UFC 178: JONES VS. GUSTAFSSON 2 Date: September 27, 2014 Location: Las Vegas, Nevada Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena Broadcast: PPV UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones One of the top pound-for-pound MMA fighters on the planet, Jon ”Bones” Jones (20-1) has dominated the light heavyweight scene, becoming the youngest UFC title holder ever early in 2011 at the age of 23, and he will likely continue to own the division for as long as he chooses to stay there. With an insane reach advantage, an awkward and unorthodox striking style, a solid wrestling base and submissions from anywhere in the cage, “Bones” is a horrifyingly-hard matchup for any light heavyweight out there. The lone blemish on his record came from a DQ loss to Matt Hamill for 12-6 elbows even though he was clearly in line for another lopsided victory, so he’s basically undefeated. After being blamed for the cancellation fiasco of UFC 151, Jones bounced back from an early armbar submission attempt to submit Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 and tie Chuck Liddell’s light heavyweight title defense record. His next gig was to serve as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 17 against Chael Sonnen who supposedly was the only one to challenge Bones in the wake of the UFC 151 cancellation. This was another decisive win, as he destroyed Sonnen by TKO in the first round. Jones didn’t come out of that fight unscathed, however. His big toe literally popped off and dangled by a skin flap, and he took some time off. After mending his toe, Jones took on Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165. The fight was highly touted as a physically equal matchup where Bones wouldn’t be hulking over his opponent, and Gustafsson proved that breakdown to be dead on, as Jones struggled to get takedowns and took more damage than he ever had before in an MMA match. In the end, Jones won a unanimous decision, and then he fought Glover Teixeira in his next fight at UFC 172 and beat him by decision. He was then booked to fight Gustafsson in a rematch at UFC 178, but after Gustafsson pulled out with an injury Daniel Cormier replaced him and the two will now square off this fall. UFC Light Heavyweight Daniel Cormier Daniel Cormier (15-0) is a former Olympic freestyle wrestler-turned-heavyweight powerhouse out of American Kickboxing Academy who has had a rollercoaster’s share of ups and downs in his life. An excruciating 2008 Olympic bid in wrestling led Cormier to be named team captain, but he was unable to compete due to kidney failure during his weight cut. Moving to MMA, Cormier made his pro debut and hasn’t looked back since. Training with Cain Velasquez a host of quality talent out of AKA, Cormier has developed an explosive stand-up game to go along with his dangerous Olympic-level wrestling. He used those skills to plow through the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix as a reserve replacement for Alistair Overeem, knocking off Jeff Monson (unanimous decision), Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (first-round knockout) and Josh Barnett (unanimous decision) en route to the ‘championship.’ Cormier closed out Strikeforce with a second-round TKO of Dion Staring, then moved on to the Octagon to dominate Frank Mir and then later Roy Nelson at UFC 166. He then dropped down to 205lbs and picked up two stoppage wins over Dan Henderson and Patrick Cummins to earn his shot at the UFC light heavyweight title, and he will get his chance to win the belt at UFC 178 this fall. Opening UFC 178 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Jones a -215 favorite (bet $215 to win $100) while Cormier opened as a +165 underdog (bet $100 to win $165) at Several Bookmakers. This is an excellent matchup between two of the best fighters in the world at any weight class and should be a fantastic fight when the two step in the cage. Jones has defended his title seven-straight times so he absolutely deserves to be the favorite here, but Cormier is arguably his toughest test to date and could very well pull off the upset if his wrestling proves to be more effective than Jones’. Jones has used his reach advantage extremely well in the UFC and Cormier has a much shorter reach, but if he can find a way to close the distance he could make the fight interesting. Still, it’s hard to go against the champ, and that’s why Jones is the opening odds betting favorite.