411's MMA Roundtable - UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort
Posted by Dan Plunkett on 09.21.2012
Jon Jones faces Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC 152! Plus, Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson battle to see who will be the first UFC flyweight champion, Michael Bisping fights Brian Stann and more! Check out the full roundtable for all the details and join 411 for LIVE coverage of the event on Saturday night!
Jon Jones looks to make his fourth successful defense of the UFC light heavyweight title when he takes on Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC 152! The inaugural flyweight title will be decided in the co-main event as Joseph Benavidez battles Demetrious Johnson. In a middleweight feature, Michael Bisping faces Brian Stann. Also, Matt Hamill comes out of retirement against Roger Hollet, Cub Swanson and Charles Oliveira each look to make it three in a row when they meet, and more!
He used to write some obscure column here, Dustin James!
From MMA's 3R's, Jeffrey Harris!
From Occupy The Throne, Jeremy Lambert!
From The MMA 5 & 1, Stewart Lange!
From Locked in the Guillotine, Robert Winfree!
From The 411 MMA Top Ten, Alex Rella!
It's only his second time picking, so be gentle to Todd Vote!
And from The Greatest MMA News Column, Dan Plunkett!
THE PRELIMINARY CARD:
First two prelims to air on Facebook.com, rest on FX
Seth Baczynski vs. Simeon Thoresen
Dustin James: Seth Baczynski, TKO, Round 2 Jeffrey Harris: Seth Baczynski, TKO, Round 1 Jeremy Lambert: Baczynski, Decision Stewart Lange: Baczynski, Decision Robert Winfree: Seth Baczynski, Decision Alex Rella: Seth Baczynski, TKO, Round 1 Todd Vote:Thoresen submission Rd. 2 Dan Plunkett: Baczynski, Decision. The staff picks Seth Baczynski, 7-1.
Mitch Gagnon vs. Walel Watson
Dustin James: Walel Watson, Decision Jeffrey Harris: Walel Watson, Decision Jeremy Lambert: Watson, TKO, Round 1 Stewart Lange: Watson, TKO, Round 1 Robert Winfree: Walel Watson, TKO Round 2 Alex Rella: Mitch Gagnon, Decision Todd Vote Gagnon submission rd 3 Dan Plunkett: Watson, Decision. The staff picks Walel Watson, 6-2.
Charlie Brenneman vs. Kyle Noke
Dustin James: Charlie Brenneman, Decision Jeffrey Harris: Charlie Brenneman, Decision Jeremy Lambert: Brenneman, Decision Stewart Lange: Brenneman, Decision Robert Winfree: Charlie Brenneman, Decision Alex Rella: Charlie Brenneman, Decision Todd Vote: Brenneman decision Dan Plunkett: Brenneman, Decision. The staff picks Charlie Brenneman, 8-0.
Vinny Magalhaes vs. Igor Pokrajac
Dustin James: Igor Pokrajac, Decision Jeffrey Harris: Igor Pokrajac, TKO, Round 1 Jeremy Lambert: Magalhaes, Submission, Round 1 Stewart Lange: Pokrajac, Decision Robert Winfree: Igor Pokrajac, TKO Round 1 Alex Rella: Igor Pokrajac, Decision Todd Vote: Magalhaes TKO rd. 3 Dan Plunkett: Magalhaes, Submission, Round 2. The staff picks Igor Pokrajac, 5-3.
Evan Dunham vs. T.J. Grant
Dustin James: Evan Dunham, Decision Jeffrey Harris: Evan Dunham, Decision Jeremy Lambert: Dunham, Submission, Round 1 Stewart Lange: Dunham, Submission, Round 2 Robert Winfree: Evan Dunham, Decision Alex Rella: TJ Grant, Submission Todd Vote:Evan Dunham Submission rd. 2 Dan Plunkett: Dunham, Decision. The staff picks Evan Dunham, 7-1.
