MMA Odds and Ends for Tuesday: Jones and Cormier Clash at UFC 178 Media Day

Jones CormierThe actual bout between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and undefeated challenger Daniel Cormier doesn’t take place for nearly another two months, but the two had their first physical altercation on Monday at the UFC 178 media day. After a staredown up on stage where Cormier felt the champion got a bit too pushy with his head, he shoved Jones by the throat. In response Jones took a swing at Cormier and a brawl ensued that knocked over the entire media day set up. When all was said and done, Jones jumped back up on the stage to celebrate like he had already defended his belt successfully, and the two took to twitter and ESPN to continue their feud and the build up to their September 27th bout. While some have claimed that the brawl was planned (which I disagree with, as had that been the case Dana White definitely would have been present to enjoy some of the spotlight), the fact is it has people talking about their upcoming fight, which is something that can’t be said for many of the UFC’s events in 2014. While Jones and Cormier were engaging in their antics on stage, the man who made their bout possible had just wrapped up his knee surgery in Sweden. Alexander Gustafsson is now on the mend from the torn meniscus that forced him out of his rematch with Jones. No timetable has been set for Gustafsson’s return, but he is still expected to face Jones (or Cormier) when he’s ready. There was one more change a bit closer on the horizon as well. Abel Trujillo was forced out of his UFC Fight Night 47 co-main event against Ross Pearson. In his stead, former lightweight title challenger Gray Maynard was plucked from his bout against Fabricio Camoes to be a replacement. Camoes now finds himself without an opponent for the time being, and will be moved to a different card. In Pearson, Maynard faces a very different test than Camoes offered. Pearson is a talented striker who has picked up his last two wins by TKO, while Maynard has been put out by punches in three of his last four bouts. Pearson has struggled when stepping up in competition from the mid-tier of both the UFC’s lightweight and featherweight divisions however, dropping bouts to Cub Swanson and Edson Barboza, while being on his way to the same sort of result against Melvin Guillard before that bout was ruled a no contest due to an illegal knee. If Pearson picks up the win here it will be the biggest of his career, while Maynard needs to prove he’s still relevant in the division. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the line with Maynard the slightest of favorites at -125 (bet $125 to win $100) and Pearson at -115 at 5Dimes Sportsbook. The early money has come in on Pearson, as he now sits at -140, with Maynard the +100 underdog (bet $100 to win $100), so bettors are obviously of the mind that Maynard’s struggles will be continuing. One other interesting note from the past 24 hours is that Manny Pacquiao has purchased shares in ONE FC. The amount of his purchase and any responsibilities he may have remain undisclosed, but the simple fact that Pacquiao is now involved with the organization is a positive, as he is one of the most influential athletes in the world today. ONE FC will certainly look to leverage Pacquiao’s popularity in South East Asia into a wider audience for their shows. The company may also be provided added exposure surrounding Pacquiao’s bouts, and his November 22nd title defense will be a good indicator of that.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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