Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes Announced as UFC 247 Main Event in Houston

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 22, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 06:  Jon Jones of the United States looks on after his  after their UFC Light Heavyweight Title bout with Thiago Santos of Brazil at T-Mobile Arena on July 06, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Jones defeated Santos by decision. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will defend his belt against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in Houston's Toyota Center on Feb. 8.

UFC President Dana White announced the news on Friday, per ESPN's Brett Okamoto.

Jones, who sits on top of UFC's pound-for-pound rankings, sports a 22-1 record with one no-contest. His only loss was via disqualification for illegal downward elbows against Matt Hamill in 2009.

The two-time champ has defended the belt twice since winning it back on Dec. 29, 2018, against Alexander Gustafsson. Jones earned a unanimous-decision victory over Anthony Smith before beating Thiago Santos via split decision. 

Jones initially won the belt in 2011 against Mauricio Rua and defended it eight times, but the UFC stripped him of the title in 2015 for violating the organization's code of conduct policy.

Reyes, 12-0, is coming off a first-round knockout win over ex-middleweight champion Chris Weidman. He earned Performance of the Night for that result.

Nine of Reyes' 12 victories have ended before going to judges; he has four technical knockouts, three knockouts and two submissions.

Still, Reyes should be a heavy underdog entering this fight. Per Oddschecker, FanDuel Sportsbook lists Jones as a -550 favorite ($550 bet to win $100). Reyes is a +390 underdog.

ESPN's MMA experts debated the Jones vs. Reyes fight in a piece released Friday, and all four—Ariel Helwani, Marc Raimondi, Jeff Wagenheim and Okamoto—believed Jones has the upper hand.

"I won't be surprised if we see a Jones who looks for a finish early," Helwani wrote. "I think he wants to make a statement that no other light heavyweight is on his level, and I think he wants to shut up all the doubters who have been speaking up a little more this year."

Jones vs. Reyes won't be the only title on the line. Valentina Shevchenko will defend her women's flyweight belt against challenger Katlyn Chookagian. 

Shevchenko, 18-3, has won four straight bouts, including two title defenses. Chookagian, who is the UFC's No. 1 contender for the belt, is 13-2.

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