Jon Jones vs. Vladimir Matyushenko: UFC on Versus 2 Preview

Darren WongSenior Analyst IJuly 30, 2010

Jon Jones has been touted and hyped as the future of the light heavyweight division, and as such, his fight with Matyushenko is seen by many as little more than a fight that will allow him to develop his skills.

Vladimir Matyushenko goes into this fight with a 24-4 record, yet he still walks in as a huge underdog. There are a few reasons why Matyushenko is as big of an underdog as he is.


Why Jon Jones Is a Massive Betting Favorite

First of all, Matyushenko's greatest strength is his wrestling ability. Because Jon Jones is also a very good wrestler, the idea out there is that Jones might be able to neutralize Matyushenko's wrestling, taking away Matyushenko's clearest road to victory.

The second reason Jones is so heavily favored is simply because of the hype surrounding him. The fans have anointed Jones as being the next big thing in MMA, and until he faces somebody in the very top echelon, he's going to be heavily favored by the fans and bettors.

All of that said, despite the perception that Jones should have an easy time with Matyushenko, there are some things Matyushenko can do that could cause trouble for Jones.


How Matyushenko Can Upset Jones

As already has been said, many people feel like Jones can neutralize Matyushenko's wrestling. What some people may fail to understand is how good Matyushenko is as a wrestler.

Matyushenko's wrestling credentials are greater than those of any of Jones' previous opponents, including Matt Hamill. If Matyushenko is able to put Jones on his back, Jones will be in unfamiliar territory.

If Matyushenko is unable to get Jones off his feet, many feel like Jones will be able to utilize a striking advantage, but again, this may not actually be the case.

Certainly Jones has a more diverse arsenal than Matyushenko does, but Matyushenko can still cause Jones problems with boxing from the inside.

With his long reach, Jones may have trouble dealing with the kind of inside boxing that Matyushenko is capable of, especially if Matyushenko is able to keep up the pressure and stop Jones from unleashing his unorthodox attacks from the outside.


What To Look for in the Development of Jon Jones

While Matyushenko can create problems for Jones, Jones is still expected to win, but even if that's the case, there are still things to look for in the fight that should give us some indication of how he'll do in the future:

  1. Can Jones take Matyushenko down?
  2. If Jones takes Matyushenko down, can Jones work for a submission?
  3. If Matyushenko takes Jones down, what will Jones' guard look like?
  4. What answer will Jones have for Matyushenko's inside boxing?

We probably won't get answers to all of these questions, but I personally am hoping that Matyushenko takes Jones down at least once, so we can see what kind of weapons Jones can use with his guard, which hasn't been seen yet in the UFC.

Also, I'm kind of expecting that Jones will keep the fight on the outside, but if Matyushenko gets through Jones' range, I'm interested in seeing what kind of offense Jones can use there, aside from his throws from the clinch.