Jon Jones Beats Dominick Reyes Via Decision, Defends UFC Light Heavyweight Title

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2020

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

Jon Jones made yet another defense of his light heavyweight championship belt with a unanimous decision win over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in Houston, Texas. 

Reyes came out strong and gave the champion all he could handle but Jones' comeback over the final rounds swayed the judges to give the bout to the reigning champion. 

Reyes came out aggressively in the first round firing a left hand at the opening bell and attacking with kicks and looping punches. The pressure would pay off early as he briefly put Jones on the floor with an early left hand that landed to the midsection.

UFC @ufc

ROCKED! 😱 @DomReyes puts the champion down early in R1! #UFC247 https://t.co/rYykH9nPQb

The Devastator appeared to win the first frame, but he slowed down at the conclusion of the round.

That didn't stop him from coming out strong again in the second stanza. Reyes had the champ on the run with his aggression once again. 

UFC Canada @UFC_CA

Reyes has the champ on the run! #UFC247 https://t.co/8VUkmBuQt7

Through two rounds Reyes already proved to be one of the toughest challenges for Bones:

Josh Gross @yay_yee

20-18 Dominick Reyes. Better work from Jones but Reyes' volume and offense were the difference. Good stat from the broadcast: Reyes has landed more significant strikes than Thiago Santos did in five rounds.

In the third frame, Reyes answered a very important question: What will he do when Jones goes for a takedown? The champ shot for his first takedown of the fight against the cage, but Reyes denied it and kept the fight on the feet. 

That trend would continue into the fourth round. Jones fought hard for a takedown in the fourth, but couldn't quite keep the challenger down. Still, Reyes slowed down as Jones showed his experience in championship rounds. 

Simon Head @simonhead

It's gut check time for Dominick Reyes, as Jones pulls one back in the penultimate round. He wasn't wholly successful in taking Reyes to the mat, but he was successful at sapping the challenger's gas tank. He may need a finish in R5, though. Can he find one? 39-37 Reyes. #UFC247

The fifth and final round appeared to be one for the defending champion. Jones outpaced his tired opponent, but whether it was enough to get the nod was definitely up for debate. 

Luke Thomas @lthomasnews

3-2 Reyes = Justified 3-2 Jones = Justified Unless someone gets a 5-0 score, there is no robbery here.

Ultimately, the judges gave the win to Jones in a controversial decision. 

Jones has successfully defended the belt for the third consecutive time since reclaiming his title in December 2018.

The 32-year-old has yet to truly lose a fight in the Octagon. The only blemish on his record came via disqualification against Matt Hamill and he's effectively cleaned out the light heavyweight division multiple times throughout his career. 

Reyes was the rare highly ranked fighter in the division that Jones hadn't seen. Bones holds wins over four of the current top five in the division and the bottom half of the top 10 doesn't hold any real intriguing challenges at this point.

A rematch with Reyes is interesting, but that might be it within the division.  

The next frontier for Jones may be the heavyweight division and it's a move that is definitely on his radar. 

"I think a move towards heavyweight will be inevitable," Jones' striking coach Brandon Gibson told MMA Fighting's Eurobash podcast (h/t Peter Carroll of MMA Fighting), "I think that it's one of our bigger goals. Whether it's this year or next, or 2022, I don't know. But I definitely think we'll see Jon fight at light heavyweight again, for sure, that's a belt he's held for a decade."

He's been stripped of the belt twice in his career and was forced to drop an interim title once, but has never lost it in the cage. Whether Reyes could do it in a rematch is now the most interesting question in the division.