Fans of mixed martial arts experienced their annual Jon Jones related scare this week when it was announced that his United States Anti-Doping Agency test results came back positive for a metabolite.
Fortunately, the fight and the event will remain intact as the UFC announced that a team of miscellaneous scientists and researchers confirmed no performance-enhancing benefits were to be expected. It turned out to be an incredibly tiny substance that was leftover from Jones’ last positive test all the way back in 2017.
Due to a number of complications with the commission in Nevada, the UFC packed their gear and will instead travel to Los Angeles this weekend (and not Las Vegas, as originally planned) for UFC 232.
Jones’ highly anticipated rematch with Alexander Gustafsson fits at the top of the bill. That fight will take place moments after Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes go toe-to-toe in a UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship bout.
As always, we’re here to bring you a detailed analysis of the fights that matter so that you can make informed betting decisions and impress all of your mates.
But it’s mostly about winning money, so let’s get into it!
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson
When Jon Jones first met with Alexander Gustafsson inside the UFC’s octagon, no one gave the Swede a chance.
Gustafsson strutted into the cage after breezing past six opponents but was still considered a massive -600 underdog against Jones.
If you’re unaware, Jones is considered as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all-time. A superb, well-rounded fighter, Jones has only one “defeat” on his record, and that was a bizarre disqualification all the way back in 2009. He’s looked outstanding against everyone but one man.
Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson 2 Odds
To the surprise of almost everybody watching, Gustafsson boxed up Jones for a large portion of the 25-minute fight. Exposing Jones’ average boxing ability, Gustafsson tagged the champion with heavy shots from all angles and worked him over whenever he found himself inside punching range.
This success helped Gustafsson to win two of the five rounds and encouraged commentator Joe Rogan to believe he may have done enough to win a decision. Of course, Rogan’s incorrect assessment of the fight persuaded many spectators to believe that Gustafsson was robbed of a victory, but robbed he was not.
Jones won, but it was much closer than we had all anticipated.
See, Jones repeatedly worked the legs of Gustafsson while also landing significant shots of his own. The takedowns weren’t there for him and “Gus” even managed to take him down on one occasion (becoming the first to ever do so in the UFC), but nothing significant happened on the mat, anyway.
Ultimately, the deciding factor wasn’t one particular strike or technique of the champion but rather his fascinating ability to adapt to challenges and formulate actionable strategies on-the-go.
A brilliant tactician, Jones found a way to win a fight that he probably shouldn’t have.
It’s been over five years since Jones and Gustafsson first went to war, but we haven’t seen much of either fighter since that day.
Jones has competed just four times, due to a seemingly never-ending list of complications including his involvement in a hit-and-run incident and multiple positive tests that have been recorded by USADA. In his most recent fight, Jones floored the now two-division champion, Daniel Cormier, with a brilliantly timed left high kick before finishing the fight in the third round.
Gustafsson also took some time away from competition and has competed only five times since that day in 2013. Suffering defeat at the hands of Cormier and Anthony Johnson, Gustafsson had cemented his position as someone who has come up short against the best of the pack. Of course, he has his chance this weekend to prove he is much more than that. But his record speaks for itself.
The two-time title challenger will enter the cage with some momentum, at least, and has recorded wins against Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira. The Teixeira fight was a critical turning point for Gustafsson, who looked mediocre at times against Blachowicz. Gustafsson’s boxing was on display as he crushed Teixeira in the fifth round and earned himself a memorable KO/TKO victory.
Why We’re Betting on Jon Jones at UFC 232
There are several reasons why we’re confidently backing Jon Jones at UFC 232, but none more so than the impact of his leg kicks.
Almost underrated (because the body of his work is world-class), Jones’ oblique kick that pushes forward into the lead knee/thigh region has proven to be a game-changer throughout his career. With little-to-no effort, Jones can flick his leg forward and disrupt an opponent’s forward movement all while jamming their knee and diminishing their agility later in the contest.
