As UFC 165 quickly approaches, and after giving my own personal predictions, I had to wonder what other UFC and mma fighters thought of the two title fights being featured on the card.
As we know, Renan Barao will be defending his interim bantamweight championship against tough contender Eddie Wineland and light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones will be squaring off with possibly his toughest challenge to date in Alexander Gustafsson in Toronto at the Air Canada Center September, 21, 1013.
I first caught up with current TUF contestant Cody Bolllinger who had this to say when asked on his predictions. “Ya Jones will finish, and Barao by decision.”
Renan Barao has been on one of the biggest roles in mma history, while only losing his debut fight in a total of 32 total fights. Since taking over duties as representing the bantamweight division as its champion, Barao has stepped up by only facing the best in the world. While awaiting the return of Dominic Cruz, he has gone on to defeat Urijah Faber for the championship and defended against Michael McDonald.
Wineland has worked his way up the division to deserve to be titled the number one contender, as he has finished Scott Jorgenson, and earned himself the decision win over a scrappy Brad Pickett.
“Barao & Jones,” was the reply given by former UFC competitor and current Bellator MMA lightweight John Alessio.
Jon Jones has one major advantage going into any fight. The reach of “Bones” certainly has helped propel him into the position he is in today, along with his outstanding wrestling skills.
Either Jones can take a fight to the ground or can keep things on the feet while utilizing his reach to his advantage.
So many lanky fighters these days tend to forget or have yet to learn to use “reach” as a true weapon to their mma game. Jones has certainly overcame many issues, adjusted and has become very accustomed to what his reach can do for him. Either short standing elbows, in and out jabs/crosses, and or his even more impressive ability to kick, are all tools used to keep opponents at bay and frustrated I’m sure.
UFC’s newly signed Jesse Ronson had this to say regarding his predictions for both Jones/Gustafsson and Barao vs Wineland, “Jones finishes Gus in 3 and Barao subs or decisions Wineland.”
Having an 84.5” reach is the longest in the UFC, which was held alone until the 7’ tall Stefan Struve (heavyweight) caught up earlier this year.
Gustafsson is the next one in line to come close to the same reach as Jones.
Alexander has also been one to grow in his form as his career extends. The young Swede is only improving and becoming more and more and established with his fight game.
His only loss going back to Phil Davis has not slowed him down, but in my opinion only improved his overall game in which has him where he is in the division.
Several questions arose regarding if “The Mauler” could offer anything else other than his striking in this fight, but with being responsible for nine KO’s out of fifteen wins, it might be more realistic than most think.
Since his only defeat back in April of 2010, Gustafsson has not only won six in a row but against top names as well. Shogun Rua, Thiago Silva, Matt Hamill, and James Te Huna, just to name a few.
Vinc Pichel, cast member of TUF LIVE also was able to provide his opinion on the two title fights this coming Saturday. “I’m going Barao and “The Mauler,” said Pichel.
Even MMA Roasted’s Adam Hunter had this to say about both fights via twitter, “Jones/Barao.”
Not everyone is on the Jones bandwagon for this fight and it seems Wineland can’t buy a vote but no matter what happens this weekend I can only imagine fireworks will be going off in Toronto after the event.