is among the best mixed martial artists of all all-time. Back in 23 fights, his hand has been raised in all but one of these games. The only time it wasn’t raised was due to a disqualification in a fight he was winning decisively. Jones returns to action for the first time as an April 2016 conclusion win over Ovince Saint Preux, This fight will truly clean out any relevant contenders in his weight class.
The Jackson’s MMA product is the top fighter in the world for many reasons. To start, physically he is very gifted because his 84.5-inch reach is right near the surface of the sport. Jones uses his length very well, as he lands a whopping 2.25 more significant strikes a second than he consumes. He places him right near the top of the UFC in that category as well. He combines that with 94 percent takedown defense, which makes him hard to strike and difficult to take into the mat.
Jones combines that defensive prowess having a creative striking game by means of a great deal of unorthodox kicks. On the floor, Jones has as brutal of ground-and-pound as anybody in MMA. He delivers barbarous elbows at top controller and is capable of finishing in any fight from that position. Jones has invested a lot of time on the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu mats at his time off from MMA and it’s certainly possible he integrates a significant submission grappling attention to his own MMA prowess.
In the most expected MMA bout of 2017, the former champion Jones returns to recover his light heavyweight championship against the current champ Cormier. Within their first bout, the struggle was rather even after two rounds, but Jones’ body function actually started to pay dividends at the next round, as he actually began to out-land Cormier to win a decision. What’s more, Jones also out-grappled Cormier, securing three takedowns compared to the one his rival had from the bout.
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