The promotion will set up shop in Houston for the championship fight on Saturday. The two have waged a war of words as Reyes attempts to build himself as someone who could possibly put an end to Bones' reign over the division.
The feuding 205ers aren't the only ones vying for a title on the card. Valentina Shevchenko is slated to defend her flyweight belt against Katlyn Chookagian in the co-main event.
Elsewhere on the card, Derrick Lewis returns to the cage to welcome Ilir Latifi to the heavyweight division. The fan-favorite will look to continue his momentum after picking up a decision over Blagoy Ivanov in his last bout.
Here's a look at the complete offering for the card and some of the hype going into the event.
Main Card (ESPN+ PPV, 10 p.m. ET)
- Jon Jones (c) (-450) vs. Dominick Reyes (+325) - Light Heavyweight Championship Fight
- Valentina Shevchenko (c) (-1400) vs. Katlyn Chookagian (+800) - Women's Flyweight Championship Fight
- Juan Adams (-220) vs. Justin Tafa (+180)
- Mirsad Bektic (-145) vs. Dan Ige (+115)
- Derrick Lewis (-270) vs. Ilir Latifi (+220)
Preliminaries (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)
- Trevin Giles (-140) vs. Antonio Arroyo (+110)
- Alex Morono (-280) vs. Kalinn Williams (+230)
- Lauren Murphy (+280) vs. Andrea Lee (-360)
Early Prelims (ESPN+, 6:15 p.m. ET)
- Miles Johns (-135) vs. Mario Bautista (+105)
- Domingo Pilarte (-140) vs. Journey Newson (+110)
- Andre Ewell (N/A) vs. Jonathan Martinez (N/A)
Odds via Caesars.
Jones Mocks Reyes' Talk of Athleticism
At this point, there isn't much of a selling point for any contender facing Jones. He's dismantled striking specialists, grapplers, tall opponents, short opponents, knockout artists and grinders. There isn't a style matchup in the light heavyweight division he hasn't already seen.
Reyes, however, contends that Jones is going to see a different level of athlete on Saturday.
The 30-year-old was an NFL hopeful after playing safety at Stony Brooke University. He believes the athleticism found in traditional sports is beyond what is required of a mixed martial artist.
"I was speaking on being a traditional athlete: baseball, football, basketball, track and field. Those sports are different than being a martial artist," he said, per Tristen Critchfield of Sherdog. "They require a different amount of athleticism and focus. If you don't understand it, then you don't understand it."
Jones—who has two brothers with NFL careers—isn't buying it.
Jon Bones Jones @JonnyBones
Beating up on cans has got him convinced he’s a better athlete than most of the world. If he was so badass he would’ve won the California state wrestling championships, he would’ve went division one, He would have at least made a practice squad for the NFL. This man is delusional
In terms of MMA, Reyes is a good athlete. He has explosive power and is quick for his size. But it doesn't stand out as a strength against Jones who himself is a powerful athlete. It doesn't translate to one-strike knockout power for Bones most of the time, but watch him ragdoll opponents in the clinch and say he's not athletic.
Reyes is selling a fight. Despite an undefeated record and a convincing win over Chris Weidman, he's far from a household name.
Until it actually happens, it's unwise to pick against the champion against anyone at 205. An eventual move to heavyweight might change things but right now its Jones versus whoever.
Prediction: Jones via third-round TKO
Shevchenko Only Focused on Chookagian
Shevchenko comes into Saturday's card as the biggest favorite. That's saying something on a bill that features Jones.
But that's the state of affairs already in the women's flyweight division. Shevchenko has defended her belt twice since winning it from Joanna Jedrzejczyk in December 2018. Already, it feels like the biggest fights for her are outside of 125 pounds.
The 31-year-old insists that's coming from the fans at this point, though.
"First of all, I'm focused on my fight this Saturday," Shevchenko said, per Nolan King of MMA Junkie. "I'm not thinking about any further fights. I put everything I have inside of me toward this Saturday for this fight. Second, superfights against who? I don't know. Amanda Nunes? Weili (Zhang)? Henry Cejudo? Against who? I don't think this is the right moment to think about this right now."
Chookagian is another fighter who has migrated to flyweight after a run at bantamweight. She has won four of her last five since dropping down to 125 in January 2018. Her split-decision loss to Jessica Eye is the only blemish on her UFC ledger in the weight class.
Shevchenko, on the other hand, hasn't lost as a flyweight in her entire career. Her only defeats under the UFC banner have come to Nunes, who is clearly the best fighter in all of women's MMA.
Chookagian has some good performances to her name, but she isn't on Shevchenko's level.
Prediction: Shevchenko via second-round submission