How can “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort upset the reigning UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Jon “Bones” Jones, at UFC 152?
Most will tell you that he can’t. That it’s already been decided in favor of the embattled champ.
Jones, 25, is a heavy favorite in his match against Belfort in Toronto, Canada, on September 22. In fact, the betting odds (Jones at -750 according to Bovada and BettingOdds) are insanely stacked against the 35-year-old mixed martial arts veteran.
After Jones refused to fight Chael Sonnen, the UFC was forced to cancel its UFC 151 pay-per-view event. That sets up this fight, which many believe to be a cop-out for Jones and an easy title defense.
Here are some factors that may lead to a possible upset of the champion.
Jones’ Issues Outside of the Octagon
The lofty expectations of a dominant Jones win coupled with distractions in his personal and professional life may leave the champ open for a letdown at the hands of Belfort.
Recently, Jones was arrested for DWI, and he was also involved in a controversy in which he turned down the Chael Sonnen fight a mere eight days before the event. His decision prompted a flurry of criticism throughout the media.
These issues may not be enough to distract Jones from the task at hand, but they may be exploitable for Belfort. I’m not saying he will mention these things during or before the fight, but it couldn’t hurt to try to distract the champ.
Experience and Speed
Belfort chose former UFC Light Heavyweight champion “Suga” Rashad Evans to be his trainer in preparation for his fight with Jones. Evans is one of the most knowledgeable fighters when it comes to Jones considering the two used to be good friends and just fought in April.
Does Rashad Evans' help give Belfort a prayer?
While Evans failed to personally best his former friend, he may have learned enough to help produce a Belfort upset.
If Belfort can tap into the vast knowledge running through Evans’ head and translate it into an effective game plan, then he may be able to find holes in the champ’s defense. Holes that are big enough to exploit with his quick striking and power combinations.
Nothing to Lose
As mentioned earlier, Vitor Belfort has absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain against Jon Jones at UFC 152. He may not get another title shot, especially if he’s manhandled as many are predicting.
That means there is no holding back or saving himself to fight another day. He has to leave his heart out there in the octagon.
A surprise victory to steal the title is going to take everything Belfort has left in the tank, and then some.