UFC 165: Biggest Locks on Jones vs. Gustafsson Card

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2013

Sep 22, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; UFC fighter Jon Jones after defeating fighter Vitor Belfort (not pictured) during a light heavyweight bout at UFC 152 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson, UFC 165 is a card marked by more than one fight that figures to be rather lopsided. 

Joe Silva and Co. are usually spot-on with their matchmaking, but sometimes mismatches are just inevitable. For example, just about anyone that the UFC marches out to take on Jones at light heavyweight is most likely in for a long night. 

For those looking to make some last-minute picks on all of Saturday night's action, here are the surest bets to go down in Toronto. 

Note: All odds via Bovada; all statistics via FightMetric unless otherwise noted. 


Jon Jones (-850) Defends His Title Against Alexander Gustafsson (+525)

With Anderson Silva now dethroned in the middleweight division, there's an argument to be made that Jones is the most dominant champion in the UFC. Georges St-Pierre still holds the longest title reign, but Jones' ability to finish gives him the edge. 

Jones has finished his opponent in four of his five title defenses, and there's no real reason to think he won't do it against Gustafsson. 

The 26-year-old Swede is a worthy challenger. His six-fight win streak has come against some impressive names, including Shogun Rua and Thiago Silva. But his only loss came to a lanky wrestler in Phil Davis. Jones (84.5" reach) is even longer than Davis (79" reach).

Expect Jones to not only win, but win by knockout or submission. 


Renan Barao (-700) Makes It A Good Night for Champions Against Eddie Wineland (+450)

If you're hoping for a highly competitive co-main and main event, this probably isn't the card for you. Interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao is going to make sure that both champs on the card pick up dominant wins.

Barao might not get the respect of the other high-profile champions in the organization, but he's still one of the most unbeatable. The 26-year-old Brazilian is 30-0 with one no contest since losing his first professional fight.

That record isn't entirely inflated with bad names, either. Urijah Faber, Scott Jorgenson and Michael McDonald are all high quality opponents who found out just how good Barao is.

Wineland is a fighter with plenty of heart and an entertaining style to watch, but his penchant for getting hit (3.22 significant strikes absorbed per minute) will be his undoing against Barao.


Myles Jury (-400) Proves to Be Better Ultimate Fighter Alum Than Mike Ricci (+300)

Apr 20, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; Ramsey Nijem (bottom) fights Myles Jury (top) during the lightweight bout prelims of the UFC on Fuel TV at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Myles Jury and Mike Ricci were both contestants on different seasons of The Ultimate Fighter with very different experiences. Ricci was the more successful of the two—he landed a spot in the TUF 16 finale against Colton Smith while Jury was defeated in the first round of TUF 15. 

However, it's Jury that has been far more impressive in fights that actually count. He's a perfect 3-0 in the Octagon with a career record of 12-0. Ricci, on the other hand, is 8-3 with a 1-1 record in the UFC thanks to his Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale loss to Smith. 

Jury has proven that he's much better than the fighter we saw lose on the reality show. He'll earn himself even more vindication with a convincing win over a TUF finalist on Saturday night.