UFC 172: Jones vs. TeixeiraSaturday, April 26 – 11:30 p.m. ET
Jon Jones (19-1) vs. Glover Teixeira (22-2)Light heavyweight title fight
Line: Jones -550, Teixeira +400
Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will have another very difficult test on Saturday night as he defends his belt against Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 in Baltimore.
Jones has been dominant during his time as the champion, but was challenged in his most recent fight on Sept. 21 against Alexander Gustafsson more than he has ever been in his career. The 6-foot-4 Jones is usually taller than his opponent, but the 6-foot-5 Gustafsson kept the match close throughout with his length, eventually losing a unanimous decision. That win marked the sixth straight time that Jones defended his championship belt, which is a UFC light heavyweight record. And all of these opponents have been top-notch, a list that includes Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort and Rashad Evans. While Jones is a big favorite going into this match, his opponent has been on an absolute tear. Glover Teixeira enters this match with 20 consecutive victories, including a dominating first-round knockout against Ryan Bader at UFC Fight Night 28 on Sept. 4. Teixeira has the ability to win a fight with a single punch, as he is as strong of a fighter as there is in the light heavyweight class. But the 6-foot-2 Teixeira could struggle with Jones' length and reach, as he has not faced an opponent that comes close to the talent that Jones possesses. Teixeira will give a great effort, but in the end, JONES is too skilled and too experienced, and will win convincingly.
Jon "Bones" Jones comes into this fight with 19 career victories, and eight have them come by way of knockout. He also has six wins by submission and five by decision. Jones has only one loss in his career, and that was a controversial disqualification against Matt Hamill back in 2009, but he has reeled off 10 straight victories since that disappointment. In his most recent match against Gustafsson, Jones showed that he is able to take a beating and still do what is necessary to get the victory. While he does not land near as many significant strikes per minute (4.15) as Teixeira (6.91), Jones is a more accurate striker (54%) than Teixeira (48%). With his incredible length (84.5 inches, longest of any UFC fighter), the 26-year-old Jones is able to keep his opponents at bay the entire time. While the New York-born Jones is the big favorite to win Saturday's fight, do not expect Teixeira to come into this match intimidated at all.
Teixeira has 22 victories in his career, with 14 of them coming by way of knockout. He also five wins by submission and three wins by decision. In his past 10 fights, Teixeira has finished nine of them, and it is no secret on how he plans to win on Saturday, as he has stated to the media that he is going to knock Jones out. The 34-year-old has incredible knockout power, but it will be very difficult for him to get close enough to deliver that punch against Jones. The Brazilian will have a major advantage when it comes down to grappling (4.78 takedown average for Teixeira, compared to only 2.45 for Jones), but both of these fighters do a terrific job of defending against the takedown (100% for Teixeira and 96% for Jones). For Teixeira to win this fight, he must stay close to Jones and not allow the champ to use his superior reach. If he is able to do that, then we could have a new champion in the light heavyweight class.