Jon Jones (-800) vs. Vitor Belfort (+550)
On Saturday night, September 22nd, world class MMA returns to Canada as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones attempts to make the fourth defense of his title against UFC veteran Victor Belfort at UFC 152 from the Air Canada Centre.
Dan Henderson was previously scheduled to face off against Jones. However, he was forced to withdraw from the bout due to an injury. Fortunately, Belfort was able to step in as the late replacement.
Although Henderson would’ve been the preferred opponent, Belfort (21-9) is a formidable opponent considering his track record. Hailing from Brazil, Belfort previously captured the UFC light heavyweight title in 2004 when he defeated Randy Couture via TKO. In addition, he holds respectable victories against former MMA champions Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin.
Jones (16-1) is a 25-year-old American wrestling phenom who has been on a tear the last couple of years. During that span, Jones has built up quite a resume with dominating victories over Stephan Bonnar, Brandon Vera, Mauricio Rua, Quinton Jackson, Lyota Machida, and Rashad Evans. Jones’ lone loss was a disqualification in a bout against Matt Hamill.
At several sports books, Jones is currently a huge favorite at -800.
The consensus holds that while Belfort is a good opponent, he doesn’t really bring anything to the table that Jones hasn’t seen in his 17 fight career. Further, the manner in which Jones has destroyed his light heavyweight competition in recent years, has convinced many MMA experts that he is clearly the cream of the crop in the light heavyweight division.
On the undercard, there are a few bouts which have the potential to steal the show.
Joseph Benavidez (-270) vs. Demetrious Johnson (+230) – In a bout which will crown the UFC’s first flyweight champion, Benavidez is the expert’s choice to shine on Saturday night. Benavidez (16-2) has only lost to one fighter twice, Dominick Cruz, the current UFC Bantamweight Champion. Johnson’s (15-2-1) two losses have come to lesser opposition, but he should not be overlooked as he’s proven to be a tough nut to crack.
Michael Bisping (-175) vs. Brian Stann (+155) – Bisping (22-4) is coming off a disputed loss to Chael Sonnen where he gained a ton of respect in the process. Stann (12-4) was utterly destroyed by Sonnen at UFC 136. Stann is live, but the obvious edge has to go to Bisping.
Matt Hamill (-350) vs. Roger Hollett (+260) – Hamill (10-4) is coming off two straight losses. However, he’s a big favorite because Hollett (13-3) has never faced anyone of Hamill’s caliber. Hence, most experts believe Hollett will not be in Hamill’s league.
Cub Swanson (+180) vs. Charles Oliveira (-240) – In a potential cracker, Swanson (17-5) will shoot for another upset as he takes on Brazilian stud Oliveira (16-2). Most in the know expect Oliveira to shine.