UFC 247 takes place this weekend from the Tokyo Centre in Houston, headlined by Jon ‘Bones’ Jones who tries to defend his Light Heavyweight belt against the undefeated challenger, Dominick Reyes. Also on the card we see another title fight, from the Women’s flyweight division with Valentina Shevchenko defending her belt against Katlyn Chookagian.
Before we get in to the main previews and predictions a couple of extra notes. First off they have undervalued Ilir Latifi against Derrick Lewis. While Lewis is one of my favourite fighters to watch Latifi is strong, durable and a top-level wrestler, all things Lewis has struggled with in the past and the fact he is nearly $3 is crazy to me. Juan Adams while being a mediocre heavyweight, is the better fighter than Tafa who still has very little experience and looks a decent play. There is also a special floating around on Beteasy for no main card fight going the distance at around $14 and this is well over the odds with the five fight main card consisting of two heavyweight bouts, a wrecking ball in Shevchenko, Jon Jones and Bektic and Ige who both have a number of finishes to their name. Now let’s get onto the main selections.
Realistically Dominick Reyes is a power puncher who is incredibly athletic and has steamrolled his way into a title shot. For me, knocking out a past his prime Weidman and beating Oezdemir by decision doesn’t provide me with evidence he can test Bones. The win that did impress me was his knockout of Jared Cannonier who I see as a serious challenger at Middleweight but in saying that Reyes was the much larger man in that fight and Jones is a different calibre of fighter to what he has faced. Jon Jones picked up two decision victories over Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos in 2019 in displays best described as arrogant. Jones believes he can beat any fighter in any realm of mixed marital arts and that showed in a close decision win over Santos when he chose to stand and strike with an explosive fighter who was fighting on one leg for a large period of the fight. Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos, I saw as bigger threats to Jon and I don’t see Reyes being able to step forward and put it on him like he has with previous opponents. Jon’s control of distance is the best I have ever seen in MMA and his long reach helps with that. Jon ultimately wins this wherever it goes and I am backing him to go after the finish and get it. I would be stunned if this was to go the way of Reyes but then again it is MMA, and anything can happen.
Simply Shevchenko and Nunes are levels above any female MMA fighter who can fight in the Flyweight division or above, with the exception of possibly Tatiana Suarez. Chookagian has a decent ground game with good enough striking but doesn’t have the speed, power or technique to worry Shevchenko. Shevchenko has two losses in the last five years, both to Nunes and one I believe she should have won by decision. There is nothing to suggest to me Chookagian is any sort of match for Shevchenko and she should earn herself yet another comfortable win here. With Shevchenko at under $1.10 to win we will go with her getting the finish for some more value.
Trevin Giles vs. Antonio Arroyo
Trevin Giles started his UFC run in fine style with knockouts of James Bochnovic and Antonio Braga Neto before taking a year off. Since coming back he lost consecutive fights by submission in 2019 and returns here after six months off against Arroyo. He has had time to work on his submission defence which proved to be a real hole in his game. Arrogance has been a major factor in his last two fights deciding to fight whatever style of fight his opponent wanted which resulted in bad defeats. With Giles surely eager to earn himself a win and stamp himself as a serious prospect he must win this against the average Arroyo.
Simply this fight is set up perfectly for Miles Johns. Johns is an exciting Bantamweight prospect who impressed on the Contender Series, which earned himself a UFC contract. In his first UFC bout he won a split decision victory against the talented Cole Smith. Johns is a strong wrestler and he is up against a fighter who although possesses more reach than Johns, lacks the wrestling prowess to keep this off the mat for large periods of the fight. Johns ultimately drags him down and grinds him out on route to a dominant victory.
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