Lance Benoist vs. Sean Pierson
Dustin James: Lance Benoist, Decision Jeffrey Harris: Sean Pierson, Decision Jeremy Lambert: Benoist, Decision Stewart Lange: Pierson, Decision Robert Winfree: Sean Pierson, Decision Alex Rella: Sean Pierson, Decision Todd Vote:Pierson Decision Dan Plunkett: Benoist, Decision The staff picks Sean Pierson, 5-3.
Marcus Brimage vs. Jim Hettes
Dustin James: Jim Hettes, Submission, Round 1 Jeffrey Harris: Jim Hettes, Submission, Round 1 Jeremy Lambert: Hettes, Decision Stewart Lange: Brimage, TKO, Round 2 Robert Winfree: Jim Hettes, Submission Round 2 Alex Rella: Jim Hettes, Submission, Round 1 Todd Vote:Hettes Submission rd. 2 Dan Plunkett: Hettes, TKO, Round 2. The staff picks Jim Hettes, 7-1.
THE MAIN CARD:
Charles Oliveira vs. Cub Swanson
Dustin James: If this fight isn't awesome, I'll be extremely disappointed. Charles "do Bronx" Oliveira and Cub Swanson are two of the most exciting fighters in the UFC's featherweight division and if for some reason this fight doesn't win "Fight of the Night" honors, I will not only be shocked....but I'll be super excited because that means another fight on this otherwise mediocre card was actually better. With all that said, I'm not really sure who to pick to win this sucker. A year ago, I probably would have taken Oliveira and not even batted an eye at the whole thing. However, Swanson has looked extremely impressive in his previous two fights in 2012 and it seems like he's not letting anything get in his way en route to a potential rematch with Jose Aldo (LOL). Speaking of impressive though, that's also how "do Bronx" has looked this year as well. Oliveira defeated Eric Wisely at UFC on FOX 2 with one of the coolest submissions we've ever seen and he followed that up with a nice win over Jonathan Brookins last June. If Oliveira can finish Swanson in the same kind of fashion he finished his previous two opponents in 2012, there's no doubt in my mind we'll all be mentioning his name when it comes to top contenders in the UFC's featherweight division. Sit down Frankie Edgar, I wasn't talking about you.
Winner: Charles Oliveira, Submission, Round 2
Jeffrey Harris: Nice fight for the featherweight division that is really getting overlooked. Oliveira was pretty formidable at lightweight already and it looks like he's going to be an absolute beast at featherweight and I think this fight will cement that. Swanson is a decent fighter and a banger, but Oliveira is a much better and fearsome striker and his grappling is many classes above Swanson as well considering he's submitted some very tough wrestlers and grinders before. I think Swanson will put up a good fight attempt, but Oliveira eventually gets this to the ground and gets the submission.
Winner: Charles Oliveira, Submission, Round 1
Jeremy Lambert: This is a great fight in the featherweight division. Oliveira was making some noise at 155 before running into two top guys, but now he's down at 145 and proving that he's as talented as they come. Swanson has been inconsistent and injury prone for much of his career, but he's proved in his last two fights that he's a dangerous fighter. Swanson has shown so much improved striking recently, but if Oliveira fights long and doesn't decide to get into a brawl, which he has the tendency to do, he should be comfortable standing with Swanson as he is the more diverse striker. On the ground is where I think Oliveira will end up showing his superiority in this fight though. Oliveira is the much better grappler and is great in the clinch at getting takedowns and initiating scrambles. Oliveira has also proven that he has great killer instinct and if Swanson leaves an opening, Oliveira will attack and finish.
Winner: Oliveira, Submission, Round 2
Stewart Lange: Exactly the sort of fight that we want from the featherweight division. Oliveira is a ferocious fighter and while we've seen him lose I don't think he'll slip up here. Not to take anything away from Cub Swanson, far from it, but I don't think he'll be able to avoid the submission game and vicious finishing of the Brazilian. Swanson should probably try to out-strike Oliveira, not that he'll have an advantage but a)he's more than capable of landing a finishing blow and b) it'd make for ONE HELL of a fight. Colour me excited.
