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UFC 247 start time, who is fighting tonight at ‘Jones vs Reyes’ in Houston

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back after a week off to stage UFC 247 later tonight (Sat., Feb. 8, 2020) from inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The event — which is available exclusively through ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) — will feature a Light Heavyweight title fight between division kingpin, Jon Jones, defending his belt against Dominick Reyes. In the co-main event, women’s Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko will look to defend her strap against Katlyn Chookagian.

What’s Hot:

Jones will go for title defense No. 11 when he collides with Reyes, marking his 15th-straight title fight, which is the most by any fighter in the promotion’s history. Looking back, one can only imagine how many more title fights he would’ve had if not for multiple suspensions, which saw a decrease in fight activity from 2015 to 2017. Nevertheless, Jones has been busy making up for lost time — this will be his fourth title fight since Dec. 2018, three in less than a year. Through it all, Jones has taken out several former world champions and legends (some more than once), and he recently started taking out the new blood contenders in Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos. So you can’t blame “Bones” for teasing a move up to Heavyweight.

Before that, though, he has another stiff task ahead of him in Reyes. Undefeated at 12-0 (6-0 UFC), Reyes worked his way up the ladder to get his first-ever shot at UFC gold. Reyes falls under the fresh faces category looking to pave his own way in the division dominated by Jones for the last nine years. He’s talked a good game so far, proving to have the skills to knockout opponents with his powerful left hand and accurate counter attacks. But it’s not a reach to say Jones has heard — and seen — it all before. And he has, as every fighter has made the same proclamations before facing him ... as they’re supposed to.

But nothing at this point in Jones’ career will rattle or surprise him. Now, that’s not to say Reyes doesn’t have a chance, because he absolutely does. Jones will not be enjoying a size advantage in this fight, and his toughest test to date came against Alexander Gustafsson, a tall fighter with comparable size to Jones. I believe Reyes does have better striking than Gus (evidence here), but Jones has always found a way to shut down those types of attacks for the most part. Still, the intrigue is always there, and many will tune in to see whether or not Jones will finally suffer his first true loss, or if he will continue his dominant ways. Should Jones lose, you can rest assured that if anyone was ever deserving of an immediate rematch it is “Bones.”

What’s Not:

Not a whole lot to complain about. The matchmaking for this fight was fairly decent, and you can’t go wrong with two title fights.

Original Card Vs. Actual Card:

A Bantamweight fight between Sean O’Malley and Jose Quinonez was originally set to go down at this event, but due to “Suga’s” troubles with United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) — which he finally took care of — the fight was scratched and re-booked for UFC 249. Ovince Saint Preux and Ryan Spann were all packed and ready to scrap at this event before the fight was mysteriously removed for no reason.

Injuries:

Dhiego Lima suffered a neck injury and was forced to bow out of his scheduled bout against Alex Morono, and was ultimately replaced by Kalinn Williams. Also, Jimmie Rivera suffered an unfortunate health setback and was forced out of his scheduled Bantamweight showdown against Marlon Vera, forcing Vera out of the event as well.

Also, Antonio Arroyo was pulled from his fight against Trevin Giles after he reportedly suffered from bad cramping shortly after weigh-ins. As a result, James Krause — who was in Houston to corner Youssef Zalal — stepped in to fill the void on 24 hour's notice.

New Blood:

Kalinn Williams got the call up on a few weeks notice to make his official UFC debut after Dhiego Lima was forced out of his fight against Alex Morono with a neck injury. Winner of six in a row, Williams has spent his entire professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career on the regional circuit, so it’s understandable if the majority of you aren’t too familiar with the 25-year-old. He has only one loss in his career, and has a mixture of wins via knockout, submission and decision, proving that he has a well-rounded game to finish his opponents or grind out a win if need be. He has a tough test against Morono, who already has nine UFC bouts under his belt, and is currently riding a three fight win streak with wins over Max Griffin, Zak Ottow and Kenan Song. In fact, Alex has amassed a respectable 6-2-1 mark so far inside the Octagon, so Williams has his hands full here.

Youssef Zalal and Austin Lingo are both making the jump up from Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) to face one another in Featherweight action. Youssef recently broke his two-fight skid by taking out Jaime Hernandez via flying knee this past November at LFA 79. Lingo, meanwhile, is undefeated so far in his career, winning seven in a row, including five stoppage victories.

How The ‘Prelims’ Look:

The “prelims” portion of the event was to be headlined by Trevin Giles — loser of two straight — taking on Antonio Arroya, who was also coming off a loss. But after Arroyo was forced out less than a day from fight night, James Krause stepped in to fill the void. It’s a bold move by Krause, which could lead him to not only his seventh straight win, but earn him some good favor with the promotion.

