After watching UFC 151 get cancelled because of more main-event injuries, the already tough times for the company have only gotten tougher.
Now Dana White and his business must look to UFC 152 and Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort for the light heavyweight title to bring the company back to the mainstream level it was at when Brock Lesnar was their biggest draw.
With Belfort stepping up to a weight class he hasn’t attempted in years, Jones will be facing a test unlike any other. As much as this should be an easy win, the UFC champion can’t underestimate his opponent’s skill.
This entire PPV will be amazing, but the main event puts it over the edge.
Where: Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada
When: Saturday, September 22 at 10:00 p.m. ET
Watch: Main Card starts at 10:00 p.m. ET on pay-per-view; FX Preliminary Card starts at 8:00 p.m. ET; Facebook Preliminary Card starts at 6:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: UFC.com
Light Heavyweight Championship: Jon Jones (c) vs. Vitor Belfort
Flyweight Championship: Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson
Middleweight Bout: Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann
Light Heavyweight Bout: Matt Hamill vs. Roger Hollett
Featherweight Bout: Cub Swanson vs. Charles Oliveira
FX Preliminary Card
Light Heavyweight Bout: Igor Pokrajac vs. Vinny Magalhaes
Lightweight Bout: TJ Grant vs. Evan Dunham
Welterweight Bout: Sean Pierson vs. Lance Benoist
Featherweight Bout: Jimy Hettes vs. Marcus Brimage
Facebook Preliminary Card
Welterweight Bout: Seth Baczynski vs. Simeon Thoresen
Bantamweight Bout: Mitch Gagnon vs. Walel Watson
Welterweight Bout: Kyle Noke vs. Charlie Brenneman
Jon Jones’ Keys to a Victory
There has never been a fighter as young as Jon Jones that knows more about the sport, and that experience beyond his years is what makes him so dangerous.
Jones is a chameleon. No matter who his opponent is, Jones comes into his matchup ready for their style and what they offer. With Vitor Belfort, the UFC light heavyweight champion will be looking to block most of the Brazilian jiu-jitsu Belfort attacks with.
If Jones can keep away from Belfort’s dangerous clinch and inside game, he will be able to keep his opponent at distance with his boxing and add in enough leg strikes to open Belfort up for the knock out.
Vitor Belfort’s Keys to a Victory
With the knowledge that Jones is never the same fighter two fights in a row, Belfort knew that the preparation for this fight was less about his opponent and more about getting himself comfortable in the light heavyweight division.
Once in the octagon, Belfort will lean heavily on his Brazilian background and try to beat Jones any way he can. While the veteran will try to get inside and use his jiu-jitsu, he will also mix in a favorable amount of boxing to stun Jones.
If Belfort can weather Jones’ first-round storm and allow his corner to help him figure out the champion’s game plan, Belfort will be able to adapt and possibly shock the world with a win.
Main Event Prediction
No matter how much preparation Vitor Belfort has had for this fight, he is still jumping up to a weight class he hasn’t fought at since 2007, and that will hurt him.
Jones could easily move to heavyweight if he wanted, and he will have the sizable advantage over Belfort when it comes to reach and height. While the experience goes to the veteran Belfort, Jones is too smart in the Octagon to discount his in-ring prowess.
While Belfort won’t go down without a fight, Jones will eventually send him to his back with a spinning back-fist, or another odd move that no one sees coming—especially Vitor, and win the fight via TKO.
If Jones does retain, the UFC truly has their next big star.
Prediction: Jones via 3rd Round TKO