Winner: Oliveira, Submission, Round 3
Robert Winfree: This should actually be a good fight, I don't think either guy has ever had a boring outing. Charles Oliveira seems to have found himself after a couple of setbacks at lightweight. Swanson looks like he's finally finding his stride, at least based on his last outing. I wouldn't be surprised to see Swanson land a good punch and put Oliveira out, but Oliveira is the smarter pick here.
Winner: Charles Oliveira, Submission, Round 2
Alex Rella: Both guys have had two impressive wins in a row but Oliveira should win this one. Oliveira was looking pretty good in the lightweight division before losing to Cerrone and Jim Miller. He's looked even more impressive since dropping down to featherweight. His calf slicer submission was especially awesome. Cub Swanson will be looking to knock him out but I don't think it's likely.
Winner: Oliviera, Submission, Round 2
Todd Vote: Cub Swanson has been on fire in his last two fights. We have seen his striking game improve massively. He's going to be looking to knock out Oliveira, while Oliveira will most likely be looking to take things to the ground. As much as I would love to see Cub continue his winning ways, he may be in a bit over his head here.
Winner: Oliveira, Submission, rd 3
The staff picks Charles Oliveira, 7-0.
Matt Hamill vs. Roger Hollett
Dustin James: Matt Hamill is coming out of retirement, and yet I just don't care at all. I've never been a big fan of Matt Hamill's and I don't really care that he's returning to the UFC. The last time we saw Hamill he was getting his ass beat at the hands of Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 133 and for some reason, Hamill thinks he's improved his game following some time off and he's ready to come out and show everyone that he's returned to the form of the fighter he was back when he won five straight in the UFC. He lost two straight inside the Octagon before he subsequently retired, but his previous wins before that were against Tito Ortiz (who's now retired), Keith Jardine (who sucks), and a horrible DQ win over current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones. In other words, Hamill isn't that great of a fighter and Roger Hollett has a good chance to make an immediate name for himself in his UFC debut with a win over "The Hammer". Hollett is riding a five-fight win streak into the UFC, but he hasn't beaten anyone worth a damn in his MMA career and a win over Hamill would easily be the biggest win of his career. Will he able to nail that achievement? C'mon now. Hamill might suck, but he's gotta be better than Hollett.....right?
Winner: Matt Hamill, Decision
Jeffrey Harris: Hamill comes back from retirement for this fight. I hope he's coming back for the right reasons and he's not in desperate need of money and that he's got the fire back. Hamill's always had some heavy hands and kicks, but his striking technique has always been a little sloppy. He's got very good wrestling and takedowns as well. His opponent, Roger Hollett is a Canadian and MMA veteran who last fought in Bellator in November 2011. I think Hamill provided that ring rust won't be took big of a factor here should be able to dominate Hollett with his wrestling to get the win unless his chin is really gone.
Winner: Matt Hamill, Decision
Jeremy Lambert: THE HAMMER IS BACK! The only man to defeat Jon Jones is back on the warpath and it starts this weekend against Hollett. We already know what Hamill brings to the table at this point. He's going to keep his hands low, throw a lot of stiff jabs, and maybe throw a right hand or head kick. It's all really just to set up his takedown though, which is pretty good when he actually commits to his shot. Hollett is a decent striker and if Hamill decides to stand with him, he'll probably eat his fair share of punches. I expect Hamill to shoot early and often though and more or less have his way with Hollett in the wrestling and grappling department. Maybe Hamill is able to force an anti-climatic stoppage, but I'm going the pessimistic route and say he'll just win a decision.
Winner: Hamill, Decision
Stewart Lange: I'm glad to see Matt Hamill back inside the Octagon, but in all honesty I feel like I've seen him more recently than GSP. Anyway, this shouldn't be a tough test for him and while Hollett may pose a problem on the feet, I wouldn't say any more so than most people Hamill has faced in his career. Can't see "The Hammer" finishing this, but it'll be a clear unanimous decision. What will be next I don't know, I think he's always going to be one decisive loss away from retiring again, but for the time being it'll be good to have him back.
