These “Quick Breaks” are short breakdowns of upcoming fights. In a summed up focus of strengths, weaknesses and variables, this will analyze what could happen in the fight, and end with this writer’s prediction.
Through the fire and flames has finally emerged the next challenger for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, as Jon Jones takes on Vitor Belfort at UFC 152. A fight that was meant to showcase Jones taking on top contender Dan Henderson at UFC 151 has been the controversy of 2012, and has left in its wake a vilified champion, a cancelled event and a scramble to replace fights.
Now, Jones will put his belt on the line again, but against an opponent many don’t deem worthy.
In the blue corner you have Vitor Belfort. “The Phenom” is a huge underdog going into this fight, but Belfort is no stranger to the pressure. He was a young champion, like Jones, and now hopes to test the old against the new. His hand speed and power are always dangerous and pose a unique challenge for Jones—a fighter we haven’t seen under a fast attack or much pressure.
In the red corner you have the champion, Jon Jones. “Bones” had been preparing for a wrestler with a big right hand, but Belfort is a different striker than Hendo. As always, Jones will have a reach advantage and will use his striking to keep distance. While Jones’ striking isn’t the most technical or precise, it is dangerous and unorthodox. His wrestling and jiu-jitsu will help him on the ground, but he will want to stay on his feet initially.
Jones will want to use that reach, especially his kicks, to stop Belfort’s efforts. It wouldn’t be surprising if Jones even tried to throw some hard front kicks a la Anderson Silva.
The question is will Belfort charge him with the ferocity that he has shown in other fights. This opens him up to some deadly counters and elbows from close range, but Jones has shown he sometimes will fall back when being attacked.
If Belfort can throw fast combos and push the pace and pressure, Jones could be swarmed if he doesn’t intelligently defend himself. Jones has shown his resilience though, and will want to prove to the fans that his actions and skills in the cage are what truly matter.
Prediction: Jon Jones wins via TKO or submission within two rounds.