UFC 232: Jones vs Gustafsson Preview
Fight 1: Featherweight– (#5) Chad Mendes vs (#10) Alexander Volkanovski
To kick off the main card we see a fight between 18-4, former title contender Chad “Money” Mendes taking on 18-1 rising star Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski. Mendes who is 2-3 in his last 5 fights, is coming off of a Round 1 TKO of Myles Jury, which was his first fight in over two years after his suspension. Volkanovski, on the other hand, is riding a 15 fight win streak, and a five-fight win streak in the UFC, with his last win being just earlier this year over Darren Elkins via Unanimous Decision. While not necessarily a #1 contenders fight, in a division in which the champ has beaten almost everyone else, an impressive win can get either up there, possibly even putting them one fight away from contending for the belt. Betting odds wise, we see a close one, with Mendes(-135) just edging out Volkanovski(+125)
Fight 2: Light-Heavyweight– (#5) Ilir Latifi vs (#10) Corey Anderson
The second fight of the evening can be very interesting. We see 15-5 1NC Ilir Latifi fighting 12-4 Corey Anderson. Latifi at the moment is 5-1 in his last 6, winning his last fight against Ovince Saint-Preux via Round 1 submission. In the other corner is Corey Anderson who is 2-2 in his last 4, winning the last time out over veteran Glover Teixeira via Decision. Both men come into this fight needing a very impressive win, as with a possible returning Cormier challenging the winner, and an obvious top contender in Anthony Smith, with an unimpressive win, either man could just get lost in the shuffle. A loss for either man pretty much eliminates them from title contention for the foreseeable future. In this fight, we continue to see a tight betting odds race, with Latifi (-135) sitting as a slight favorite over Anderson(+125).
Fight 3: Welterweight– Carlos Condit vs (#9 LW) Michael Chiesa
In the last non-title fight of the night, we see former Interim Welterweight, and former title contender Carlos Condit fighting new coming Welterweight Michael Chiesa. Neither man is on a very impressive run, with Chiesa moving up after a two-fight losing streak, and Condit going on a horrific run of 2-7 in his last 9, losing his last 4. Out of everyone on the card, Condit needs a win the most. Another loss and it would be five in a row, that almost certainly would require he retire, or be cut by the UFC.
Yet, we see Michael Chiesa on the opposite side of the octagon also needing a win. Neither man can afford a loss, yet a win doesn’t do much for either fighter as well. A win for Condit sees him hold on to the end of his career, and a win for Chiesa just barely cracks him into the top 10 Welterweights. Unsurprisingly, we see Chiesa(-145) close as a slight favorite over the former title contender Condit(+135).
Co-Main Event: Women’s Featherweight Championship- Cris “Cyborg” Justino (c) vs Amanda Nunes (W-BW c)
And here we go. The first title fight of two on the card pits Champion vs Champion, in a fight which decides who truly is the greatest female mixed martial artist of all time. The challenger, Amanda Nunes, who currently also sits as the Women’s Bantamweight Champion, looks to move her win streak up to eight by beating the current Women’s Featherweight Champion and Women’s MMA G.O.A.T Cris “Cyborg” Justino. While Amanda Nunes is quite well known for her destruction of Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey, she sees herself across the cage from the hardest challenge, and best fighter she’s ever been in the cage against. Amanda Nunes is coming off of a 4 and 1/2 round beating of Raquel Pennington winning via Round 5 TKO.
While Nunes has remained impressive, you can look at Cyborg’s streak and history, and she is doing inhuman things. Cyborg currently sits on a 10 fight winning streak, which would be 20, if not for the failed drug test back in 2011. She hasn’t lost a fight since 2005, being unbeaten for almost 13 years. Cyborg is also known, like Nunes, for her great finishing, as only two women have made it too decision, that being Holly Holm, and Yoko Takahashi, of which both she won. This is without a doubt Cyborg’s toughest challenge as well, facing someone as dangerous as Nunes, but with experience against dangerous strikers, such as Holly Holm, Cyborg may have the advantage on the feet, and without a doubt in the clinch.
Cyborg’s last fight was against Yana Kunitskaya, in which she won via Round 1 TKO. Yet again, we see a predictable betting line with Cyborg(-225) being the second heaviest favorite on the main card over Amanda Nunes(+205)
Main Event: Light Heavyweight Championship- (#1) Jon Jones vs (#2) Alexander Gustafsson
Main event time as we see Jon “Bones” Jones return again to face Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson. In a rematch of what many consider as the best Light Heavyweight title fight of all time, as well as one of the overall best of all time. Gustafsson rides a 2 fight winning streak entering the bout, seeing him go 3-2 since the last fight against Jones. Gustafsson is seen as the biggest threat to Jones, in his entire career. He has also been highly praised by Champ Champ Daniel Cormier, as after the split decision loss to Cormier, Cormier said he wished to never fight Gustafsson again, as the fight knocked Cormier out of fighting for around a year. Alexander Gustafsson won his last fight against Glover Teixeira via Round 5 KO.
On the other spectrum, we have Jon Jones, who since their last fight has gone 3-0 1 NC. Jones, who is without a doubt is the most controversial fighter the world of the UFC has seen in a very long time. Jon Jones is a fighter that is loved or hated, with almost no middle ground. Jones last fight was against Daniel Cormier, in which Jon Jones won via KO. However, after the fight, Jones was flagged for a doping agent, and was stripped of the belt for a 3rd time. Jones attended hearing with the NSAC, and overall was found out that the drugs in his body was a tainted supplement. But if it all ended there. As of just a few days ago, Jones was flagged again, and although it was said that the drug was the equivalent of “a grain of sand split into 50 million pieces, being just one of those pieces” and that the drug was most likely left over from the test last year, being around Christmas, the commission could not hold a vote, and thus, the fight would be canceled.
The fight was then moved to LA. So for all the headache that this fight has caused can it still make up for the negative by putting on a terrific fight? Absolutely.
Expect a terrific fight between 2 of the 3 greatest Light Heavyweights in the world, and hopefully, everything goes smoothly, during, and after the fight. Betting odds wise, we see Jones(-270) has the heaviest favorite on the main card over the underdog Gustafsson(+335).