Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen: Odds and Predictions for UFC 159
Jon Jones is on the verge of making UFC light heavyweight history, but opposing The Ultimate Fighter coach Chael Sonnen will be aiming to shock the world when he meets the 205-pound champion at UFC 159.
With a win over Sonnen, Jones would earn his fifth consecutive title defense, which would tie him with Tito Ortiz for the UFC light heavyweight record. At 25 years old, Jones is already cementing himself among the MMA greats.
For Sonnen, this bout represents one last chance to back up his talk and earn UFC gold. After two losses to middleweight champion Anderson Silva, Sonnen was in a bad spot, but his mouth and marketability put him in position to get an unlikely shot at the light heavyweight belt.
With many considering him undeserving of another championship bout, Sonnen heads into this fight a massive underdog.
Let's take a look at where the odds currently stand (via 5Dimes) for Saturday's main event and the rest of the UFC 159 main card.
Jim Miller vs. Pat Healy
Jim Miller recently bounced back from a loss to Nate Diaz by beating Joe Lauzon in a Fight of the Night performance. Firmly planted in the top 10 of the lightweight division, Miller is now looking for some impressive performances to potentially earn a rematch with one of the highly ranked 155-pound fighters he's previously lost to.
At UFC 159, Miller will welcome Strikeforce veteran Pat Healy back to the Octagon. On a successful run, Healy only lost against former promotional champion Josh Thomson while competing under the Strikeforce banner.
Miller and Healy are both outstanding grapplers, but the former has more recent experience against top lightweights and has shown slightly more in his striking than his opponent. While Healy should be a solid addition to the UFC lightweight class, Miller might be a little too much for his UFC return.
Miller defeats Healy by unanimous decision.
Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes
After essentially wasting time with back-to-back fights against an over-matched opponent in Wagner Prado, Phil Davis now finds himself in a matchup with a fellow grappler who can really test his skills on the ground.
Davis is a former NCAA wrestling champion who has utilized his grappling to rise into the top 10 of the light heavyweight division. Against Vinny Magalhaes, though, Davis may have to think twice about going for takedowns.
A jiu-jitsu world champion, Magalhaes is extremely dangerous with submissions on the ground. Davis has never shown any holes in his submission defense, though, and seems to have picked up on jiu-jitsu very quickly as a result of his wrestling background.
Davis defeats Magalhaes by unanimous decision.
Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo
Since being dominated by Fabricio Werdum, Roy Nelson has rebounded with back-to-back wins. Big Country will now try to put himself back in title shot conversations with a win over fringe contender Cheick Kongo.
Kongo has quietly won three of his past four fights, with his only loss during that time coming against the surging Mark Hunt. With an upset win over Nelson, Kongo could return to the top 10 of the heavyweight division.
Though Kongo's kickboxing is often considered his strongest asset, the Frenchman has not developed his MMA striking exceptionally well. Facing off against a heavy hitter in Nelson, Kongo only has to make one mistake for his night to end early.
Nelson defeats Kongo by knockout in the first round.
Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher
On the verge of earning his first UFC title shot, Michael Bisping was knocked out by Vitor Belfort in January. Despite the loss, Bisping finds himself in a co-main event with a chance to jump right back into title contention with a win over Alan Belcher.
Belcher also recently suffered a setback, having a four-fight winning streak broken by the wrestling of Yushin Okami. A victory over Bisping at UFC 159 would put Belcher right back into the headlines and into the running for a championship bout.
Bisping and Belcher are both solid strikers and underrated grapplers. However, Bisping seems to have a clear edge in the wrestling department, having taken down the likes of Chael Sonnen and Rashad Evans. Takedowns could make the difference in what should be a tightly contested matchup.
Bisping defeats Belcher by unanimous decision.
Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen
Jon Jones has defended his light heavyweight title against four former UFC champions, and now he will meet a former middleweight coming off of a loss to the 185-pound titleholder. Because of the perceived step down in competition, Jones is a heavy favorite to tie Tito Ortiz's streak of five consecutive title defenses for the UFC light heavyweight record.
Chael Sonnen is a serious underdog heading into his fight with Jones, but it's a fight few believed he'd even have a chance to be in so soon. There's no denying the outspoken fighter talked his way into this title shot, but that doesn't mean he won't leave it all in the cage with UFC gold on the line.
Sonnen's wrestling gives him the best weapon to use to defeat Jones, but the title winner is a former JUCO wrestling champion who could have gone on to achieve much greater things in the amateur ranks had he accepted a scholarship to Iowa State University.
If Jones shuts down Sonnen's takedowns, it will be a rough outing for the challenger.
Jones defeats Sonnen by submission in the second round.