Winner: Hamill, Decision
Robert Winfree: Oh, Matt Hamill is back. I don't care really. Hamill is a middle of the road fighter, or at least he was, I can't say how he'll look now. Roger Hollett is either going to make a name for himself with his striking, or get smothered by Hamill. Smart money is on the latter.
Winner: Matt Hamill, Decision
Alex Rella: I'm glad Matt Hamill is back. I'm a little disappointed that he isn't fighting Matyushenko but it happens. I expect we'll see a typical performance by the Hammer as he he'll control most of the fight on the ground but probably won't put Hollet away with a finish.
Winner: Hamill, Decision
Todd Vote: The Hammer returns! Like others, I would have loved to see the Hammer take on The Janitor, but it just wasn't meant to be at this time. That being said, Hammer could be in a tough spot if one of his arms get caught during his trademark ground and pound. Fortunately, I don't see that happening, and I see Hammill winning this fight.
Winner: Matt Hamill, Decision
The staff picks Matt Hamill, 7-0.
Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann
Dustin James: I'm actually looking forward to this fight. I'm not really a huge fan of either guy, but considering I dislike Bisping to no end....I love watching him fight due to the emotions that come with it. One of the greatest things I've ever seen in the UFC was Michael Bisping getting knocked out by Dan Henderson at UFC 100 and you bet your ass that "America's Hero" Brian Stann could do the same thing here. Stann is 4-1 in his last 5 fights inside the Octagon with his only loss coming at the hands of Chael Sonnen. Bisping is also 4-1 in his last 5 fights inside the Octagon with his only loss coming at the hands of Chael Sonnen. You beginning to see a pattern here? Many people have already stated that this fight is a potential #1 contender fight for Anderson Silva. With Silva booked to fight at UFC 153 against Stephan Bonnar and the increasing chances of a GSP vs. Silva "Super Fight" sometime at the beginning of 2013, I'm not exactly sure when we will see Silva defend his UFC middleweight title again. Not to mention, you still have guys like Chris Weidman who can make a big claim for their own shot at Anderson's title. One thing is for sure though, if either one of these guys can come out and win this fight in impressive dominant fashion, they very well could see themselves across the cage from "The Spider" in the near future. Hopefully that man will be Brian Stann. Suck it Bisping.
Winner: Brian Stann, Decision
Jeffrey Harris: I really like Brian Stann. He's an extremely likable and tough dude that hits hard, but I don't think he's as clever or wily as a fighter as Michael Bisping. I see this fight going a lot like Bisping's fight with Chris Leben. Bisping will counter-strike Stann and stay away from his power, but Bisping probably won't be able to get that big power shot either. Bisping also has very underrated takedown defense and grappling, so regardless of Stann's wrestling "improving leaps and bounds" and his living with a wrestler recently, I'm not sure it is that much better than when he got beat by Sonnen. The fight with Sonnen was less than a year ago, not sure how it could've improved that much in just two fights.
Winner: Michael Bisping, Decision
Jeremy Lambert: This might be the fight I'm most looking forward to on the fight and not just because Stewart Lange and I broke this baby down battle rap style. I'm looking forward to this fight because it's a title eliminator in the middleweight division and I really get a sense that we'll see how good Bisping really is in this fight. Bisping usually thrives against mediocre fighters who can't defend a takedown or can't figure out his rather basic footwork, but Stann doesn't fall into either category. His takedown defense might now be great and while Bisping has above average wrestling, I'm not sure it'll be good enough to get Stann down. On the feet, Stann's striking has some a long way since his days of just slugging it out and hoping for a knockout. He's turned his slugging power into technical power and added extra pieces to his game, including some outstanding knees in the clinch. Bisping will likely implement his jab, jab-straight, and move game, but that might not be enough against Stann, especially given Bisping's lack of power. Bisping would be best served to use his striking to set up his takedowns, but Stann seems pretty ready for that. Of course being ready and actually stopping it are two different things, but I think Stann will be able to fend off the majority of Bisping's takedowns, especially considering that he's not as strong or quick with his takedowns as someone like Chael Sonnen. I think Bisping will be forced to stand with Stann and eventually Stann will catch him clean, put him down, and finish him with a flurry of accurate punches.
