The 205 lb. title fight between reigning champion Jon Jones and challenger Vitor Belfort will provide the main event to Sept. 22’s UFC 152. Jones was originally slated to face Dan Henderson at UFC 151, but that event was cancelled when Henderson injured his knee during training.
The matchup between the 16-1 Jones and the 21-9 Belfort is intriguing for several reasons. First, although the incredibly talented young champion Jones has yet to be significantly tested in his UFC career, he faces in Belfort an opponent with incredible speed, athleticism and natural talent. The career arcs of the two fighters have followed a similar path to date – with the significant difference, of course, being that Jones is nearly 10 years younger than Belfort.
Belfort is known for the blinding speed and devastating power of his punch flurries. The only other opponent Jones has faced with similar speed was Lyoto Machida, who was able to tag Jones with hard punches several times before being put to sleep with a standing guillotine in the second round of their bout at UFC 140. To his credit, Jones showed a solid chin during that fight, but he would be wise not to rely on it against a striker of Belfort’s caliber.
Two of the biggest advantages Jones will possess in his matchup with Belfort are his tremendous range and his clinch wrestling. With four inches of height and 10 inches of reach on Belfort, Jones will be able to make it difficult for Belfort to get close enough to land one of his trademark flurries. If Belfort becomes frustrated and rushes inside, he will face Jones’ array of flashy Greco-Roman throws.
Although Belfort will display flashes of his former brilliance during this bout, he will eventually be taken down and TKO’d by a series of elbows from the champ.