Jon Jones as an MMA fighter should be considered one of the most skilled of all time.
Like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Jones’ opponents have moments of success here and there, but they are so few and far between that these moments are seen as clues for an eventual game plan that can win. Take, for example, Jones vs Gustafsson from 2013. Jones took the most damage in his career in this bout and to this day I will die on the hill that Jones’ worst matchup is a boxer with a similar build.
Enter: Dominick Reyes.
Reyes is an undefeated kickboxer with more than adequate footwork, one of the missing keys in kickboxers who transition to MMA. His footwork allows him to cut angles and throw straight punches at his now vulnerable, off centre opponents. I feel the need to emphasize that Reyes throws STRAIGHT punches. While trading wild hooks may be fan friendly and very VERY entertaining, straight punches are the wheels on the car. They will get you where you need to go, even if people want to focus on other parts of the vehicle.
On the ground Reyes has not really made much of an impression.
Reyes faced Volkan Oezdemir last year in a fight everyone expected to end in a KO. The fight eventually went to the ground and neither fighter was particularly impressive. Reyes took the decision and hung on to his undefeated record.
Jon Jones’ last bout against Thiago Santos was a fight where Jon struggled and nearly lost a split decision against a man with no knees left by the final bell. On the other hand, Jones beat Gustafsson in 2018 by wrestling instead of choosing to strike. If this is the route Jones chooses to go, it would most likely go the same way the Gustafsson rematch did and we would have a short night on our hands.
Prediction: Honestly, all the signs point to Jon Jones taking the fight, but I have a feeling that we’re going to see something special tonight. Don’t @ me though.