Jones, currently a minus-550 UFC 172 betting favorite on Odds Shark to successfully defend his title for the seventh time, returns to action for the first time since his epic battle against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165. That fight was generally regarded as one of 2013’s best fights but failed to trigger a rematch.
Gustafsson, who went into last September’s fight as a plus-500 underdog, took Jones to the brink in a slugfest that solidified the Swede’s position as the No. 1 contender in the UFC light heavyweight division.
Jones will instead face Teixeira (22-2-0), who has earned a title shot by winning his last 20 fights including three first-round victories in five fights since joining the UFC.
Despite his recent success, Teixeira remains a plus-375 long shot to take the title from Jones, who has been the target of recent trash talk by Gustafsson and No. 4 contender Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis, who will face No. 14 Anthony Johnson at UFC 172.
Davis has a career record of 12-1-0 with one no-contest, including a first-round submission of Gustafsson. He is pegged as a minus-210 favorite over Johnson, who last appeared in the Octagon in January 2012 in a first-round loss to Vitor Belfort.
Johnson sports odds of plus-170, a remarkable number given his lengthy time away from the Octagon and checkered 16-4-0 record. His greatest advantage may be Davis’ apparent preoccupation with Jones, with whom he has verbally sparred in interviews and press conferences leading up to Saturday night.
Davis has made it clear he wants a shot at Jones, but he will only get his chance by first disposing of Johnson.
In other UFC 172 action, Luke Rockhold (11-2-0) is a heavy minus-800 favorite over Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch (17-6-0) in a battle of 185-pounders. Boetsch, meanwhile, is pegged as a plus-500 underdog and could be in serious trouble against the powerful and more athletic Rockhold.
Joseph Benavidez, the No. 2 contender in the flyweight division, is pegged at minus-400 against No. 8 Tim Elliott, who sits at plus-300. Benavidez (19-4-0) is coming off a recent loss to Demetrious Johnson after suffering the first KO of his career at the hands of the UFC flyweight champion.
Elliott is also coming off a loss, as Ali Bagautinov defeated him by decision at UFC 167.
UFC 172 betting odds, courtesy of BestUFCOdds.com