Freelance: UFC 214—Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier Early Odds and Prediction
Here we go again! For yet another time, the world leader in MMA has set a date for the highly anticipated (epic) rematch between UFC light heavyweight (205-pound) champion Daniel “DC” Cormier and his heated rival, former light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones. It was announced at the UFC’s Summer Kickoff Press conference recently that the sequel clash will go down at UFC 214 on July 29 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
The Early Odds: Even though the battle is a bit far off, odds for it are now available per Bovada. The champion in Cormier is (unsurprisingly) the underdog, coming in at +205 while Jones is the favorite, as expected, at -265 at the time of this writing (May 20.)
Almost as noteworthy, the fight will serve as the pay-per-view event’s main attraction.
Prediction #1: Jones Regains His Title
Despite the fact that Cormier said that the version of Jon Jones that showed up to UFC 197 (more on that later) wouldn’t beat him if the two fought again, the available figures from FightMetric, LLC tell a different story.
In the first fight, Cormier trailed the then-champion Jones across the board as he landed 126 of 215 total strikes (around 59 percent) and 92 of 178 significant strikes (51 percent) and was successful on three of his five takedowns against Cormier (60 percent) on his way to the unanimous decision victory. Cormier, an Olympian in wrestling, went 1 for 8 in takedowns (12 percent,) landed 78 of 191 overall strikes (about 41 percent,) and 58 of 165 significant strikes (35 percent.)
Jones also leads in overall production throughout his career when compared to “DC” and in physical aspects as well: a height difference of 6’ 4” to Cormier’s 5’ 11”, a reach difference of 84” to the champion’s 72”, Strikes Landed per Minute (4.25 to 3.78,) striking accuracy (55 percent to 49 percent,) Strikes Absorbed per Minute (2.00 to 2.07) and in striking defense (65 percent to 60 percent. However, because a number of Jones’ fights have gone the distance, Jones does have a longer average fight time.
Cormier is even out-performed in grappling, trailing the yang to his yin in average takedowns per 15 minutes 2.25 to 1.92, accuracy by a ten percent gap (52 to 42 percent,) and falls in takedown defense (a 78 percent rate to Jones’ 94 percent.) Their submission average per every 15 minutes are both under a single attempt.
The choice is obvious and although Jones has proven that he has finishing ability, he has evolved to become a more tactical fighter, going to scorecards at the end of fights a number of times.
As much as he would love to definitively put away Cormier, given the history between them, if Jones leads this dance, he might just toy with Cormier on the feet and only wrestle him to keep things standing up as if he were a bored child playing with his food at the dinner table.
Pick: Jon Jones def. (C) Daniel Cormier by way of a unanimous decision.
Prediction 2: The Rematch Falls Apart Beforehand
As mentioned above, it was just as important that the bout is serving as 214’s main event. This is because UFC President Dana White said back in November of 2016 to renowned sports radio personality Jim Rome:
“I don’t (trust him), no. I don’t. In my opinion, I would never take the risk of headlining a show with Jon Jones again. I’d put him on the card, but I wouldn’t headline with him until he consistently gets back on track. Millions of dollars are spent on this. For a card to fall apart, and how many cards have fallen apart because Jon Jones gets in trouble for something? So no, I’m not at that place with him.”
Jones’ Prior Criminal History
For those new to the situation, Jones has a highly-publicized criminal history that (at least while with the UFC) dates back to January of 2009, receiving a citation for allegedly striking another vehicle while turning. This was lated ruled not to be his fault. However, he was cited in November of 2011 for “loss of traction” while pulling into an adult establishment in his native New York per SportsNet.ca.
The charges were dropped but he then was involved in his first major incident on record, crashing his vehicle into a utility pole on May 19 of 2012, which injured his two passengers and himself before he was arrested for refusing to comply with a mandatory sobriety test. He was given a $1,000, his license was suspended for six months, he had to have ignition locks installed on his vehicle and he was forced to complete a victim impact panel.
Jones was then fined $50,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) in September of that year for brawling with Cormier at a media event in August prior to their first bout at UFC 182. He won the rivalry fight by unanimous decision but checked himself into rehab briefly due to cocaine use just days later and was also fined $25,000 by the UFC directly after the failed drug test was made public.
White said at the time:
“He was evaluated by doctors. Nothing you saw in Jon Jones leading up to that fight would make you think he was using drugs. In a situation like this the last thing you worry about is his image right now. You worry about getting the guy healthy and whether you like him or don’t like him, he’s the baddest dude in the world. He’s the pound-for-pound best guy in the world…What’s even crazier is, you do these tests to look for performance enhancing drugs. The stuff he was doing, it hurts you. It doesn’t help you in any way, it hurts you. Imagine how good this guy is going to be when he gets it straight.”
The Infamous Hit-and-Run Incident and Sentencing
On April 17, 2015, just four month after he got his last fine, Jones struck the vehicle of a pregnant woman and broke her arm as a result, He fled the scene and police later found cannabis in the fighter’s rental car. He surrendered himself to police ten days later and was stripped of his UFC gold the day after. Jones was reinstated as a part of the UFC roster in late October of that year after being sentenced to 18 months of probation that included making 72 public speaking appearances at schools to discuss the dangers of impaired driving and about making good decisions.
Jones violated probation in late March of 2016, being taken into custody for drag racing and a handful of other violations. In the end, he was given another slap on the wrist by having to take mandate anger management and driver training courses. He has since reportedly hired a driver.
The Jackson-Wink fighter topped Ovince St. Preux in a lackluster unanimous decision win the next month at UFC 197. He was then added back into the mix in the UFC that summer, being announced as the main event of UFC 200 opposite Cormier. Just two days out from UFC 200 on July 9, the UFC held an impromptu press conference in the early morning hours of July 7 to announce that the rematch was cancelled as Jones failed pre-fight drug testing.
*Not-So-Fun Fact: There is a duration of 1 year, 3 months, and 20 days (476 total days) between the last his first fight with Cormier and return opposite St. Preux due to his actions away from the octagon.
“Bones” tested positive clomiphene and letrozole, which have been described by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as hormone and metabolic inhibitors and described by former UFC fighter and admitted performance-enhancing drug (PED) user “The American Ganster” Chael Sonnen as common for individuals coming off of a steroid cycle.
Jones failed multiple test, one of July 8 (the day before his UFC 200 contest.) and an out-of-competition test on June 16. Former middleweight (185-pound) champion and overall title defense record-holder Anderson “The Spider” Silva then fought Cormier in his place, but UFC 200 is considered a black eye in the history of both the promotion itself and the sport of mixed martial arts as a whole. Jones blamed the failed tests on a tainted male sexual enhancement pill, specifically Cialis (the same defense used by Silva during a similar commission hearing.)
What followed were concurrent one-year suspensions from the NSAC and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA.) However, USADA did find during their hearing that Jones didn’t knowingly cheat. Still, can you see how some fans, Cormier, and possibly White himself are skeptical as to if the former king even makes it to the octagon on July 29?
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