Jones has proven to be on a completely different level than the rest of the former champions he’s faced, defeating Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans all with relative ease. A win over Belfort will make it five former champions in a row that “Bones” has successfully defeated in a world title fight.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Jones will take care of business and earn the victory on Saturday night, but I have a gut feeling that Belfort is going to surprise some people with his performance in the main event.
Belfort truly has everything to gain in this fight, and the closer he can push Jones to the limit, the better off his chances at earning another UFC title shot will be.
UFC 152 promises to be relatively predictable where the main event is concerned, but here are a few surprises we may see Saturday night.
A quick win by Jones is expected, but he’ll have more trouble than most think when he tries to put Belfort away early.
Despite a major advantage in the grappling department against almost any fighter alive, Jones has been content to fight on the feet during his last few bouts, even neglecting to take a top-notch striker like Machida to the mat for the majority of their bout.
As long as the fight remains upright, Belfort has a chance to make some noise here.
Jones’ reach and intelligent fighting style won’t leave many openings for “The Phenom” to try and capitalize on, but Belfort will be able to attempt to work his game when the fight is standing.
Eventually Jones will earn the stoppage here, but don't be surprised if Belfort is still hanging around heading into the third or fourth round.
Both Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans were able to land some hard shots that seemed to daze the champion a bit, and I think Belfort may be able to land something similar here.
Belfort throws his punches in flurries, and if he is able to get inside of Jones’ insane reach, he could find a way to land a few punches.
If he does, the punches will at the very least hurt “Bones.”
Obviously I don’t expect Belfort to be able to finish the job, and a solid combination that doesn’t finish the job could actually be detrimental to Vitor’s chances at winning here.
If Jones gets in trouble, expect him to drag the fight to the ground, where he feels a bit more comfortable. That could spell the end for “The Phenom.”
Jones has proven he has the ability to overwhelm fighters with punches and elbows in order to earn a TKO stoppage, but we’ve never seen him truly wreck an opponent with a single strike inside the Octagon.
That’s going to change this weekend.
A fighter with Jones’ raw athletic ability is only going to gain more skills as he continues to learn at Jackson’s MMA, and now that Jones has shown solid technique behind his strikes in his last few bouts, expect some power to start to emerge behind his shots.
It could be anything from a straight right hand to a head-kick finish, but eventually Jones is going to leave Belfort unconscious Saturday night.