Ahead of every UFC battle card, Jay Primetown of all MMAOddsBreaker.com takes a look at some of the key contests at each function. In the latest installment, we look at UFC 214’s blockbuster main event as Jon Jones returns to the Octagon to confront Daniel Cormier in 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 very best light heavyweights of all time. Of his 20 bouts, the only time that he saw defeat was to Jones at the first meeting. Since that setback in 2015, Cormier has won four consecutive bouts, with successes over Alexander Gustafsson, Anthony Johnson (twice) and Anderson Silva.
Being undersized has never been an issue for Cormier in MMA. He actually made a name for himself in Strikeforce, beating the likes of Josh Barnett and Antonio Silva to be the final heavyweight champion in the business before it was acquired by the UFC. Once 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 rarely had a problem with opponents even giving up to a foot at reach and six inches in height.
Cormier is strong. He lands 3.78 significant strikes per minute despite absorbing only 2.07. He secures almost two takedowns per 15 minutes in the cage with an impressive 42 percent success rate on takedowns. Cormier has very good footwork for the weight class and does nicely to shut space and force opponents to fight at close range. He doesn’t possess the knockout power to put quality competitions off early, but he has a very good chin, forcing opponents into a physical, energy draining bout. He is shown to be one of the toughest fighters to handle in a cage within 25 minutes.
Jon Jones (Record: 22-1, -255 Favorite, Power Ranking: A++)
The 30-year-old Endicott, New York native is one of the best mixed martial artists of all all-time. In 23 fights, his hand was raised in all but one of these games. The lone time it wasn’t increased was because of a disqualification in a fight he was winning . Jones returns to action for the first time as an April 2016 decision win over Ovince Saint Preux, This fight will truly clean out any applicable contenders in his weight class.
The Jackson’s MMA merchandise is the very best fighter in the world for many reasons. To start, physically he is very talented because his 84.5-inch reach is right near the surface of the game. Jones uses his span very nicely, as he lands a whopping 2.25 more important strikes a second than he absorbs. He places him right near the top of this UFC in that category too. He combines that with 94 percent takedown defense, making him difficult to hit and hard to take to the mat.
Jones combines that defensive prowess with a creative striking game by means of a great deal of unorthodox kicks. On the ground, Jones has as brutal of ground-and-pound as anybody in MMA. He delivers barbarous elbows in top controller and is capable of completing in any struggle with that position. Jones has invested a lot of time on the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu mats in his time away from MMA and it is certainly possible he incorporates a significant submission grappling focus to his own MMA prowess.
In the most anticipated MMA bout of 2017, the former winner Jones returns to reclaim his light heavyweight championship against the current champ Cormier. Within their first bout, the fight was fairly even after two rounds, but Jones’ body work actually started to pay dividends in the next round, since he actually began to out-land Cormier to win a determination. What’s more, Jones even out-grappled Cormier, securing three takedowns compared to the one his rival had from the bout.
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