vs Dominick Reyes
Jon Jones is coming back after a narrow split decision win against the toughest test since his title defense against Alexander Gustafsson. A win against Thiago Santos back in July 2019 was the first fight, where Jones was not dominating at all. Santos was hurting Jones badly, Jones was not able to fight his fight, get his style of fighting going, but he got a win and that is what counts at the end of the day. Reyes will be back in the octagon after a warm welcoming of Chris Weidman in the Light Heavyweight division. Reyes was able to defend an early takedown and after that Reyes hit Weidman with his dangerous left hand, which put Weidman to the canvas.
Jon Jones is probably one of the most complete fighters is the history of MMA. He can do it all. Box, kick, clinch, wrestle, grapple. There is probably nothing he can´t do. His clinch game is on another level. Jones can use his elbows and knees in the clinch very well. Jones has a very unorthodox style of fighting using spinning kicks and elbows from different angles. Jones has a massive reach (over 84,5 inches) which is the largest reach recorded in the UFC history. He can fight backwards or be the pressurer as his reach helps him to get away from dangerous striking situations. Overall Jones’s lanky body gives him a great advantage as Jones can reach his opponents pretty much from anywhere and opponents can´t strike back or even get closer to him. There could be a formula to beat Jon Jones from his last title defense against Santos, and that would be leg kicks. Santos unfortunately injured himself while throwing leg kicks and his fighting style was limited. To beat Jones the opponent has to have similar measurements as Jones. Cormier never stood a chance against Jones as Cormier was a small stocky heavyweight with the reach of a T-Rex.
Dominick Reyes is a dangerous southpaw striker having an undefeated record of 12-0. He earned himself a nickname „Devastator“ cause of his devastating kicks. Reyes is a very talented striker with the ability to knock people out with one single punch just like Weidman, where it took only one counter left hand and Weidman went down on his back. He has 7 KO wins in his career and most of them were spectacular knockouts. He likes to be the pressurer, dictating the tempo of the fight and just pin his opponents to the cage. It is very unknown how good his wrestling and grappling are. Reyes almost never goes to the ground unless there is an opening screaming for submission. It will be interesting if Reyes will be taken down by Jones and if so, how well Reyes will do on the ground.
Both Jones and Reyes are very capable fighters of finishing their fights. However they finish their fights in a different ways. Jon Jones likes to deconstruct his opponents until he finds a way to dominate completely over his opponents and then with a vicious ground and pound or a submission end a fight. Reyes is a pure striker and finishing fights while standing is his modus operandi. It is very difficult to predict the most likely outcome of this fight or to be more precise, how the fight will end.
Jones has only finished 2 out of his last 8 fights and one of those finishes turn out to be no contest. Jones has encountered however some great Light Heavyweights in those fights, that were also very durable and a finish was very difficult to get. If we had to guess, most likely the fight will need judges to decide the winner. And Jones will be the favorite. He has been in numerous 5-round fights and he is well accustomed to this type of fight. For Reyes it will be his 2nd 5-round fight, but probably the first, where he will actually have to fight full 5 rounds. He will need to manage his stamina better in order to at least survive all 5 rounds. A finish by KO by probably 50-50. Jones would most likely win by TKO via ground and pound whilst for Reyes it would be a KO while standing up. A favorite to win by submission is definitely Jones as his grappling is one of the best in the division.
Shame fans don’t see a lot of submission wins from Jones. However, Jones has fallen in love with the stand-up game and nobody should be surprised, if Jones gets caught by Reyes’s left hand.