Jon Jones makes his long awaited return Saturday night after being away from the cage for three years. Making his heavyweight debut in a championship fight against Ciryl Gane, Jones has his hands full in this return to the sport but I believe his skills will live up to the test and become champion yet again in a second division.
Jon Jones is one of the best fighters mixed martial arts has ever witnessed and one of the smartest ones too. The best strategy he can utilize here is to not give Gane the chance to make this a fight in the stand up department. So, Jones needs to quickly make this a wrestling affair since that is Gane’s weakness in his skillset. His three year layoff does concern me but Jones is still only 35 with a healthy body and limited injury history. The first time moving up in weight could cause jitters since he is fighting much heavier competition but I do think he can have success in the clinch and wrestling department to secure a win against Gane who has struggled in the past with wrestling – such as with Ngannou who has very novice grappling and was still able to take Gane to the mat.
I am not sure the method of victory for Jones here – it depends on how well he performs and how hard he tries for a finish which could be a submission on the ground if Gane tires out enough and gives up his back for example. I will go with a Jon Jones win by unanimous decision for now but, a finish is definitely possible.
Pick and bet: Jon Jones (-170)