I don’t make as many picks for UFC fights as I once did. I love watching the fights, but the sport has grown and there a lot more fighters around than there were several years ago and I don’t have to time to follow a lot these guys. I hate making picks when I’m unfamiliar with one or both fighters, which seems to happen more often to me these days. It is hard enough to predict a lot of these fights when you do know both fighters fairly well and reduces it to a pure guessing game when you don’t. However, unfamiliarity will not be a problem for me tonight, at least when it comes to the main event of UFC 135.
The main event pits newly crowned Light Heavy Weight (205 lbs) champ Jon “Bones” Jones vs. former LHW champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and it has the potential to be classic battle. The 24 year old Jones may not even be in his prime yet, but he seems to outclass every fighter in the LHW division. However, in MMA, just as boxing, there always seems to be a fighter out there someplace who knows how to beat a seemingly invincible opponent.
Rampage is a significant underdog in Vegas for this fight, and I would say that is justified because Jones has not revealed any true weaknesses against 14 previous opponents. The real question that remains about Jones is his chin. No one has really clocked him yet, because they haven’t been able to get inside on him or they quickly find themselves on the mat, eating
elbows on the way to a TKO. Rampage may finally be the guy that tests Jones’ chin because he is an exceptional striker who hits with a lot of power. Rampage has KO’d 14 of his previous 40 opponents. OTOH, Jones may have the most complete skill set in all of MMA. He wrestles and strikes extremely well, and he is a truly exceptional athlete with a 6’4″ frame that gives him an advantage against all other 205ers.
Rampage has a punchers chance of winning, but in the end I think Jon Jones will prove to be too much for Rampage to handle. I say Jones wins in the 3rd round, by submission.
POST FIGHT ANALYSIS
Jon Jones won by forcing Rampage Jackson to submit early in the 4th round (rear naked choke). So, this fight went pretty much as I expected. Jones dominated the fight, winning every round imo, by using his full arsenal of MMA weapons: strikes, kicks, elbows, and superior wrestling. Rampage tried to put himself in a position to deliver a KO blow, but just couldn’t do it, due to Jones elusive quickness.
Looks like Rashad Evans will be next up for Jones, and frankly I don’t think he will fair any better than Rampage. There doesn’t appear to be any UFC fighters in the LHW division that can deal with Bones Jones. I might be years before Jones loses a fight. That’s how good he is.