Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou have been going back and forth in social media over the last week. Although UFC President Dana White doubts whether the two actually want to fight each other, the thought of a Jones vs Ngannou super fight is so salivating that the oddsmakers have already come up with the early betting odds for the possible match-up.
Jones has not fought since successfully defending his UFC 205-pound title against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 last February. Jones was involved in a DUI incident after that but it seems he’s survived his latest brush with the law. On the other hand, Ngannou is fresh off a twenty-second destruction of Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 249 a couple of weeks ago.
Jon “Bones” Jones
Jon Jones is the current and two-time UFC light heavyweight champion. The 32-year old is the youngest champion in the history of the UFC. He is currently the #1 ranked pound for pound fighter in the UFC and is considered by some as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all-time.
Jones has a record of 26-1-1 with 10 knockouts and 6 wins via submission. Jones’ only loss was a disqualification after he landed illegal elbows. The no-contest was originally a knockout win over Daniel Cormier which was overturned after Jones tested positive for a banned substance. Having said those, Jones is really undefeated in his MMA career.
It’s been years since Jones has been teasing a move to the heavyweight division. The first rumors came when Cain Velasquez was still champion. Jones has cleaned up his division back and forth and he has beaten three out of the Top 4 ranked light heavyweights today.
Bones is a cerebral fighter who can fight on his feet and on the ground. He has incredible reach and height for his weight class, giving him the ability to pick apart his opponents from afar. He utilizes elbows, knees, and kicks in his striking while also possessing elite submission skills. Jones is 6-4 tall with a reach of 84 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Francis “Predator” Ngannou
Francis Ngannou is the #2 ranked heavyweight contender. The 33-year old Cameroonian is one of the most feared fighters in the history of the UFC because of his insane punching power. Ngannou once challenged for the UFC heavyweight title but lost a five-round decision to Stipe Miocic.
The Predator is 15-3 with 11 knockouts and 4 wins via submission. After suffering back to back losses to Miocic and Derrick Lewis, he has picked up four consecutive victories, all via first-round knockout. In his last bout, Ngannou annihilated Jairzinho Rozenstruik in 20 seconds at UFC 249 last May 9th.
Ngannou has been calling for another title shot after his recent knockout streak. He wanted his fight against Rozenstruik to be an interim title fight with Stipe Miocic busy with his frontliner duties amidst the pandemic. #1 contender Daniel Cormier has also expressed his intention to fight Ngannou but no question, Jon Jones is the bigger money fight.
The Cameroonian has freakish punching power but outside that, he has shown little inside the octagon. During his infamous loss to Miocic, Ngannou got taken down six times by the champion and he was helpless on the ground. That said, every fight starts on the feet and the Predator needs just one punch to put an opponent to sleep.
Here are the current odds for that super fight:
Odds were taken from Bovada as of 05/17/2020
Jones As Underdog
Jon Jones as betting underdog is not unheard of but we have to go back to January 31, 2009, at UFC 94 to see the last time it happened. It was Jon’s 8th professional MMA fight and he was up against TUF 1 finalist Stephan Bonnar in that bout. Jones won that fight via unanimous decision. Since then, Jones has been the betting favorites in all his bouts.
But fighting Ngannou is a different story. Not only is Jones fighting outside his comfort zone by moving up in weight class, but he will also be fighting one of the hardest-hitting fighters in the history of the UFC.
After losing back to back fights including a title shot against Stipe Miocic, the Predator has won four straight bouts, all by knockout, and all four coming via a combined time of 2 minutes and 42 seconds. Overall, all of his 15 wins have been by stoppage: 11 by knockout and 4 by submission.
As for Ngannou, there is no question of why he is the favorite here. He possesses the size advantage over Jones and all he needs is just one punch to put the UFC light heavyweight champion to sleep.
How Will This Fight Play Out?
Because of his size advantage, it’s obvious what Francis Ngannou’s game plan will be against Jon Jones: move forward and land the punch that will knock Jones out. Ngannou doesn’t have to connect cleanly to knock his opponents out. Remember when he knocked out Cain Velasquez?
I don’t think that Ngannou will try to take the fight to the ground. His lack of wrestling ability was very obvious when he fought Stipe Miocic for the title. Miocic took him down six times and each time he was down, he looked defenseless and clueless on what to do. I’m not sure if he wants to be on his back against a very able submission artist like Jon Jones.
As for Jones, he laid out his game plan in a recent interview. According to Bones, he would fight Ngannou smart and avoid the Predator’s power shots before ultimately getting the big Cameroonian down where he (Jones) feels he has the advantage. If he can put Ngannou on his back, he has the elite grappling skills to dominate.
But Jones can be stubborn sometimes. When he fought a decorated Muay Thai fighter in Thiago Santos, he never attempted a takedown and instead obliged to fight toe to toe with Santos in the stand-up. Make no mistake, Jones has an excellent stand-up game and he also has a good chin. But he’s never faced someone with the power of Ngannou.
This is an intriguing fight to pick. Ngannou will go for the knockout while Jones will try to survive the early onslaught. If Jon gets past the first round, I think Ngannou will start to slow down as 11 of his 18 bouts have ended in round one. During his losses to Miocic and Lewis, he was tentative against opponents who were threats to put him on his back. Jones is just as tall and Ngannou and even has a one-inch reach advantage over the Predator so if he can get close, I think he can take Ngannou down.
I’m still torn at who to pick right now. But I’m thinking of live betting and betting after round one if it goes beyond that. I think Jones has the advantage in a long fight and we’ve seen him gone five rounds so many times.
So yeah, Jon Jones if the fight gets past round one. He is more skilled than Ngannou. Straight up though, I will go with Ngannou who needs just one punch to win this.