Predict the outcomes of the two main events at UFC 197 in Jon Jones vs. OSP and Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo. Who wins those bouts, and how?
MICHAEL BANE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Is Jon Jones the greatest MMA fighter of all time? It might be too early to say that, but it might not be as well. You can at least make an intelligent argument that what the 28 year old has accomplished in his twenty-two fights has put him at the top of all that have ever competed. Were it not for his own, self-destructive behaviors, we could be talking about Jones taking on the Heavyweight Champ at this moment to become a dual champion.
But alas, that’s not what we have. Due to poor vehicular operation choices and injury, we’re left with a guy who never lost his belt fighting a guy who should never fight for one for a “title” that shouldn’t exist at the moment. The Interim Title fight between Jones and Ovince Saint Preux isn’t a fight we’re watching to see who wins, it’s a fight we’re watching to see what Jones can do after his absence from the sport. OSP is a decent first fight back. He’s long, lanky, and a legitimate top ten talent at 205 pounds. He’s just not close to the same level of mixed martial artist as Johnny Bones is. It’s always possible that he catches Jones with something wild and ends his night, but possible is not even close to probable. Jones angry! Jones Smash! Bones makes a statement with a second round TKO.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo is a chance for Johnson to get one fight closer to breaking Anderson Silva’s title defense record. Might Mouse keeps refining his skills and getting better, and may be the most technically sound fighter in the sport at the moment. There’s nothing he doesn’t do well. The problem with fighting Johnson is that no matter how hard you train, his technique is so fine-tuned you can’t surprise him. He can adapt and transition from discipline to discipline as needed to continue to play to his strengths.
Cejudo is an undefeated former Olympian who has elite athleticism. He’s also a very large flyweight, too large at times, as he’s had a history of having trouble making 125 pounds. A top wrestler, Cejudo’s also evolved into a solid striker. His natural strength giving him good power, but he’s still very early in his MMA development. It’s easy to say it’s too early in his career for Cejudo to try to take on Johnson, but he is the #2 ranked fighter in the division, and quite frankly, there isn’t anyone else.
Cejudo is going to take a huge step forward to upset the reigning champ, but it’s not without precedent to see a fighter rise to the occasion. That said, Johnson prepares too well and is much too focused to get caught off guard. Cejudo has all the tools to be a champion, but it’s not today. Johnson by decision as the under-appreciated Mighty Mouse pulls within a single victory of tying Anderson Silva for consecutive title defenses.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think Jones wins by knockout in the second round. It’s nothing against OSP, but Jones is one of the best fighters in the world. The same could be said about Johnson. However, Johnson lacks the killer instinct that Jones has shown in the past and I think he wins a dull decision over Cejudo. Johnson’s biggest problem is that no one is there to challenge him. His talent level is such that he’s going to beat just about anyone by virtue of being in the cage with them. Cejudo is an enormously talented wrestler, but I don’t think he possesses the skills to beat Johnson. I want to see an exciting fight, but I can’t expect that, not given Johnson’s past wins. He makes talented fighters look ordinary, and I think he does that again in this fight.
DAYNE FOX, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Really? You want my prediction? How about we call it a foregone conclusion as the two most dominant fighters in their respective weight classes are throwing down. Who here with half a brain doesn’t think that Jon Jones and Demetrious Johnson aren’t going to walk out of Vegas with gold around their waist?
The less said about Jones vs. OSP the better as Saint Preux’s chances are slim and none… at best. This is the same guy who lost to Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira in the last two years, two fighters whom Jones easily disposed of. And now Jones has apparently put aside certain recreational activities in favor of a life more focused on his family and (more importantly in this context, though not in the grand scheme of things) his craft. This could be really bad. Jones scores a finish in the second round after toying with OSP in the first.
I think Cejudo has a lot of potential and has the talent to upset the only flyweight champion the UFC has known. I just don’t think he has had enough time to develop those talents or a sufficient fight IQ to finish the job. Johnson has so many different ways to beat him that it isn’t funny. Cejudo is an Olympic gold medal wrestler which leads one to believe that would be his best route to victory, but I still favor Johnson in the wrestling department since MMA wrestling is a completely different animal than what the pure form of the sport has to offer. Cejudo is a tough SOB so I see him lasting to the end and perhaps even taking a single round. But that would be about the extent as Johnson continues to be the only king of 125 we’ve known.
[Jon Jones art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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