UFC 247: Previewing Jon Jones-Dominick Reyes and Other Matches on the Card

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2020

UFC 247: Previewing Jon Jones-Dominick Reyes and Other Matches on the Card

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    UFC 247 features Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes.
    UFC 247 features Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes.Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

    Jon Jones has been virtually unbeatable over the course of his nearly 12-year MMA fighting career. 

    Jones, 32, from Rochester, New York, has won 13 straight UFC title fights, is ranked No. 1 on the UFC's official pound-for-pound list and still has huge potential superfights ahead of him against the likes of heavyweight terror Francis Ngannou and UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. But before any of those things can happen, Jones has to hand Dominick Reyes the first loss of his MMA career at UFC 247 in Houston. 

    Reyes, 30, from Hesperia, California, will enter the Octagon for the first time since stunningly knocking out former middleweight champion Chris Weidman in October in the main event of UFC on ESPN 6. That's probably the performance that earned Reyes the gig to take on Jones, so the brash 30-year-old has his sights set on making history. 

    Meanwhile, Jones was forced to dig deep in his last fight to defeat Thiago Santos via split decision in July in the headliner of UFC 239. 

    Is the upset brewing in Houston? Or will Jones prove once again he's just too good for the rest of the 205-pound division? 

    Here's everything you need to get hyped about UFC 247. 

UFC 247: Jones vs Reyes Fight Card and Info

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    Will Jon Jones still be smiling after UFC 247 is over?
    Will Jon Jones still be smiling after UFC 247 is over?Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

    UFC 247 takes place live on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Toyota Center in Houston. The main card is scheduled to begin on ESPN+ pay-per-view at 9:00 pm ET.

    ESPN will telecast the prelims beginning at 7:00 pm ET. The early prelims begin at 5:15 pm ET on ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass.

    The fight card listed below is per ESPN and is subject to change.

          

    UFC 247 Main Card (ESPN+ PPV)

    Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes

    Valentina Shevchenko vs. Katlyn Chookagian

    Juan Adams vs. Justin Tafa

    Mirsad Bekti vs. Dan Ige

    Derrick Lewis vs. Ilir Latifi

           

    UFC 247 Prelims (ESPN)

    Trevin Giles vs. Antonio Arroyo

    Alex Morono vs. TBA

    Lauren Murphy vs. Andrea Lee

         

    UFC 247 Early Prelims (ESPN+)

    Miles Johns vs. Mario Bautista

    Domingo Pilarte vs. Journey Newson

    Andre Ewell vs. Jonathan Martinez

The Main Event: Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes

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    Dominick Reyes is the latest light heavyweight contender to challenge Jones.
    Dominick Reyes is the latest light heavyweight contender to challenge Jones.John Locher/Associated Press

    Jon Jones (25-1) has already proved himself against the other top contenders in the UFC light heavyweight ranks, so Dominick Reyes (12-0) gets the next crack at usurping the UFC's 205-pound and pound-for-pound king. 

    Jones was dominant over rival and No. 1 contender Daniel Cormier, so that story is probably finished. Jones also already took care of business against No. 2 contender Anthony Smith at UFC 235 last year. So Reyes was the next logical choice since Jones seems content right now to stay at light heavyweight instead of moving up to heavyweight.

    His potential superfight against UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya doesn't make much sense yet from a financial perspective. Jones-Adesanya promotion could be huge down the line if both keep winning fights, but Adesanya just won his middleweight belt last year and has plenty of contenders to go through before moving up to face Jones.

    Reyes is one of the few MMA fighters in the UFC who could potentially match Jones' athleticism. He's a sturdy and explosive 205-pounder capable of scoring thunderous knockouts with single strikes. 

    Moreover, Reyes stands 6'4", the same height as Jones. He's younger, undefeated and could possess just the right blend of assets to give Jones some real trouble. 

Co-Main Event: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Katlyn Chookagian

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    Women's flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko takes on Katlyn Chookagian in the co-main event.
    Women's flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko takes on Katlyn Chookagian in the co-main event.Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

    UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko defends her belt against first-time title challenger Katlyn Chookagian in the co-main event of UFC 247 in Houston. 

