UFC 182 Fight Breakdown: Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier

jones-cormierThe main event of UFC 182 is a five-round title fight between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Jones is a -165 favorite (bet $165 to win $100) while Cormier is a +145 underdog (bet $100 to win $145). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Jones at -215 and Cormier at +165, and overall betting action has come in on the underdog Cormier. This should be a very closely-contested fight, but I slightly lean towards Jones to defend his title. Here’s why. Jones (20-1) is the UFC light heavyweight champion and the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. The 27-year-old American is 14-1 in the UFC with wins over Glover Teixeira, Alexander Gustafsson, Rashad Evans, Rampage Jackson, Shogun Rua, Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida, just to name a few, with his lone loss coming to Matt Hamill via controversial disqualification. Jones is an exceptionally gifted mixed martial artist, and much of his success has to do with his long limbs. He has an 84.5″ reach, the longest in UFC history, and he uses that reach to his advantage in all of his fights, keeping back at distance and kickboxing away with his long legs until he wants to close the distance, and then using those long limbs to lock in highlight-reel submissions. He is an incredibly dangerous finisher and has overall won nine fights by knockout and six by submission. Although he is not the greatest knockout threat on the feet, his ground and pound is extremely vicious and he’s finished numerous opponents on the mat with his punches and elbows. And with a very solid wrestling base, he’s able to dictate whether he wants to keep his fights standing or his opponents to the ground. He is also very unorthodox in his attacks and throws crazy spinning back elbows and all sorts of different kicks. He is also an exceptional fighter in the clinch. In short, he is one of the best fighters in the world, and will go down as one of the greatest of all time when it’s all said and done. He is fighting arguably the toughest opponent of his career to date in Cormier this weekend, and it’s an interesting matchup because Jones did show a slight flaw in his takedown defence against Gustafsson, and if Cormier can exploit that, we could have a new champion. Still, it’s hard to bet against Jones, and as the defending champion he rightfully enters this bout as the betting favorite. Cormier (15-0) is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and is well deserving of his No. 1 contender status at light heavyweight. The 35-year-old American is an Olympic-caliber wrestler and unlike many wrestlers who make the transition to MMA, Cormier has excelled at using his wrestling in mixed martial arts, routinely using his strength and technique to over power bigger and heavier opponents. Cormier won the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix with wins over Josh Barnett, Bigfoot Silva, and Jeff Monson, and then he defeated Roy Nelson and Frank Mir in his first two UFC fights. However, since he trains with UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, Cormier decided that if he wanted to win a UFC title he had to drop to light heavyweight and since moving down to 205lbs he has been sensational, defeating Patrick Cummins by knockout in 79 seconds and then putting an epic beatdown on Dan Henderson that culminated in a third-round rear-naked choke submission. Cormier has been winning his fights mostly with his dominant wrestling base, but he showed in the Bigfoot and Cummins fights that he has knockout power too. For a big guy, Cormier is very fast and he moves well on his feet, and he has fasts hands that allow him to hit his opponents without them hitting him back. In short, he is an elite fighter, and likely the second-best guy in the division besides Jones. He will have a 12-inch reach disadvantage in this fight and that’s going to be the biggest issue for him in this matchup, as he’ll need to close the distance to land takedowns. That won’t be easy to do, but if anyone can do it, it’s Cormier. He is rightfully the underdog in this fight, but with his wrestling base and considering Jones was taken down by Gustafsson, there is absolutely the chance Cormier can win the wrestling battle in this fight and in my opinion, he is a live dog to win the title and become the new UFC light heavyweight champion. This is going to be an exceptional matchup, and when it’s over it might be one of the best mixed martial arts fights we’ve ever seen. Both men are at the top of their game right now which should lead to a beautiful fight between these two elite mixed martial artists. I’ve been going back and forth on this one, and it’s not an easy fight to call, but ultimately I have to go with Jones. His 12″ reach advantage and the fact he knows how to use it is really hard to ignore, as is the fact he has proven cardio for a full 25 minutes at 205lbs. I think he should be able to keep the distance in this one and accumulate strikes en route to a decision win, although a late submission or TKO isn’t out of the question. I am not writing off the fact Cormier could outwrestle him or grind him against the fence, but that would be a tall task to do that for 25 minutes. So I have to go with Jones here. Having said that, I don’t think I can bet it. There are going to be 500 UFC fights this year, and not every fight has to have a bet on it. For me, this is the perfect fight to pass and watch as a fan, because it’s a dream fight and honestly, I just want to enjoy it and not sweat a bet. But if you want action, Jones is your man.

Written by Adam Martin.

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