Robert Winfree: This could be a slug fest. Both guys are primarily strikers, but Stann has much more power than Bisping. Bisping has good grappling skills, but I wonder if he'll use them here. He seems more content to counter wrestle and use his footwork to win a decision. Brian Stann uses punches as well as kicks and knees, in fact it was a couple of knees to the body that rocked Chris Leben in their fight. If Bisping wins this fight it will be by decision and he'll jab and dance his way to victory. I'm more inclined to go with Stann, he's got more power, and will very likely be prepared for Bisping's movement. The only question is if he can finish Bisping, and I'm leaning towards yes.
Winner: Brian Stann, TKO Round 2
Alex Rella: This is the fight I'm most looking forward to this weekend. This should have title implications as they both top fighters that have only lost to Chael Sonnen recently but who knows how long we'll have to wait until we actually see Anderson Silva defend the title again. Anyway this is a big fight for both men regardless. Stann is the more powerful striker and could win if Bisping stands up with him for too long. But Bisping is a lot smarter with his striking and should use his jabs to set up his takedowns as he is far better on the ground. I think Bisping moves forward in the division as he is the better all around fighter but I wouldn't be surprised if Stann pulls out a KO victory.
Winner: Bisping, TKO, Round 3
Todd Vote: Its the All American vs. Joseph Benavidez's new best friend. This should actually be a really solid fight, I'm having a hard time choosing one guy over the other. While I think Stann may possess more power, Bisping may be the better all around fighter.
Winner: Michael Bisping, Decision.
The staff picks Michael Bisping, 4-3.
UFC Flyweight Championship: Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson
Dustin James: Finally we are going to see a champion named in the UFC's flyweight division. This should be a great fight as both men have been waiting along time to get UFC gold strapped around their waists. Joseph Benavidez has been absolutely amazing since he signed with Zuffa back in 2008. The Team Alpha Male product is 8-2 with the company and is 3-0 since coming to the UFC from the WEC. His only losses have come against the current UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, which is a big reason Benavidez dropped down a weight class and jumped at the chance to fight for the UFC's flyweight title. Benavidez was my pick to win the UFC flyweight tournament when it first started and I'm not going to back off that prediction. However, Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson is not a "gimmie" win by any means and is actually far from it. Johnson holds wins over Miguel Torres, "Kid" Yamamoto, and Ian McCall, but a win over Joseph Benavidez would easily be the biggest one of his career. Johnson always comes ready to brawl and he's going to have to fight the fight of his life when he steps into the cage with Benavidez. I seriously can't wait to see this fight because if it plays out like I think it will, we are all in for a real treat.
Winner: Joseph Benavidez, Decision
Jeffrey Harris: I could see the fight going any number of ways since both guys are very evenly matched. Both guys are super tough and have incredible chins. Neither has ever been finished, only having lost by some tough decisions. Both guys are strong wrestlers and extremely quick. Johnson is one of the fastest UFC fighters I think ever. I think though Benavidez though has advantages where Johnson does not. Specifically, Benavidez has the more dangerous striking, punches, and the heavier hands and the more dangerous submissions. Johnson is more of a grinder and the type to get a workman-like decision win. The only time Johnson has finished an opponent under the ZUFFA banner was Damacio Page in the WEC. Benavidez on the other hand has submitted Miguel Torres, knocked out Rani Yahya, submitted Wagney Fabiano, and knocked out Yasuhiro Urushitani. I think the fight will stay standing for the most part and Benavidez outstrikes and dominates Johnson to get a decision victory.
