The youngest champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s history, Jon “Bones” Jones, will defend his title for the fifth time when he squares up against Chael Sonnen at UFC 159. The event will be held on April 27, at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Here are my predictions for the entire UFC 159 fight card:
Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen
Jones (17-1-0, 8 KOs) is obviously the favorite going into their bout for a number of reasons. He’ll enjoy a 10.5 inch reach advantage over the “American Gangster” which will surely make it that much harder for Sonnen (27-12-1, 7 KOs) to deal with Bones’ ever improving striking. With four of his last six victories coming via submission, and his past destruction of solid wrestlers like Matt Hamill and Ryan Bader, Jones will likely also have the advantage in the grappling department.
As always, Sonnen will make it an entertaining fight with his relentless pressure, but at the end of the day, Jones is simply on another level.
Prediction: Jones wins via submission.
Alan Belcher vs. Michael Bisping
Bisping (23-5-0, 14 KOs) was brutally knocked out during his last fight against Vitor Belfort, while Belcher (18-7-0, 9 KOs) lost a decision to Yushin Okami during his previous outing at UFC 155. Both men are competent strikers, and there’s a decent chance a majority of their UFC 159 bout will be fought standing. It should be a very close fight, but I have my doubts about Michael’s chin holding up for 15 minutes.
Prediction: Belcher wins via KO.
Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo
Nelson (18-7-0, 11 KOs) has been impressive lately, defeating his last two opponents, Matt Mitrione and Dave Herman, via knockout in less than four minutes combined. Kongo (18-7-2, 10 KOs) is also coming off a win, but his past few performances have been less than stellar. Cheick’s chin seems to have seen better days, and I can’t see him absorbing the type of punishment “Big Country” will surely dish out. Nelson will also have a significant advantage in the grappling department, making this a very tough matchup for Kongo.
Prediction: Nelson wins via TKO.
Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhães
Vinny (10-5-0, 8 submissions) is a wizard on the ground, but the chances he’ll be able to get Phil there at UFC 159 are slim to none. Davis (10-1-0, 4 submissions) is a talented wrestler, and he shouldn’t have any problems keeping the fight upright — where he’ll have the advantage. If Phil wants to, he should be able to take Magalhães down whenever he wants, and his BJJ is good enough to keep him safe from the Brazilian’s submissions.
Prediction: Davis wins via decision.
Jim Miller vs. Pat Healy
Miller (22-4-0, 12 submissions) won Fight of the Night honors with his unanimous decision victory against Joe Lauzon during his last outing, and he seems highly motivated to put on another impressive performance at UFC 159. Healy (29-16-0, 15 submissions) is a tough veteran who is more than capable of upsetting Miller and I expect a competitive fight to break out when these two meet inside the Octagon. However, Miller is the more-rounded MMA fighter, making it his fight to lose.
Prediction: Miller wins via decision.
Rustam Khabilov defeats Yancy Medeiros
Ovince St. Preux defeats Gian Villante
Sara McMann defeats Sheila Gaff
Johnny Bedford defeats Bryan Caraway
Cody McKenzie defeats Leonard Garcia
James Head defeats Nick Catone
Steven Siler defeats Kurt Holobaugh
Previous fight card predictions (UFC on Fox 7): 8-4