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UFC 247 card: Jon Jones vs Dominick Reyes full fight preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight elites Jon Jones and Dominick Reyes will clash TONIGHT (Feb. 8, 2020) at UFC 247 from inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

While the longtime champion has firmly established himself as an all-time great and defended his title some ridiculous number of times, on their own, his 2019 title defenses did not seem up to his usual standard. Against a man he seems motivated to pulverize, it will be interesting to see what version of Jones walks to the cage tonight.

On the other hand, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about Reyes, even if it’s hard to imagine anyone dethroning “Bones.” He’s one of the most talented Light Heavyweight prospects in years, and it’s time to see if he can step up to the gargantuan task ahead of him.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

Jon Jones

Record: 24-1 (1)
Key Wins: Daniel Cormier (UFC 182), Alexander Gustafsson (UFC 232, UFC 165), Lyoto Machida (UFC 140), Rashad Evans (UFC 145), Thiago Santos (UFC 239)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: At this point, Jones’ strengths, strategy, and habits are well-understood, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to take advantage of that knowledge. “Bones” fights at the kickboxing range or in the clinch, two areas where he’s proven almost impossible to outwork.

Reyes puts Jones in a more challenging position than most. Since Reyes is a similar size to Jones and has a powerful left kick of his own, it’s unlikely that Jones will simply be able to stop him in his tracks with kicks. Meanwhile, if Jones is sloppy in pursuing the clinch, Reyes has proven plenty dangerous by taking a step back and firing his left hand.

That’s not to say Jones cannot find success with either of those strategies though — he just has to be wary. If there’s one major change I would like to see Jones make, it’s to fight largely as a Southpaw. Copying Reyes’ stance would help eliminate the value of Reyes left kick, and inexperienced Southpaws rarely look all that sharp against other lefties.

It seems an easy recipe for the clinch.


Dominick Reyes

Record: 12-0
Key Wins: Volkan Oezdemir (UFC Fight Night 147), Chris Weidman (UFC on ESPN 6), Ovince St. Preux (UFC 229), Jared Cannonier (UFC Fight Night 132), Joachim Christensen (UFC Fight Night 112)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: A long and powerful Southpaw striker, Reyes has built much of his game off the threat of his dangerous left kick and left hand. Otherwise, Reyes has thus far displayed solid defensive wrestling, which has allowed him to let his strikes fly.

As with most of Jones’ prior opponents, there are a few ways Reyes can lose this fight: Jones might look to keep him far away and out-kick “The Devastator,” he may try to keep the fight in the clinch, or he may look to wrestle his foe to the mat. Reyes, meanwhile, wants to get into the pocket, where his boxing and left hand could potentially carry him to victory.

In short, Reyes has to move forward without getting too close, which is difficult against a man who sets traps so well in Jones. If there’s one adjustment Reyes could make to his lifea bit easier, body punches would be wise. The mid-section is an easier target, thus Reyes would be less likely to over-extend, and a crisp straight to the belly is difficult to shoot or clinch through.


Bottom Line

As with most Jones title fights, this is either the shocking night in which Jones falls, or just another statistic in his incredible reign.

Jones seems to be hinting that his immediate future may be at Heavyweight, and Reyes is one of the contenders remaining that serve as an argument that Jones hasn’t cleared out the current division. Victory here grants “Bones” yet another title defense for his record, as well as clearing the way for a potential move up.

As for Reyes, this is his night to aim for a Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva-esque performance. It may seem a bit early for Reyes, but he does have considerable athleticism and solid fundamentals, to the point that a major rise in performance would not be shocking. While it would obviously be huge for Reyes career to be the man who hands Jones his first actual loss, this is also unlikely to be his only shot at the title.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 247 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+/Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

For the rest of the UFC 247 fight card and line up click here.

At UFC 247, Jon Jones and Dominick Reyes will go to war in the main event. Which man will leave the cage strapped with gold?

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