UFC light-heavyweight kingpin Jon ‘Bones’ Jones took to social media last week to inform his fans that he’d be glad to go up to heavyweight to end the four-fight winning streak of Francis ‘The Predator’ Ngannou.
Replying to a post from Ngannou showing highlights of his four straight first-round knockouts, Jones said he’d “literally pick [Ngannou] apart.”
Ngannou needed only 20 seconds to score a knockout win over previously-undefeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 249 on May 9 in Jacksonville. He’s clearly in line for a title shot, but he has to wait for the dust to settle on a potential trilogy showdown between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic.
Jones has three attractive options for him at 205 pounds right now. Many felt he lost his last time out to Dominick Reyes, so a rematch with him is a possibility. Jones beat Thiago Santos by split decision in 2019, but Santos tore ligaments in both of his knees early in the fight.
There’s the rematch with Santos, too, in addition to a scrap with Jan Blachowicz, who has won three fights in a row and is 7-1 in his last eight with the only loss coming to Santos.
BetOnline opened Ngannou as a -150 favorite vs. Jones early this morning, leaving Jones as a +130 underdog.
Another offshore betting shop, Bovada, has Ngannou as a -160 ‘chalk’ vs. Jones (+130).
Is this fight priced correctly? I’ll just say that I’d be all over Jones as an underdog here.
Miocic laid out the blueprint for how to beat Ngannou back at UFC 220. He implemented his wrestling early and often, tiring Ngannou out and sapping him of his power by forcing him to using his energy to defend takedowns.
Once Miocic took Ngannou to the ground early in Round 2, it was clear that we were going to see the same thing for five rounds. Jones has all the skills to do exactly what Miocic did to ‘The Predator.’
Now, does he have the chin to hold up if Ngannou can land with his hands in the opening frame? It’s a fair question, especially since Jones hasn’t fought at heavyweight before.
Remember, Ngannou did connect with some big shots on Miocic in the first round, leaving his face swollen for the rest of the fight (and probably the next week and change). Since those back-to-back losses to Miocic and to Derrick Lewis by decision in a snoozer, Ngannou has wrecked four straight foes with the quickness.
BetOnline also has Ngannou as a -140 favorite vs. Cormier, who is a +120 underdog if they meet for the interim heavyweight belt. Miocic, the reigning champ, has said he can’t fight Cormier again until the fall.
White has balked at that, saying the division has to move forward.