Jones vs. Sonnen Fight Card: Who's Under the Most Pressure at UFC 159?

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Jones vs. Sonnen Fight Card: Who's Under the Most Pressure at UFC 159?
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The massive odds stacked against him don't offer much promise, but that hasn't hindered notorious motor mouth Chael Sonnen from doing what he does best and promoting his fight against Jon Jones at UFC 159.

Essentially undefeated, Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champ, has been deemed an 8-1 favorite (-800) to top the aging Sonnen (+500) at the Prudential Center tonight (per mmabetting.com).

However, unlike B.J. Penn's situation before losing to heavy underdog Frankie Edgar (+550) at UFC 112, Jones decided to engage in a war of words with a master at verbal warfare in Sonnen.

In other words, the favored Penn, unanimously considered the world's best lightweight at the time, faced little pressure heading into UFC 112 because of Edgar's humble approach in the pre-fight pressers.

Jones, on the other hand, chose to fire back at Sonnen on several instances, creating a saga of sorts that has attracted heaps of fans that would have otherwise showed little interest in the fight.

In a pre-fight interview for UFC 159, Jones offered these bold words regarding Sonnen's trash-talking prowess:

I understand what I'm up against. Guys like Muhammad Ali, they said a lot of things that were bold statements. The difference between guys like Muhammad Ali and Chael is that guys like Muhammad Ali actually believed. No matter how much he tries to convince himself that he's going to win this fight or that he's the champion without the belt, he just doesn't believe. And that's why he comes up short in every opportunity he gets to be a champion. He doesn't have the championship soul, heart, work ethic, nothing.

Jones will not only enjoy a 10.5" reach advantage over Sonnen, but he could also give the Oregonian fits with his superb defensive wrestling ability.

If Sonnen, who's made a living double-legging and smothering opponents, can't perpetually ground Jones, a man who's amazingly avoided being taken down in 18 fights, then "The American Gangster" will have little chance of winning his third straight title bout.

But despite being one of the most talented and cerebral fighters in the game, Jones must remain cognizant that Penn was deemed an 8.5-1 favorite against Edgar at UFC 112 and hasn't had a belt wrapped around his waist since.

Penn didn't just look past Edgar, but evidently, the oddsmakers did—and did so by an enormous margin.

Although the 36-year-old Sonnen (27-12-1) doesn't own an immaculate record like the 25-year-old Jones (17-1), The American Gangster manhandled contenders like Yushin Okami, Nate Marquardt and Brian Stann, wins that made him one of the most avoided fighters at 185 pounds.

In terms of Jones' legacy, a win over Sonnen carries little weight. A victory for The American Gangster, however, would damage Jones' reputation immensely.

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