Cain Velasquez vs. Jon Jones: Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Fans love to discuss superfights between UFC champions, and one of the biggest fights out there is 205-pound champion Jon Jones vs. heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
In a Q-and-A session last winter, one attended by MMA Digest, Jones stated that he wants the superfight against Velasquez.
There is little doubt that the fight would draw significant interest, but the fight is not close to happening. Both competitors have several challengers waiting for them throughout 2014 and into next year.
Most recently, light heavyweight Fabio Maldonado moved up to take on the No. 7-ranked heavyweight contender Stipe Miocic. However, Jones is not Maldonado. There is a distinct discrepancy in skill between the two fighters.
Did Miocic's victory at The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale give us a preview of what happens to light heavyweights who make the jump up, or does Jones have a legit shot at dethroning the champion? Let's break down this hypothetical fight.
The stylistic breakdown between Jones and Velasquez is very interesting, and it starts on the feet.
Jones possesses the longest reach in the UFC, and he is one of the sport's most creative strikers. He is also growing as a technical striker. His improvements are noticeable.
Velasquez has also improved over the years with his striking, and he is now one of the division's best boxers. So, who has the edge?
The heavyweight champion of the world.
The evidence is in how they've looked against top competition. Jones is hittable. Also, Velasquez possesses much more power in his hands. Jones tries to mix it up with his opponents from time to time. Velasquez dominated Junior Dos Santos, one of the division's best boxers, on the feet in their last two bouts.
He beat Dos Santos where Dos Santos was best, turning the Brazilian's face into a mess. The same would happen to Jones.
Both Jones and Velasquez have wrestling backgrounds. Velasquez wrestled at a higher level than Jones, but their skill sets in the area are different.
The most interesting potential matchup between the two to watch is in the clinch. Does Velasquez's strength advantage allow him to ragdoll Jones to the mat, or does Jones' length give him the upper hand in tripping down the heavyweight champ?
I favor the former.
Velasquez is too fast and too strong for Jones to wrestle with. While Jones' Greco-Roman abilities are good, they will be nullified by Velasquez.
Things are not looking so great for the light heavyweight champion up to this point.
However, I will give him the advantage in the submission department.
Jones has shown an ability to find submissions against good jiu-jitsu specialists. His long limbs allow him to slip in a choke, as seen against Lyoto Machida, or to lace up an appendage, as seen against Vitor Belfort.
The length of Jones gives him more options. He may have to rely on submitting Velasquez off of his back, though. Regardless, Jones has shown a bit more to his submission arsenal to date than Velasquez.
Jones' X-Factor: Distance
I briefly touched on this earlier, but Jones' reach is an X-factor in this matchup.
He may be able to keep Velasquez at bay by creating good distance between them. Velasquez has a reach of 77 inches, and Jones comes in at 84.5 inches. Jones has even more of an advantage when calculating the reach of his kicks.
He is a dynamic fighter that can use his range to try and keep the behemoth on the outside.
Velasquez's X-Factor: Unrelenting Pace
Not even Jones has the pace that Velasquez has, and that is scary.
Velasquez's pace is something to behold, and it creates major problems for each and every one of his opponents. If you happened to miss his last two outings against Junior Dos Santos, you may not fully understand how scary his pace is.
He can go for 25 minutes at a hard pace, and Velasquez will be beating you senseless all the while. Jones would have to find a way to slow it down against the heavyweight champion, and I'm not sure he could.
Daniel Cormier, Velasquez's teammate and future contender to Jones' title, said that Jones will get beat up if he goes to heavyweight for this fight. Cormier is right.
This is a horrific idea for Jones.
Velasquez would maul him for however long it took the referee to stop the fight. It would be one of the worst decisions in Jones' career to take this fight. He is not ready for what Velasquez brings to the table, and he would get hurt.
Velasquez is just a different animal. He is not your typical heavyweight. This is not Randy Couture vs. Tim Sylvia, or even Gabriel Gonzaga. This is a whole different ballgame.
The heavyweight champion would make Jones look pathetic inside the cage.
Prediction: Velasquez defeats Jones by TKO in the first round.
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