    Shevchenko (18-3) is undefeated in the 125-pound division, where the 31-year-old has reigned as champion since defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 in December 2018. She's defended her title twice and is ranked No. 12 on the UFC's pound-for-pound list.

    Shevchenko crushed Jessica Eye with a brutal head-kick to score a second-round knockout at UFC 238 last year. From there, she defeated Liz Carmouche via decision at UFC Fight Night 156.

    Chookagian (13-2) is a first-time title challenger riding a two-fight win streak. Chookagian, 31, from Jersey City, New Jersey, outpointed Jennifer Maia at UFC 244 in November in her last fight. Before that, Chookagian did the same to Joanne Calderwood at UFC 238 in June.

    Shevchenko lost twice to UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes via decision. Their last meeting saw Nunes escape with a split decision at UFC 215 in 2017 that at least some people believe should have gone the other way, so Shevchenko probably expects a trilogy between the champions someday soon assuming she can get past the tall and awkward-striking Chookagian.

Fight to Keep an Eye On: Juan Adams vs. Justin Tafa

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    Huge heavyweight Juan Adams hopes to rebound for consecutive losses.
    Huge heavyweight Juan Adams hopes to rebound for consecutive losses.Josh Hedges/Getty Images

    The only thing more dangerous than heavyweights are heavyweights who badly need to earn UFC wins. That's what's happening in the scheduled bout between Juan Adams and Justin Tafa on the undercard of UFC 247 in Houston, so expect some fireworks. 

    Both are coming off knockout losses. Adams, 28, from Houston, was stopped by Greg Hardy in Round 1 last year in San Antonio. That loss came on the heels of Adams losing via decision to Arjan Bhullar just two months prior, so the former badly needs to pick up the win in front of his hometown crowd.

    That's a big ask against Tafa, 25, from West Auckland, New Zealand. The highly regarded prospect was signed to the UFC after just three MMA fights but was stunningly stopped by Yorgan De Castro in just one round in his last fight at UFC 243. 

    That wasn't the UFC debut people expected from Tafa, so now he'll need to go into enemy territory and beat Adams in Texas. Both fighters are young talents hoping to become real contenders in short order, but the loser probably doesn't figure into those plans. 

Best of the Rest

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    Heavyweight Derrick Lewis still has his title hopes alive so long as he can keep winning.
    Heavyweight Derrick Lewis still has his title hopes alive so long as he can keep winning.Steven Ryan/Getty Images

    Derrick Lewis vs. Ilir Latifi

    Former title challenger Derrick Lewis (22-7) is scheduled to take on Ilir Latifi (14-7) on the main card in a bout that will be fought in front of Lewis' hometown crowd.

    The 34-year-old Lewis is one of the top heavyweights in the UFC and still could find himself with another title shot in the foreseeable future if he can keep stacking up wins.

    The 36-year-old Latifi stands just 5'8" and is moving up from the light heavyweight ranks for the first time to make his divisional debut. Still, Latifi seems to believe he's capable of defeating one of the perennial contenders in Lewis, so it should be interesting to see what kind of strategy he employs to get the job done. 

         

    Lauren Murphy vs. Andrea Lee

    An interesting flyweight matchup between top 10-ranked contenders Lauren Murphy and Andrea Lee highlights the prelims on ESPN.

    The 36-year-old Murphy (11-4) is a tough flyweight contender but should have her hands full with Lee (11-3).

    Lee is six years younger than Murphy and hopes to rebound from her split-decision loss to Joanne Calderwood at UFC 242. If Lee can beat Murphy, she still tracks as a serious contender. 

           

    Miles Johns vs. Mario Bautista

    Rising bantamweight contender Miles Johns is undefeated in 10 professional fights. Johns takes on Mario Bautista (7-1) during the early prelims in a bantamweight battle that should vault the winner into bigger fights down the line.