Winner: Joseph Benavidez, Decision
Jeremy Lambert: I like this fight and I think it'll be a high paced affair between two well-rounded guys, but I can't help but feel that Benavidez just does everything better than Johnson, which makes it hard for me to believe that Johnson is going to win this fight. Don't get me wrong, Johnson is a good striker, a good wrestler, a good grappler, is good in the scrambles, mixes things up well, and is extremely quick, but Benavidez is just better. He's the better striker who hits harder, he's a better wrestler, grappler, and scrambler, he also mixes things up well, and if anyone can out-quick Johnson, it's Benavidez. Johnson has never shown power in his hands, which is something Benavidez actually posses despite his size, and while he's caught lesser fighters in submissions, you rarely see the Team Alpha Male guys end up in a bad position that they can't work out of and make it look easy in the process. I expect Johnson to try and mix things up in order to keep Benavidez off balance, but that's going to be easier said than done against someone with as good of takedown defense as Benavidez does. To Johnson's credit, if Benavidez decides to go for a takedown, I think Johnson will be able to easily scramble back up to his feet, but he'll have to protect his neck on the way up as Benavidez is known for having 1,000 different guillotine variations. I think Benavidez will likely keep this fight standing though as he's the harder hitter, mixes things up better, and is just the more dynamic of the two. I fully expect this fight to go 25-minutes and be ultra-competitive for all five rounds, but in the end Benavidez will take a pretty clear decision.
Winner: Benavidez, Decision
Stewart Lange:Every time I pick against Demetrious Johnson, I look like a fool. I said he'd struggle against Dominick Cruz and yes, he lost, but he didn't look terrible doing so. I also said he'd be knocked out- twice- by Ian McCall and while I still believe he was lucky to get a second fight as McCall won the first in my eyes, but hey, he's still surprised me a lot. I do, however, feel like this is Benavidez's fight to lose and that Joseph is destined to become the first ever Flyweight champion in the UFC. He's got much better striking than "Mighty Mouse" and I don't think he'll struggle with Johnson's wrestling either. This'll be a good fun fight and you know what? I'm going to say Benavidez is hungry enough to finish this.
Winner: Benavidez, TKO, Round 2
Robert Winfree: The inaugural flyweight champion will be crowned here, and I'm hesitant about this fight. Both guys are primarily wrestlers, which could mean lots of stalling against the cage and sloppy striking exchanges. This fight is also pretty much guaranteed to go the distance, neither guys is a great finisher and neither is easy to finish. So when picking a winner I can't pick against Benavidez here. Johnson doesn't bring anything that Benavidez hasn't already seen and beaten.
Winner: Joseph Benavidez, Decision
Alex Rella: This should be a really fast paced fight that will even impress Michael Bisping. I see this one going the full five rounds and spent mostly standing up. I'm taking Benavidez in this one. Benavidez has only lost to Dominick Cruz in his career and the last time they fought was Cruz' hardest fight as they went to split decision. The two fighters do have similar styles but Benavidez has the edge in pretty much everything and he is a far better striker as well.
Todd Vote: The inaugural flyweight championship is on the line, I look for this fight to be five very fast paced, high energy rounds, with Benavidez getting the better of things.
Winner: Benavidez, Decision.
The staff picks Joe Benavidez, 7-0.
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship: Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort
Dustin James: Yep folks, this is our main event. After Dan Henderson was unable to fight Jon "Bones" Jones at UFC 151 and we got the whole "UFC 151 canceled" drama, we were supposed to get "Bones" Jones vs. Lyoto Machida for the UFC light heavyweight title. Well, that main event lasted about five seconds before the UFC announced that Machida never actually accepted the fight and former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort was stepping in to fight "Bones" Jones in what was a HUGE mis-match on paper. Does anyone really think Belfort can beat "Bones" Jones? REALLY? Outside of the puncher's chance that every fighter has when they step inside the cage, there is just no feasible way that I can see Belfort beating Jones. The UFC is extremely lucky that I want to see Benavidez vs. Johnson, Oliveira vs. Swanson, and Stann vs. Bisping....because this main event isn't what's getting me to pay money to watch this card.
Winner:Jon Jones, Submission, Round 2
Jeffrey Harris: All the props and credit in the world for Belfort for stepping up and taking this fight. Though I just don't see anyway he can come out of this the winner. Even if this fight is a short-notice change, Belfort just won't be able to handle the length or the style of Jones. I think Jones has no problem staying away from Belfort's barrage of power shots and if Jones wants to get this to the ground, it is going there no matter what Belfort wants. Johnson was still able to take Belfort down pretty easily. I'd say Jones finishes this by ground and pound pretty early.
