You read their articles, you watch and listen to their interviews, but often the personal opinions of the mixed martial arts (MMA) media get brushed over.
These media members have inside knowledge of the sport and a unique perspective of the fighters they have the privilege of interacting with. Before you place that bet in Vegas or with your friends, be sure to check out what those most educated about the sport have to say about the upcoming event.
UFC 159 is just hours away and with the hype reaching a peak, fans are wondering how the event headliner is going to go down. Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen are set to meet in a highly anticipated affair with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight championship belt on the line in the main event at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Read as eleven of the sport's writers and reporters break down and predict the UFC 159 welterweight championship main event of Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen.
Mike Bohn (MMA Mania): As unbelievable as it would be to see Chael Sonnen dethrone Jon Jones and capture the UFC title, it's highly unlikely to happen. "Bones" brings a level of violence to the Octagon that few others in the world can match and unfortunately for Sonnen, he is going to be the victim of that violence. It will be interesting to see what Jones has planned if Sonnen puts him on his back in the fight, but it's just so difficult to imagine the champion having no answers for five-straight rounds. If the fight stays standing, look for Jones to bode his time and pick Sonnen apart. If it goes to the ground and Jones is on top, watch for his dangerous elbow strikes and submission attempts. One way or another, the belt is leaving the Prudential Center the same way it came in - around Jones' waist. Jones via TKO, round two.
Dave Doyle (MMA Fighting/Yahoo! Sports): It's been kind of amusing over the past several months, watching some of the same people who used to treat fights like heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko's bout with middleweight Matt Lindland as if they were serious matchups, then turn around and get all outraged over Jones vs. Sonnen. I actually see Jones-Sonnen going like Fedor-Lindland. Sonnen will hold his own at first, Jones will sort of humor him to see what's he's got, then playtime will be over and the men will be separated from the boys. Jones via TKO, round one.
Chuck Mindenhall (ESPN): Jon Jones has never been forcibly taken down in an MMA fight. Chael Sonnen is all about taking guys down and dishing out suffering from the top. In the classic sense, this feels like the old immovable object against the unstoppable force. Only, it's not. Sonnen will pin his ears back and push forward with the crown of his head, and try to win this thing through "insistence." That might work with Anderson Silva (most of the time), but it won't with Jones, who has farmer's strength, range and sharp, devastating elbows. He also has a wrestling pedigree. Once Jones starts getting his hands on Sonnen, here expects a fast Sonnen retreat and an even faster finishing blow from Jones. Jones via TKO, round one.
Shaun Al-Shatti (MMA Fighting): I'll keep this short and sweet, since it's still pretty silly that this fight is even happening. Chael Sonnen may have given Anderson Silva seven hard rounds, but all the catchy sounds bytes and loquacious promos won't help him on Saturday. Jon Jones is too big and too long, with a decent enough defensive wrestling base and masterful understanding of reach to allow this fight to get dragged into deep waters. Jones defends his title for the fifth straight time via TKO, round three.
Guilherme Cruz (Tatame): Predict the winner of this fight is the easiest task you have ever asked me to do. But, predicting how Jones will defeat Sonnen is the real challenge here. Will Jones try to prove his wrestling and take the fight to the mat? And if he does that, will he finish the fight with elbows or submit the trash-talking master? I see Jones defending his title with a dominant win, putting Chael away in the second round with a brutal ground and pound.
Ian Bain (MMA Opinion): Jones fighting Sonnen still feels like it has something missing. The trash talking has not been great and it makes me think that both guys know the likely outcome. Now, the question is, How does Jones win? I have a sneaky suspicion that he will pull guard and work his sub game from there. He is that confident in his ability. Jones via submission, round two.
Jason Moles: (Cage Potato): On 4/27 at 7:00 PM, 10:00 in the East, and only on PPV, we'll all witnesses the dethroning of Jonny "Bones" Jones. The main event at UFC 159 will be a ground and pound clinic the likes of which you have never seen. Sonnen's aptitude on the mat is matched only by his skills on the mic. The champ will still land a few exciting strikes on the feet, during the little time the fight is spent standing. But when he's on the wrong end of a double leg, he'll be as flashy as a Matt Hughes milking a cow. You saw what Sonnen did to the pound-for-pound king, Anderson Silva, granted he was a little confused about the rules the first time and fell down at the worst possible moment the second, but you saw the dominance. Expect more of the same from the American Gangster, but this time the belt will change hands. If Kenny Florian is the Jim Kelley of MMA, then Chael P. Sonnen is John Elway. Not even a few false starts will derail the train to the Promised Land.
Jason Nawara (Middle Easy): August 23rd, 2012. A day...That will live...In INFAMY. On that day in history, Dan Henderson pulled out of his fight with Jon Jones at UFC 151 with a partially torn MCL and set in motion a series of events that made the first UFC event in the Zuffa era get canceled. Now, through a set of strange circumstances, we have Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen --a fight that makes zero sense. How can Dana white say Greg Jackson is a "sport killer" when he gifted a title shot (literally GIFTED) to a guy coming off a loss at middleweight that hasn't won at 205 in years?! How?! This fight shouldn't even be happening. Dan Henderson should be fighting Jon Jones! Instead we get to see a fight with extremely awkward build up where only one-half of the fighting duo actually caring about the promotion of said fight. I wish my official prediction could read 'Dan Henderson' as the winner, but Mike Bohn would probably get annoyed at me. So I will just put down my prediction as: Jon Jones, 3rd round TKO. I can't wait to be done with this whole mess.
Adam Martin (Sportsnet): I don't see any way Jon Jones loses this fight. I mean, really, Chael Sonnen? Really? This is not the fighter that is going to give Jones a run for his money in the light heavyweight division. Honestly, Jones can win this fight any way he wants to. I guess I'll favour Jones submitting Sonnen since he's tapped out many times, but it wouldn't surprise me if he finished him via T/KO, either. Regardless, this fight isn't lasting five rounds, and Sonnen isn't winning it.
Karim Zidan (The Flying Knee TO): While The Ultimate Fighter 17 could certainly be considered a success, it did not do much in terms of selling us on this glorified mismatch. I see no way Chael Sonnen can realistically defeat Jon Jones on Saturday night and will not even attempt to convey to others that he is capable of upsetting the champ. We can expect the champ to control the majority of the bout, whether in the striking or the grappling department and it is quite possible that we will see another slick submission victory from the champ. Jon Jones via Submission.
Jeremy Brand (MMA Sucka): I am going out on a limb here and I know many will criticize this, but I am picking Sonnen. We saw a wrestler in Rashad Evans take on Jones, but didn't utilize any takedowns or even attempt them. Sonnen will change that, we have never seen Jones on his back in his professional career and it could be the difference maker in this fight. Don't get me wrong Jones is on another level, but Chael also dropped Anderson with punches on two different occasions. If I were a betting man and my prediction worked it could make me rich. Chael Sonnen by Unanimous Decision.
Media picking Jon Jones: Nine
Media picking Chael Sonnen: Two
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the UFC 159 main card action on fight night (Sat., April 27, 2013), which is slated to begin promptly at 10 p.m. ET on PPV. The latest fight-by-fight updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 6 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook and FX Channel.
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