We made it! With just hours left on the clock, fight fans will finally get to witness the rematch between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones later tonight (Sat., July 29, 2017) at UFC 214 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Cormier will be putting his UFC light heavyweight title on the line for the third-straight time while Jones aims to reclaim the same belt he was stripped of back in 2015.
In advance to 2017’s biggest rematch, we take a closer look at what both Cormier and Jones need to do in order to escape UFC 214 victorious. Considering Jones defeated “DC” via unanimous decision back at UFC 182, the champ will have his work cut out for him.
Here are Cormier and Jones’ keys to victory for tonight’s main event.
1. Pressure early...
Jones has fought once since their original meeting two years ago and Cormier would be foolish not to exploit his rival’s lack of activity. Even in his lone Octagon appearance, which can in the form of a unanimous decision win over Ovince Saint Preux back at UFC 197, Jones looked less confident and capable compared to his other title fights.
In order to take full advantage of Jones’ apparent cage rust, “DC” must pressure “Bones” early and force him as far away from his gameplan as possible. Whether it’s inviting Jones inside for striking exchanges or attempting to drag the action to the canvas, the more Cormier can get after it early the better.
Of course, Jones is probably aware of his own cage rust if there is any, so he may come out even more aggressive than Cormier.
2. Win inside...
Despite his elite grappling pedigree, Cormier was unable to win the inside exchanges with Jones in their first encounter. Jones is deceivingly strong and proved that he can out-wrestle and outpoint Cormier when the action ties up.
Knowing this, Cormier has probably worked heavily on winning the inside battles opposite Jones. The rematch is most likely going to happen in close quarters, especially if Jones is cautious with his usually potent outside striking, so “DC” must do better to score points with dirty boxing like he did against Alexander Gustafsson and leverage his smaller size to attack from different levels.
1. Remain unpredictable...
Since Jones has fought just once following UFC 182, and didn’t really show too much in that lone appearance, there is a sense of mystery surrounding the former king entering UFC 214. Jones has posted incredible training videos focusing on his rejuvenation as a fighter, but that will all fall by the wayside when Jones stands across from Cormier later tonight at UFC 214.
Considering few people know what Jones is capable of doing inside of the cage at this point in his career, the former light heavyweight champion would be wise to keep his cards close to his chest and only unveil his 2017 self when he needs to. Jones must not uncork all of his hidden tricks and current capabilities all at once. Instead, he needs to remain unpredictable, keep Cormier guessing, and mix it up as much as possible.
The more Cormier thinks Jones has lost it, the better it is for “Bones.”
2. Fight without emotion...
It was Cormier who fought emotionally the first time these two light heavyweights met back at UFC 182. Now, it is Jones who brings in all the extra baggage from years of trouble outside of the Octagon. When he steps inside of the cage later tonight at UFC 214, Jones will understandably feel nervous, happy, anxious, and pressured to perform like his old self.
With his back against the proverbial wall, Jones must allow his physical talent to outweigh his emotional intensity. There has never been an athlete quite like Jones to hit the UFC canvas, so it shouldn’t be that difficult for the 30-year-old to let his skill take over and put his mind at ease. UFC 214’s rematch with Cormier is obviously just one fight, but it’s incredibly important for Jones to win in order to vindicate his life-changing journey up to this moment.
Prediction: Jones via fourth-round TKO
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 214 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FXX at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.