After all the hoopla that was UFC 151, we turn our sights to UFC 152's main event between Vitor Belfort and Jon Jones. This is a fight fans won't want to miss.
Jones certainly hasn't endeared himself to fans since pummeling nearly all viable contenders at 205. It has been one setback after another when it comes to public relations. The man touted as the "Michael Jordan of MMA" has been a PR nightmare.
From his late night Bentley crash that resulted in a DWI charge to his refusal to fight Chael Sonnen as a late replacement at UFC 151, Jones has been deemed by many as arrogant and self-centered.
Worst of all, he refuses to apologize and continues to be a drama queen through it all. Saying that he'll bear the cross for what happened to UFC 151 was just another bad joke for his image at this point.
Fear not fight fans! All this drama and chaos should bring a glimmer of hope to all that wish to see "Bones" fall. If he is not 100 percent focused and ready on fight night, "The Phenom" has the tools to stop him in his tracks.
Jon Jones is a lot of things. He is unorthodox. He is precise. He is skilled. He is prepared. He is formulated in his attack. He is a great wrestler. He is crafty. Do not be fooled, he is NOT fast. Now, he is by no means slow.
He stays at a distance, uses his reach and mixes in kicks to keep fighters at bay. He doesn't try to slug it out, which is smart for a guy like Jones.
Vitor on the other hand likes to punch people, A LOT. His punches are accurate, fast and they come from all angles.
Yes, he's a counter puncher, but he has had no problem engaging (less his fight with Anderson Silva). Lyoto Machida figured out how to hit Jones in the first round of their title fight last year. If Vitor can use his speed in the same situation, look for him to run through an unsuspecting Jones.
UFC 152 is creeping up on us quickly. September 22 is only nine days away and Jon Jones is still speaking out about UFC 151. That tells me he is not as focused as he needs to be. Vitor Belfort is not Jones' toughest match to date, but it looks to be the one for which he's least prepared.
Jones can't afford to rest on his laurels and expect to see fighters crumble in front of him. Overlooking any trained fighter is a mistake, much less a fighter with a last name of Belfort.
If Jones is focused on anything besides this fight, he will lose. Gift wrapping a world championship is foolish and Jones is looking pretty foolish these days. If he's anything less than ready, Belfort will seize this opportunity and mark one of the greatest "upsets" in UFC history.
Jon Jones does not pack dynamite in his fists. Ergo, he relies on his anomalous limbs and grappling to set up brutal ground-and-pound or submissions. That gameplan will fail against a man like Belfort.
The Phenom has lost one time by submission and it was against Alistair Overeem in 2005 after nine-plus minutes of continuous fighting. Belfort is aggressive and knows how to defend against submissions.
Belfort should be able to negate this major aspect of Jones' strategy. Once that goes out the window it can go one of two ways. Jones can win by wrestling his way to a ho-hum victory, which will make the public hate him even more. Or, he will try to make an example out of Belfort by choosing to beat Belfort at his own game, brawling.
My bet is on brawling. And when it happens, Jones will become the example of what not to do when fighting Belfort.
Jon Jones has landed 285 strikes on his last five opponents. That is an astounding number. What may be more incredible is the fact that not one of those opponents went to sleep.
In fairness, Shogun was broken, bloodied and beaten into a TKO loss. He was done fighting cognitively after round one and knees to the body forced him to crumble.
In distinct contrast, Belfort has landed 47 strikes in his last five fights. Of those five fights, one was a loss to Anderson Silva and one was a submission victory over Anthony Johnson. Those fights accounted for 20 strikes. The remaining three fights and 27 strikes landed amounted to three opponents going to sleep.
Do the math on that. It's nine strikes per KO/TKO victory. Including the other two fights for fair presentation purposes, that's still 15.67 strikes per KO/TKO victory for Belfort as opposed to Jones' 285:1.
Moreover, each of Belfort's last five fights have ended in the first round. Jones has started much slower since reaching the summit of the light heavyweight heap. Don't get me wrong, he hasn't fought poorly in the first round.
If he starts slowly and Belfort can put hands on him, his run at the top will come to a screeching halt.
Why did I put a picture of Georges St. Pierre on this slide? He was on the losing end of the greatest upset in UFC title fight history. He lost to Matt Serra. Matt Serra was supposed to be a sacrificial lamb to the future of welterweight division. Instead, he defied logic and knocked out a fighter that was better than him in every single facet of the game.
Is it that unrealistic to say that Vitor Belfort has a better chance of beating Jon Jones? Absolutely not. Belfort has beaten big names. Serra's high point before knocking off St. Pierre was defeating Chris Lytle in the most boring standup fight ever.
At least Belfort can claim wins against Wanderlei Silva, Rich Franklin, Marvin Eastman, Heath Herring and Anthony Johnson. (I didn't include Randy Couture for fear of being lynched because a cut doesn't count.)
Jones has been dominant, but I don't see him as unbeatable. Or, at least not any more than I saw GSP. All the pressure is on Jones because everyone expects him to win.
Belfort can show up, let it all hang out and get beat like he's never been beat before. It won't make a difference because he is fighting on short-ish notice, he's moving up a weight class and he's fighting the UFC's equivalent of Hercules.
Jones, on the other hand, is expected to annihilate anyone the UFC puts in front of him. "Bones", the UFC's face for Nike, is supposed to destroy Belfort and go to church the following morning. Anything short of that will be a disappointment and he knows that.
In conclusion, Jones will be fighting to impress and Belfort will be fighting to win. For the first time, there really is no pressure on Belfort to succeed. For that reason alone he may be able to do something he hasn't done against truly elite competition in the past, WIN.