Winner:Jon Jones, TKO, Round 1
Jeremy Lambert: I'd love to lie to you and tell you that this is an even fight and that if you count out Belfort then you're an idiot, but I can't. It's no secret that Belfort hits hard and fast and if he connects clean on Jones then there's a chance that Jones is put down and out. But the chances of that happening are very slim. In order for Belfort to land punches, he has to get past the length of Jones, which is something that much better fighters have had trouble doing. Jones may not use his jab as well as he should given his reach advantage, but he uses his kicks perfectly. If Jones wants to make things hard on himself, he'll actually entertain Belfort on the feet and run the risk of getting caught, but if he wants to make things easy, he puts Belfort on his back and massacres him with elbows. It's not as if Belfort as horrible takedown defense, but he's much smaller and from the clinch, Jones can takedown anyone he faces. Plus we've seen Belfort wilt against the cage and in the clinch on more than one occasion. On the ground, Jones will have his way with Belfort. He'll either pass to a better position or he'll just brutalize him with elbows from guard. If Belfort tries to get to his feet, he runs the risk of getting caught in a choke. Once again, Belfort isn't clueless on the ground, but Jones is just so dominating from the top position that it doesn't matter who he faces, he can dominate them. If Belfort lands a big flurry, it won't be as surprising as Matt Serra over Georges St. Pierre because at least we know Belfort has that kind of explosive power and he's been in big fights before, but I'd say the odds of it happening are worse than St. Pierre vs. Serra because Jones is a more mature and complete fighter with more psychical tools than St. Pierre was at UFC 83. This fight might start slow with Jones feeling things out, but eventually Belfort will rush in or get too comfortable, and that's when Jones will make him pay by clinching up, planting on him on the ground, and landing ground and pound until the ref stops the fight.
Winner: Jones, TKO, Round 2
Stewart Lange: In a perfect world, we'd be discussing how awesome Henderson vs Jones was as I still would love to see that fight, but you know, despite not really earning a shot, I like Belfort against Jones. It's another big name victim for Jones should he win and a huge comeback story for Belfort should he get the upset. The only way I see the upset coming is if Belfort repeats his ultra-fast knockout against Wanderlei, giving Jones no chance to hit him back. See, that's when I think this will all fall apart for Belfort, when Jones reaches to hit him and Vitor has nowhere to go to escape the shot. It'll be fun for however long it lasts and it's going to be interesting to see how people react to Jon when he comes out, but this won't take long and I see much more ways for Jones to win.
Winner: Jones, TKO, Round 1
Robert Winfree: Boy what a sad series of events led us to having this as the main event. I just can't imagine Vitor Belfort winning here. He'd have to close the distance at incredible speed and land a big flurry on Jon Jones. Jones has such a huge reach advantage, and knows how to use it, that I just don't see that happening. Jones is better than Belfort in every aspect except raw power. This wont even be a terribly competitive fight.
Winner: Jon Jones, TKO Round 2
Alex Rella: I would really like Belfort to come out and shock everybody with an amazing upset but it just isn't going to happen. I was never a big fan of Belfort but you have to respect him for stepping up to fight in a division he hasn't fought in about five years. He's going to have a rough night. Belfort could make things interesting or at least stretch things out if he were to get in some quick good shots early in the fight but it most likely won't happen. Jones will likely feel him out in the first round and then kill him in the second.
Winner: Jones, TKO, Round 2
Todd Vote: What a tumultuous time it has been to find Bones an opponent. I'm not going to be all hung up on whether or not Vitor deserves to be in there, the fact is he stepped up, and he is the one Jones agreed to fight. While I would love to see Vitor pull the Rocky style upset here, I just do not see any way he can get in and land shots on Jones.
Winner: Jones, Submission Rd. 3
The staff picks Jon Jones, 7-0.
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