When Cormier dropped out of UFC 197, we needed a replacement…and fast. Thankfully, Ovince Saint Preux came in last minute and stepped up to fight the former light heavyweight champ Jon Jones for the interim belt. This doesn’t give Saint Preux the best odds, but he still has some qualities that make him absolutely dangerous.
Jones opened as the 7-1 favorite (now a 5-1 favorite) against Saint Preux. Some think Saint Preux is biting off a little more than he can chew here. It’s impressive for him to take on Jon Jones on three weeks’ notice, but his advantages won’t really help against Jones.
Jones has the obvious advantages – reach, striking, MMA wrestling and ability to go the distance. He dominates in almost every category. Saint Preux is no joke, however. He has proven his ability to time big strikes well and to close the distance quickly while doing so. Plus, as a former NCAA Division 1 football player, he’s one of the best athletes in the UFC. But is that enough to take down Jon Jones? Needless to say, the odds are against him.
The question we are all wondering though is how Jon Jones will look upon his return. From what we’ve seen based on his training and conditioning, Jones is more dedicated and determined than ever. He’s bigger and stronger than before. Yes, he’s had his fair share of legal incidents since UFC 182. Will this affect his performance in the ring? Probably not. After all, it’s Jon Jones. Does anything ever phase him?
If Jones can take Saint Preux to the mat, he will have the clearest path to victory, no doubt. His ground striking is detrimental. It will be interesting though to see how – or if – his actual ground game has improved.
In our opinion, Jones is the smart pick. The odds favor Jones – and for good reason. He has the advantage in almost every category, even though he’s been out of the ring for over a year. Right now, fans are betting that Jones will absolutely stomp Saint Preux, as demonstrated by the current odds. Even so, there’s a lot to look forward to about this fight, and we are excited to see Jon Jones return.
Jones even stated that Saint Preux is to be respected a serious challenge:
(via Bloody Elbow):
"I'm definitely not looking at Ovince as a tune up fight," Jones said. "I'm looking at him as a different challenge. One that should be respected. He's a young fighter in the sport and he has the opportunity of a lifetime ahead of him. I'm sure he's going to give it all he's got to capitalize on that and do something with it."
Prediction: Jon Jones wins via TKO in the 3rd Round
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