Jon “Bones” Jones (16-1-0) vs. Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort (21-9-0)
Regardless of all the drama that has come from the cancellation of UFC 151 , this is the title fight we are left with, and it’s going to be exciting. Anytime you have a dominant champion fight in the cage you should be happy, and that is the reason you should not be mad about Anderson Silva’s next matchup. If you need more reason than our word, consider the words of Jones. “Vitor is more dangerous than Sonnen or Henderson. He has fast knockout power.”
After the dissolution of Pride and the semi-closure of Vitor’s sister’s disappearance it seemed he was able to piece his career back together. He regained his bearings in Cage Rage, then gained notoriety again in Strikeforce, and finally made his way back to the UFC. In that time he has went 7-1 with only one decision, five first round finishes, and six finishes in total. His only loss in that span is to Anderson Silva, and it was the same outcome that all of Silva’s other opponents have suffered as well in that past six years. Vitor can use his hand speed, power, and experience to outwork Jones if he puts his best foot forward.
Jones has been as dominant as any champion, and should really be undefeated if not for a mistake of using a banned move. He is the only person in a long time to beat four current or former champions in a row. He has never been taken down, never been submitted, or knocked out. He has never faced someone with the knockout ability of Belfort though. Submitting Vitor will be difficult, considering his black belt in BJJ. The one spot Jones will be able to outwork Vitor in is in his reach and cardio. If he can get past the first two rounds, he should be able to close the fight in the last three.
The Bottom Line:
Ben Bieker’s Prediction
Look for Vitor to make a surge of strikes in the opening rounds. With the luck the UFC has had lately, Jones will be finished in the second. 152 holds all the ingredients of an upset. Considering the turmoil of a failed card, the stress due to fans animosity, and the possibility of trying to peak twice in one month, Jones will likely wilt.
Joe Rocha’s Prediction
Ben makes some good points, as I also believe Jones is not 100 percent mentally or physically as he would have the media and fans believe. Regardless, he has the controversial, master game planner, Greg Jackson behind him. Look for an evading Jones that will do whatever is needed to survive the first two rounds flurries by his opponent. As fatigue sets in for Belfort and as Jones becomes more confident in the later rounds – there will be a submission finish by Jones in the third; similar to what we witnessed in Jones vs. Rampage.