Newly minted UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has been trading back and forth barbs with current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Most recently, Adesanya has claimed that Jones is “jealous” and “intimated” of him because he is the “new face of the UFC”. Jones hit back by saying that he is pursuing the history books as the greatest 205-pound fighter of all-time and he isn’t after Dragon Ball Z fans. Bones even called Adesanya a “nerd” for his love of anime.
Adesanya Moving up to Fight Jones
Adesanya has previously said that he wants to fight Jones in 2021 when the Los Angeles Raiders’ new stadium is finished but after how things have gone between these two stars, then we may not have to wait that long. Since Conor McGregor took a hiatus, the UFC’s bottom line figure has taken a hit. The UFC has tried to book super fights like Brock Lesnar vs Daniel Cormier and even Jon Jones vs Lesnar but none of its proposed marketing fights have materialized. If Jones vs Adesanya happens, it will be a fight of great proportions.
Right before UFC 243, UFC President Dana White spoke to Sky Sports New Zealand and talked about the possibility of New Zealand’s Israel Adesanya facing UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in a super fight should the Last Stylebender defeat Robert Whitaker. Well, Adesanya took care of business against Whitaker and the trash talk between him and Jones has not cooled down. So the MMA betting gods have opened up the betting lines for the possible super fight between two of the UFC’s top fighters today. Here are the opening odds for that 205-pound super bout:
Odds were taken from Betonline.ag as of 10/10/19
Jones Opens as Big Favorite
Not surprisingly, Jones is a big MMA betting favorite over Adesanya. Dominant as the Last Stylebender was against Whitaker, he will be moving up 20 pounds in weight to take on Jones. Adesanya has fought at cruiserweight and heavyweight before but that was in the New Zealand kickboxing tournament “King in the Ring” in 2015. Since he transitioned to MMA, Adesanya has fought exclusively at 185-pound and since joining the UFC in 2018, we have never heard him having problems making 185 pounds so going up to light heavyweight could pose some problems for him.
Adesanya’s listed height is at 6-4, the same as Jones’ declared height. However, Adesanya’s 80-inch reach advantage pales in comparison to Jones’ 84.5 reach which is currently the longest in the UFC. Adesanya is known for his tremendous reflexes and swift movement which makes him avoid damage by not getting hit. The Last Stylebender likes to lean back to avoid his opponent’s strikers and then fire back with counters that are so deadly that he’s knocked out 14 out of his 18 opponents inside the cage, Whitaker included. However, that may not be the case against Jones.
Jon’s Reach Will Be a Problem
With Jones enjoying a significant reach advantage, Adesanya can’t just lean back because Jones is going to get to him. And if the reach isn’t enough of an advantage, pundits are wondering if Adesanya can retain his speed and quickness if he bulks up to 205-pounds. On the other hand, Jones is fast and smooth at light heavyweight. He’s dominated that division for almost a decade and he’s only 32 years old Adesanya is two years younger at 30 but Jones is still very well in his athletic prime.
When it comes to striking, both these men are superb tacticians. Adesanya not only throws lovely combinations but he also makes use of his elbows, knees, and kicks to mix up his attack. He’s a former champion kickboxer so there is no surprise why he’s able to utilize his legs and elbows better than most fighters. As for Jones, his power is well-known but his ability to use the other parts of his body in his striking attack has been his strength. Jones’ elbows are one of the deadliest in the game and he uses his leg kicks to start his offense. When it comes to striking, this is going to be a very exciting fight indeed.
Bones’ Wrestling Is an Even Bigger Issue
But if Jones decides to take this fight to the ground, that could be a problem for Adesanya who has never landed a takedown in the UFC. Jones isn’t an accurate takedown artist at 46% accuracy but he’s averaging 1.9 takedowns per 15 minutes. Against someone who doesn’t have enough wrestling experience at the highest level, that maybe all he needs to dominate this fight. Make no mistake, Adesanya has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Andre Galvao and that’s the same rank that Jones possesses in BJJ. But Bones was a standout high school wrestler and played defensive lineman in college football. Without a doubt, he is more equipped to handle a fight if it goes down to the mat. Don’t forget that Jones took down former UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier thrice in their first bout.
Jon Jones has faced some of the best fighters at 205-pounds and has beaten all comers. He has one loss in his resume but that was a disqualification for landing a downward elbow against Matt Hamill in 2009. Other than that, Jones has dominated his opposition at 205-pounds. He’s been at least a -500 MMA betting favorite in 10 out of his 21 UFC fights. He’s beaten the likes of Shogun Rua, Vitor Belfort, Lyoto Machida, Ryan Bader, Quinton Jackson, Rashad Evans, Glover Texeira, Daniel Cormier and most recently, Thiago Santos. He didn’t look that dominant against Santos though and he had a close call with Alexander Gustaffson in their first bout so Jones isn’t invincible at all. But for Adesanya, he needs to fight the perfect fight to beat Jon Jones. Jon may simply be too big and too strong for him. And his speed may not be the same at 205 as it was at 185.
If this fight does happen on the horizon, I see Adesanya trying to keep it standing up and avoid giving up his back to Jones. Adesanya has the striking to give Jones trouble. But while I respect his power, we saw Jones negate Thiago Santos’ vaunted power in his most recent title defense. Jones is such a master of the game, it’s hard to beat him. But hey, if Izzy keeps that speed and avoids getting hit, he has the style to frustrate Jones. That is if he isn’t taken to the ground. Adesanya has an 85% takedown defense but he’s not defended a light heavyweight taking him down. Jones is not just a light heavyweight, he is the GOAT of that division. If this fight happens before Jones is 35, I think it’s an easy win for Jon Jones.