UFC 128

Jon ‘Bones’ Jones will be following in the footsteps of the current Light Heavyweight Champ, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, by quickly ascending the division and capturing the title at such an early age.

Jones is a rookie compared to many of the fighters he has fought, but what makes him so different is his dynamic set of skills he brings into the cage. What’s more amazing is that those skills are evolving at a blistering pace. The combination of unorthodox striking and wrestling makes Jones so dangerous to many. But his most impressive attribute as a fighter is the mental aspect of his game and of the sport. The way he handles himself in and out of the cage makes him look like a mature fighter many years over. Whether it’s a studio interview or a post fight discussion Jones’s composure and respectful manners is very telling of his intelligence and passion for this sport. It is easy to see why he has a strong following of fans.

Standing in front of Jones is Shogun, the Champ whose skills and composure easily matches Jones. The big difference with Shogun is that he has the experience many other fighters only dream of. In 2005, at 23 years old, he captured the PrideFC Middleweight tournament beating the who’s who of MMA at the time. Shogun has showed he can take the fight anywhere and be successful, but does he have what it takes to stop the rising star that is aiming to take his belt? In this fight Shogun will have a hard time against Jones. The biggest factor will be Jones’s reach advantage and wrestling. Sure, Shogun has faced opponents who had a reach advantage such as Alistair Overeem and wrestlers like Kevin Randleman, but none of them has the combination of the two like Jones.

For Shogun to retain his belt he will need to take Jones down. He’ll need to close the distance and stifle the striking of Jones. It’s the scramble on the ground where Shogun will be able to catch a submission. But the longer the fight stays standing Jones will have the opportunity to establish his unorthodox striking and utilize his reach advantage. With a strong wrestling background Jones will have the tool he needs to keep this fight standing or gain top control where he can use his vicious ground and pound.

My Picks:

Jon Jones beats Mauricio Shogun
Urijah Faber beats Eddie Wineland
Jim Miller beats Kamal Shalorus
Nate Marquardt beats Dan Miller
Brendan Schaub beats Mirko Filipovic
Edson Barboza beats Anthony Njokuani
Luiz Cane beats Eliot Marshall
Ricardo Almeida beats Mike Pyle
Kurt Pellegrino beats Gleison Tibau