In a perfect world this would be a UFC 151 preview of Bones vs Hendo. Instead, one bum knee and a fight cancellation later we'll get a UFC Light Heavyweight matchup between Vitor Belfort and Jon Jones.
Jones will enter the Octagon on the 22nd a huge favorite. But does that mean Vitor doesn't have a puncher's chance of winning? Of course not.
In the past six years, Vitor has only three losses coming at the hands of Anderson Silva, Dan Henderson and Alistair Overeerm. So needless to say, the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion will give the incumbent all he can handle.
Let's look at how they stack up against each other.
|Avg Fight Time||10:53||8:00|
If there's one weakness in the game of Jon Jones it's his striking.
That also happens to be the strength of Vitor Belfort. "Bones" will enjoy a very comfortable 10.5" reach advantage over "The Phenom," though Vitor is no stranger to having been on the wrong side of that stat. In his last three wins, he's been at a disadvantage, but he finished all three fights.
Vitor is known for his fast and powerful hands that had Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin staring up at the ceiling before the end of the night. Vitor looks for an opening and rushes his opponent, using the punches in bunches theory to overwhelm his opponent. With 12 KO/TKO victories due to punches, it's safe to say that the theory works. Vitor lands 1.39 significant strikes per minute and is 48.2 percent accurate with his strikes.
Jones likes to use a soft jab to set the distance as well as push kicks to the knee. He enjoys mixing in spinning attacks to throw his opponents off guard and to stay unpredictable. He has a very open stance that allows him to throw kicks from unorthodox positions. Because of this he lands 3.9 significant strikes per 15 minutes. He's also 51.3 percent accurate on his strikes.
Advantage—Vitor Belfort. Jones has the reach, but Belfort has the speed. Speed kills.
When it comes to grappling, not many do it as effectively as Jon "Bones" Jones. One of his main advantages is that the fight usually takes place where he wants it to.
Jones completes 62.9 percent of his takedown attempts and defends 100 percent of takedowns attempted on him. In comparison, Vitor lands 60 percent of his takedowns and stuffs 54 percent of the ones attempted on him. What these numbers say is that if Jones wants the fight to go to the ground then that's exactly where it's going.
The key to this fight will not be if, but when Jon Jones decides to go for a takedown. Even though he is a Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, Vitor will not want this fight to hit the ground. He's looking to keep this one on the feet in order to use the one advantage he has in his fast hands.
That's a lot easier said than done.
Can Jon Jones take a punch?
Most would say that he's proven that against Machida when he was caught midway through the first round. I wouldn't be so sure.
As was mentioned in an earlier slide, when Vitor sees an opening, he enters all-out attack mode. His combined speed and power can give Jones a real problem if he gets in to tag him.
Styles make fights, and Jon Jones has a tendency to stand in front of his opponents for the first few minutes and test out his new striking moves.
I'm thinking this fight is going to look a lot like Matt Serra vs GSP. I see Jones leaving an opening for Vitor and ending the night by staring up at the lights.
Unless Jones comes out looking to take Belfort down and deliver punishing elbows, I only see this fight going one way.
Prediction—Vitor Belfort by TKO (punches) at 4:00 of the first round.