5 Reasons Jon Jones Will Defeat Chael Sonnen, Retain Light Heavyweight Title

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Why Jon Jones Will Defeat Chael Sonnen To Retain The UFC Light Heavyweight Title

Jon Jones defeats Chael Sonnen
Paul Abell - USA Today Sports

This weekend’s UFC 159 card features MMA’s biggest new star, Jon Jones, facing off against it’s most vocal competitor, Chael Sonnen. While many of the UFC’s longer-tenured challengers to the light heavyweight crown feel that Sonnen is simply talked and hyped his way to the top, many of them had their chances to step up to the plate and let it slip.

When top contender Dan Henderson had to bow out of UFC 151 with a torn ACL suffered in training camp, UFC President Dana White and the matchmaking team at Zuffa put out an open invitation to the division, allowing anybody willing to challenge Jones for the title. Former champions like Lyoto Machida didn’t want to take a fight on a week’s notice, understanding that they would be at a training disadvantage to the champion.

White had a pay-per-view card to sell and knew he couldn’t do so without his champion on it. When he took a call from Sonnen’s camp, the match was made – until Jones decided he didn’t want to fight him. Thus began the rivalry between the two, including their term as opposing coaches on the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter. Sonnen has even laid claim to the light heavyweight title, claiming in interviews that he didn’t expect to win it “via forfeit” at the cancelled 151 event.

If you ask Sonnen, Jon Jones is going to lose this fight on Saturday night, and Sonnen will claim the crown of a division he hasn’t fought in for nearly seven years. In my opinion, while Jones will be challenged more than he thinks, Sonnen is simply going to be overmatched in his return to the 205-pound class. Jon Jones will continue his reign as one of the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters, and here’s why.

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Submissions

Submissions
Tom Szczerbowski - USA Today Sports

Sonnen has lost 12 fights in his professional career, and 8 of them came via submission. His loss to Anderson Silva came out of a seemingly advantageous position, where he was working ground-and-pound and got caught in a triangle armbar. Jones has displayed an incredible ability to adapt and submit opponents, and if Sonnen gets just a little bit lazy or overconfident, the match could turn against him in the blink of an eye.

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Size

Size
Paul Abell - USA Today Sports

Jones comes into this bout with a three-inch height advantage over the 6’1” Sonnen, and an incredible 10-inch reach advantage. With kicks keeping the challenger out of takedown range, Jones should be able to keep the fight standing up, where he can attack from several angles.

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Wrestling

Wrestling
Paul Abell - USA Today Sports

Sonnen is a world-class wrestler, perhaps the best in the UFC today. That skill is what allowed him to dominate middleweight champion Anderson Silva for most of their two fights. Jones is no slouch in this department, and was a national junior college champion in his own right. Even if the fight goes to the ground, he will be able to hold his own, and won't likely be held down for long.

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Striking

Striking
Paul Abell - USA Today Sports

While Sonnen has a tough chin, allowing him to take an incredible amount of punishment without getting knocked out, Jones’ attack can come from any direction, including spinning and jumping kicks, vicious elbows and knees in the clinch and a dominating ground and pound. Even if Sonnen stays up, Jones’s ability to score points on significant strikes could cost the challenger in a decision.

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Experience

Experience
Paul Abell - USA Today Sports

Jon Jones has only ever fought at 205 professionally. His 6’4” frame allows him to carry that weight and remain incredibly quick and agile. Sonnen hasn’t fought at 205 in over seven years, and the extra 20 pounds he’ll be carrying on Saturday could slow him down. He'll need every bit of his agility to take down the champion if he wants to leave UFC 159 with the title.

1 of 6

Why Jon Jones Will Defeat Chael Sonnen To Retain The UFC Light Heavyweight Title

Jon Jones defeats Chael Sonnen
Paul Abell - USA Today Sports

This weekend’s UFC 159 card features MMA’s biggest new star, Jon Jones, facing off against it’s most vocal competitor, Chael Sonnen. While many of the UFC’s longer-tenured challengers to the light heavyweight crown feel that Sonnen is simply talked and hyped his way to the top, many of them had their chances to step up to the plate and let it slip.

When top contender Dan Henderson had to bow out of UFC 151 with a torn ACL suffered in training camp, UFC President Dana White and the matchmaking team at Zuffa put out an open invitation to the division, allowing anybody willing to challenge Jones for the title. Former champions like Lyoto Machida didn’t want to take a fight on a week’s notice, understanding that they would be at a training disadvantage to the champion.

White had a pay-per-view card to sell and knew he couldn’t do so without his champion on it. When he took a call from Sonnen’s camp, the match was made – until Jones decided he didn’t want to fight him. Thus began the rivalry between the two, including their term as opposing coaches on the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter. Sonnen has even laid claim to the light heavyweight title, claiming in interviews that he didn’t expect to win it “via forfeit” at the cancelled 151 event.

If you ask Sonnen, Jon Jones is going to lose this fight on Saturday night, and Sonnen will claim the crown of a division he hasn’t fought in for nearly seven years. In my opinion, while Jones will be challenged more than he thinks, Sonnen is simply going to be overmatched in his return to the 205-pound class. Jon Jones will continue his reign as one of the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters, and here’s why.

2 of 6

Submissions

Submissions
Tom Szczerbowski - USA Today Sports

Sonnen has lost 12 fights in his professional career, and 8 of them came via submission. His loss to Anderson Silva came out of a seemingly advantageous position, where he was working ground-and-pound and got caught in a triangle armbar. Jones has displayed an incredible ability to adapt and submit opponents, and if Sonnen gets just a little bit lazy or overconfident, the match could turn against him in the blink of an eye.

3 of 6

Size

Size
Paul Abell - USA Today Sports

Jones comes into this bout with a three-inch height advantage over the 6’1” Sonnen, and an incredible 10-inch reach advantage. With kicks keeping the challenger out of takedown range, Jones should be able to keep the fight standing up, where he can attack from several angles.

4 of 6

Wrestling

Wrestling
Paul Abell - USA Today Sports

Sonnen is a world-class wrestler, perhaps the best in the UFC today. That skill is what allowed him to dominate middleweight champion Anderson Silva for most of their two fights. Jones is no slouch in this department, and was a national junior college champion in his own right. Even if the fight goes to the ground, he will be able to hold his own, and won't likely be held down for long.

5 of 6

Striking

Striking
Paul Abell - USA Today Sports

While Sonnen has a tough chin, allowing him to take an incredible amount of punishment without getting knocked out, Jones’ attack can come from any direction, including spinning and jumping kicks, vicious elbows and knees in the clinch and a dominating ground and pound. Even if Sonnen stays up, Jones’s ability to score points on significant strikes could cost the challenger in a decision.

6 of 6

Experience

Experience
Paul Abell - USA Today Sports

Jon Jones has only ever fought at 205 professionally. His 6’4” frame allows him to carry that weight and remain incredibly quick and agile. Sonnen hasn’t fought at 205 in over seven years, and the extra 20 pounds he’ll be carrying on Saturday could slow him down. He'll need every bit of his agility to take down the champion if he wants to leave UFC 159 with the title.


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