UFC 159: 5 Things to Watch for During Jones vs Sonnen Fight Card
UFC 159 will cap off April’s MMA action with a light heavyweight title match between Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen.
Top to bottom the UFC delivers another card with a mixture of exciting scraps and meaningful divisional bouts.
The New Jersey crowd was vocal at the weigh-ins. Expect the noise to be turned up even more on fight night. Polarizing figures like Jon Jones and Michael Bisping will bring out the best, or worst, in the live crowd and make it a memorable evening.
Here are five things to watch for at UFC 159.
A former Strikeforce top light heavyweight prospect will make his UFC debut on Saturday. Ovince St. Preux steps inside the Octagon for the first time.
OSP has shown signs of brilliance, but also plenty of holes. He is a good athlete honing his skills in this sport. He will meet Gian Villante, another prospect, on the FX preliminary card.
OSP is 30 years of age, but he has only been fighting professionally since 2008. He is slowly developing his game. Since 2010, he is 9-1. The lone loss came via decision to Gegard Mousasi. No shame in that loss at all.
He is a legit prospect in the division who could make waves if he continues to develop as a fighter. A good athlete with a lot of power can do some damage at 205.
There are two lightweight scraps on the UFC 159 card, and both should excite.
Rustam Khabilov vs. Yancy Medeiros are the final preliminary bout of the evening, and it will showcase two fine lightweights that many have yet to hear of.
Medeiros is a perfect 9-0, but has not fought since the summer of 2010. Khabilov made an impressive debut at The Ultimate Fighter 16 finale with a knockout of Vinc Pichel. This should be a fun fight at 155 pounds, and the winner will look forward to bigger things.
The opening fight of the pay-per-view is a key bout in the division.
Jim Miller and Pat Healy will try and make a case that they are at the top of the food chain and should be considered for a contender's fight. Miller is coming off the impressive showing against Joe Lauzon, and Healy is on a six-fight win streak.
These two bouts will be two of the best on the entire card.
Sara McMann Arrives
This is not to take anything away from Sheila Gaff. She is an elite fighter at flyweight, but this is a bantamweight bout. And she'll be taking on the strongest fighter in the division.
Sara McMann entered MMA at around the same time as Ronda Rousey. They were often mentioned together, but McMann chose a slower path as she developed other important skills integral to her fight style.
This will be the first time a lot of fans have gotten to see McMann, and they'll be impressed. She is an Olympic medalist in wrestling who is very strong. She will manhandle Gaff when they get close enough, and her wrestling will be on full display.
The undefeated prospect will show why she is one of the best in the division. She finally gets the big stage to showcase her skills.
Roy Nelson Continues to Evolve His Striking
Nelson has won three of his last four, and all have come by TKO or KO. Saturday will not be any different.
What you are likely to see at UFC 159 is the continuation of Nelson's striking development. He used to rely solely on his power, but since training with Jeff Mayweather he has looks better with his hands.
Kongo is a decent kickboxer, but his chin has often failed him in the cage. Nelson carries big power in his hands, and he will slip one through. The finish will be expected, but what you want to watch for is how Nelson sets it up.
Keep an eye on his improved movement and set-up. When the replay is shown you'll want to watch how Nelson beats Kongo to the punch and flattens him.
Jon Jones Ties the Title Defense Record
Jon Jones will tie Tito Ortiz for most light heavyweight title defenses after he dismantles Chael Sonnen in the main event.
Jones already has a much more impressive list of defenses, but it's still not the record. Ortiz defeated Yuki Kondo, Evan Tanner, Elvis Sinosic, Vladimir Matyushenko and Ken Shamrock. Not exactly the greatest list of defenses.
What has Jones done in his four title defenses? He embarrassed Rampage, dropped Lyoto Machida like a sack of potatoes, dominated Rashad Evans and finished Vitor Belfort. Impressive to say the least.
Sonnen will be the least impressive name on the list of defenses, but it will tie him for the record and still be better than most of Ortiz's list. Jones is the most dominant champion in the history of the division.
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