Jones used this technique to great effect against Gustafsson the first time and connected with 53 of his 65 leg kicks. At 81% accuracy, Jones was able to throw this technique into the mix all while making Gustafsson worried about the incoming high kick and spinning elbow attacks.
We haven’t seen enough to suggest that Gustafsson has improved his ability to defend this strike, and we figure this will be part of the master game plan for Jones this time around.
Furthermore, we’re expecting to see massive improvements in Jones’ boxing ability as to at least close the gap between him and Gustafsson or overtake him completely. Jones has admitted to not respecting the art of boxing before his first fight with “Gus” but has now taken measures to improve his offensive and defensive boxing abilities.
It was this middle range where Gustafsson shined in the first fight, and we’re not expecting him to have the same success this time around.
Jones should win this fight more comfortably than last time, and we’re happy to cash in on these generous odds before UFC 232.
Bet on Jon Jones to win: -250 at 5Dimes
Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes
Two of the greatest female mixed martial artists to have ever competed in the sport will stand across from each other at UFC 232.
Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, better known as just “Cyborg,” will defend her 145-pound title from the bantamweight (135-pound) champion, Amanda Nunes. It’s a clash between two Brazilian females who have dominated their respective divisions in recent years.
Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes Odds
Lost in the conversations regarding Jon Jones’ recent positive test and the UFC’s decision to move the event to Los Angeles is the impact of this bout between Cyborg and Nunes.
Already one of the best to ever do it, a win against Nunes – the last worthy contender – will surely cement Cyborg as the greatest female mixed martial artist.
But you could say the same about Nunes if she wins at UFC 232. With a dominant title reign and an impressive beatdown of Ronda Rousey on her resume, Nunes is already in high-regard. By defeating Cyborg, who has steamrolled everybody who has stood across from her in the last 13 years (seriously, all 20 opponents), Nunes sure might appear as the greatest female to ever compete inside the octagon.
Unlike before most bouts in the UFC, a look back at the recent work of Cyborg and Nunes doesn’t reveal many weaknesses.
Cyborg dominated the last title challenger, Yana Kunitskaya, and earned a KO/TKO win inside the first 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Packing extreme power in her hands, as usual, Cyborg proved to be too much to handle for yet another challenger.
That win came not long after one of her most impressive wins to date – a five-round unanimous decision against Holly Holm. Holm, who is regarded as one of the better strikers in the women’s bantamweight division, had moved up to challenge Cyborg at 145-pounds and put up a decent fight. By the end of five rounds, though, Cyborg had crashed enough of her significant punches into Holm’s face to earn the nod. That victory was enough to make it five straight in the UFC for Cyborg since her arrival in 2015.
She’s beaten up the brawlers and defeated the more technical strikers – Cyborg has defeated all but an elite wrestler.
Unfortunately for Nunes, she isn’t the elite grappler-type that could likely cause trouble for the featherweight champion.
Nunes steps in after bashing Raquel Pennington around the cage for five rounds until scoring a well-overdue finish via ground and pound. That win marked her third consecutive title defense after she had defeated Valentina Shevchenko – the current UFC women’s bantamweight champion – by split decision. Shevchenko’s a talented counter striker who patiently waits for the right opportunity to strike, and Nunes still found a way to win on two of the three scorecards.
Why We’re Betting on Cris Cyborg
This one all comes down to power, and Cris Cyborg has lots of it.
While Nunes is certainly one of the more powerful strikers in the women’s bantamweight division, it’s asking a lot of her to bring that same destructive striking ability to the next weight class up. The impact of Cyborg’s strikes has proven to be enough to make her opponent’s regret even making the walk to the cage. While this won’t happen against Nunes, who has a decent chin and is a determined fighter, we’re expecting the accumulation of damage to be a determining factor.
Nunes is undoubtedly Cyborg’s toughest test to date and the odds certainly reflect that, but there’s no reason to bet against the reigning champion in this fight.
Bet on Cris Cyborg to win: -230 at BetOnline