One of the more interesting bouts is Andrea Lee taking on Lauren Murphy. Lee recently had her seven-fight win streak snapped by Joanne Calderwood, so you know “KGB” is eager to get back into the win column and back in the title hunt. She’ll find plenty of resistance with Murphy, who despite her 3-4 mark inside the Octagon is tough as nails.

Rising Bantamweight contender, Miles Johns, will look to score his eleventh straight win as he takes on Mario Bautista, who has won seven of his last eight bouts. Plus, Andre Ewell looks to get back in the winner’s circle when he faces off against Jonathan Martinez, winner of two straight and four of five overall.

Who Needs A Win Badly:

Juan Adams has lost two straight and is looking to turn things around against Justin Tafa. Granted, the Heavyweight division isn’t as stacked as it once was, but Adams hasn’t shown the promise he had coming out of “Contender Series,” so losing three in a row will be a bad look on his resume when it comes time for UFC to thin the herd. Tafa, meanwhile, fizzled in his UFC debut last October, losing to Yorgan de Castro via first-round knockout. That said, it’s safe to say both men need a win badly here if they want to get another chance to shine on the grandest MMA stage of them all.

Interest Level: 8.5 of 10

It’s a pretty decent card featuring two title fights, and anytime we get to see Jones throw down, it’s always a treat. “Bones” has been very active over the last 12 months and has re-emerged as one of UFC’s top draws and biggest stars. Sure, the drama added to the bad boy persona he once embodied, but since his beef with Daniel Cormier is over, “Bones” has taken a more calm and cool approach to his fights with no real animosity. Whether or not that carries over into pay-per-view (PPV) buys remains to be seen. But one thing is certain, whether he’s angry or in a good mood going into his fights, Jones is still as dangerous as ever.

Valentina Shevchenko will look to collect her fifth win in a row and third title defense of her women’s Flyweight belt when she faces off against Katlyn Chookagian, winner of two straight. “Bullet” is primed to go on an extended title reign and has been deemed unbeatable by some of her colleagues. But even though Shevchenko may be a fan favorite, Chookagian isn’t about to lay down for her. It’s easy for some to freeze in their first big title fight, but “Blonde Fighter” has seemed comfortable under the spotlight all week. All she has to do now is put it all together to try and shock the MMA world in “H-Town.”

Derrick Lewis will once again get the opportunity to fight in his home town of Houston, as he welcomes Ilir Latifi to the Heavyweight division. Lewis is 1-2 in his last three outings so he is looking for some kind of momentum here with a win. And just because Latifi is giving up a lot of size doesn’t mean it’s a sure win for “Black Beast.” Ilir hits like a truck and will look to use his size disadvantage to his advantage in the speed department. Lewis is adamant Ilir’s short stature won’t give him trouble, but Latifi will have the lower center of gravity to go in to score takedowns, which is his best option to win the fight. Because if “The Sledgehammer” goes strike-for-strike against Lewis, it could be a short night (fight preview here).

In more main card action, Mirsad Bektic will face Dan Ige in an exciting Featherweight clash. Bektic stormed his way into the Octagon in 2014 and was primed to be a title contender after scoring four straight impressive wins, but losses to Darren Elkins and more recently to Josh Emmett ultimately hurt his progression. He will have another tough test in Ige, winner of four straight.

Full Fight Card:

UFC 247 Main Event On ESPN+:

205 lbs.: UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes

UFC 247 Main Card On ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET):

125 lbs.: UFC Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko vs. Katlyn Chookagian
265 lbs.: Juan Adams vs. Justin Tafa
145 lbs.: Mirsad Bektic vs. Dan Ige
265 lbs.: Ilir Latifi vs. Derrick Lewis

UFC 247 Prelims Card On ESPN (8 p.m. ET):

185 lbs.: Trevin Giles vs James Krause (Antonio Arroyo forced out)
125 lbs.: Andrea Lee vs. Lauren Murphy
170 lbs.: Alex Morono vs. Kalinn Williams
135 lbs.: Mario Bautista vs. Miles Johns

UFC 247 Prelims Card On ESPN+ (6:30 p.m. ET):

135 lbs.: Journey Newson vs. Domingo Pilarte
135 lbs.: Andre Ewell vs. Jonathan Martinez
145 lbs.: Austin Lingo vs. Youssef Zalal

*Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to change.

For more upcoming UFC events click here.

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