Jon Jones is finally back! The former light heavyweight champion makes his long awaited return to the octagon tonight for UFC 197. Jones will take on Ovince Saint Preux, who steps in on short notice for the injured Daniel Cormier. While the loss of Cormier and the title fight hurts, this still remains a terrific card.
In the co-main event flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson goes up against Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo. The fight I'm most looking forward to is in the lightweight division where former champion Anthony Pettis takes on Edson Barboza in tonight's third fight. The card rounds out with Ultimate Fighter: Latin America winner Yair Rodriguez taking on Andre Fili and Robert Whittaker vs. Rafael Natal.
Let's be honest, the only suspense in the Jones fight is which round will it end? There isn't a single thing Saint Preux is better at in the octagon than Jones. I see the first two minutes of the fight being competitive when Saint Preux has the best chance to surprise Jones with a lucky one punch knockout. The longer the fight goes on, the worse it's going to be for Saint Preux. Ovince doesn't have much in the gas tank to begin with, and the longer the fight lasts, the more damage he's going to take. My hope is for Jon Jones to limit the amount of damage he takes, make quick work of Saint Preux and gear up for Daniel Cormier at UFC 200.
Demetrious Johnson is looking to defend the flyweight championship for the eighth time as he takes on Henry Cejudo. Johnson is as technically sound as anybody in the sport. His gas tank is always full no matter what round he's in, and the longer the fight goes on the worse it is for his opponents. Obviously, Henry Cejudo has skills, after all he is an Olympic gold medalist. I just don't think he has enough experience to deal with everything Johnson is going to come at him with. I think Cejudo comes out of this fight a much smarter and better fighter. Unfortunately, this just isn't his time.
Anthony Pettis vs. Edson Barboza is the fight of the night in my opinion. Barboza needs to win this fight in order to prove he belongs with elite of the division. Pettis needs the fight to get back into title contention after losing a controversial decision to Eddie Alvarez. This is a tough fight to predict, but I think Barboza's better striking ability and faster pace, not to mention the fact Pettis doesn't pressure, gets him the decision.
Jon Jones (21-1) vs. Ovince Saint Preux (19-7) Current Line: Jones -650, Preux +475 Pick: Jones by TKO
Demetrious Johnson (22-2-1) vs. Henry Cejudo (10-0) Current Line: Johnson -400, Cejudo +320 Pick: Johnson by decision
Anthony Pettis (18-4) vs. Edson Barboza (16-4) Current Line: Petis -165, Barboza +145 Pick: Barboza by decision
Robert Whittaker (16-4) vs. Rafael Natal (21-6-1) Current Line: Whittaker -320, Nata +260 Pick: Whittaker by TKO
Yair Rodriguez (7-1) vs. Andre Fili (15-3) Current Line: Rodriguez -125, Fili +105 Pick: Fili by decision
Enjoy the fights!
The Fighting Champion
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