UFC 247: Jones vs. Reyes - Predictions and Picks
The UFC heads to Houston, Texas this weekend for 2020’s second big pay-per-view event. We’ve got two huge title fights on tap, as Jon Jones defends his UFC Light-Heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes in the main event, while Valentina Shevchenko faces Katlyn Chookagian for her UFC Flyweight title in the co-headliner.
The rest of the card isn’t so strong, but there are plenty of fights that should pique the interest of UFC fans here, most notably a couple of eye-opening Heavyweight clashes on the main card.
Here are the predicted outcomes for UFC 247: Jones vs. Reyes.
#1 Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes
2019 was an interesting year for Jon Jones. After the controversy that surrounded his re-capture of the UFC Light-Heavyweight title in late 2018 despite yet another positive drug test, Jones settled back into a classical champion’s role last year, taking on a pair of top contenders who earned their shots the hard way.
Jones turned back the challenge of Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos, but never looked to be at his very best in either fight, and came as close as he’s ever come to being dethroned in the latter fight, only edging ‘Marreta’ by split decision.
Now he’s faced with Dominick Reyes, and for the first time, it feels like things have come full circle for Jones. Ever since he took the 205lbs crown from Mauricio Rua in 2011, it’s felt like Jones has been the young lion turning back the challenge of older veterans; now though, he’s become the veteran himself, and Reyes is the first fighter from the next generation to step up to challenge him.
‘The Devastator’ has been in the UFC since 2017, and he’s gone 6-0 in that time, defeating the likes of Ovince St. Preux, Jared Cannonier and Volkan Oezdemir along the way. His last win came over former UFC Middleweight champ Chris Weidman in October, a brutal knockout after just under two minutes.
Essentially, Reyes has all the tools to be the man to finally defeat Jones; he’s slightly taller, isn’t at a huge reach disadvantage, and carries power in all of his strikes – particularly his kicks. However, there are a ton of question marks around him, too.
Reyes has stepped up every time he’s been given a tougher opponent and pulled out the win; he easily defeated Cannonier, Weidman and St. Preux, for instance, but struggled at times to overcome Oezdemir, particularly in the clinch, which is one of Jones’ big strengths.
We also don’t know a lot at all about his wrestling, ground game and cardio along the stretch, which is worrying given Jones is arguably the greatest wrestler in the history of the Light-Heavyweight division.
With all that said, is ‘Bones’ in his prime anymore? Or were those workmanlike wins over Smith and Santos a pointer of what’s to come for Jones, in a sense that his best days are behind him? Against Santos, for instance – a noted striker with a porous ground game – the champion didn’t even attempt a takedown, and if he fights in the same way against Reyes, he could well be in trouble.
I’m going for Jones in this fight purely because there are just too many question marks over Reyes’ overall game, but I’ve also got a strong feeling that this could be “the one” where ‘Bones’ finally loses, and loses well. Therefore I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Reyes knock the longtime champ out – but I’m going to play it safe and take Jones by decision.