UFC

UFC 247: Jon Jones v Dominick Reyes - the big questions

By Sports Desk February 06, 2020

Jon Jones is back in the octagon this weekend and is on the cusp of history when he faces Dominick Reyes at UFC 247.

The light-heavyweight king faces the unbeaten Reyes at Houston's Toyota Center and another victory would be his 14th title triumph, which would represent the most in UFC.

Jones has not been in the ring since being troubled by Thiago Santos last July, but still heads into this one as the heavy favourite against the unfancied Reyes.

Ahead of his latest title defence, we look at some of the big questions surrounding the fight.


Can Jones be beaten?

A quick glance at Jones' MMA record does show a solitary defeat. However, there is an asterisk next to that loss to Matt Hamill in 2009, with Jones disqualified for the use of illegal elbows after flooring his opponent. Jones has defeated some of the best in the MMA game and, though Reyes is sure to be a tricky customer, it is a tall order to see him losing this one.

How did his last fight go?

It was far from a vintage showing from Jones, who needed a split decision to overcome Santos – the first time in his storied career that has happened. All three judges scored it 48-47, with two in favour of the defending champion. It was one of the most sluggish performances of his career, though, and Jones will no doubt be keen to show Father Time is not catching up with him just yet.

Is the motivation still there for Jones?

This is perhaps Reyes' window of opportunity. Jones hinted at a lack of desire to carry on campaigning at the 205lb limit back in October when discussing his fellow light heavyweights and said on social media: "I want a fight to get excited about". Jones' desire to be considered the greatest is not in question but he has previously admitted to believing he has nothing to gain against Reyes, a feeling he also said he had for his previous two fights as well. A young, hungry Reyes will still have to produce the performance of his life, albeit there is potentially the chance to catch Jones off guard.

What problems does Reyes pose?

First and foremost a huge left hand, which has the knockout power to trouble any opponent. But Reyes also has more length than Santos and is an athletic fighter. He showed decent takedown defence when beating Chris Weidman, but that area will need to be flawless to defeat someone with the all-round qualities of Jones.

What's next if Jones wins?

This week, Jones was talking about what he needed to do to settle his claim as the G.O.A.T. The suggestion was winning belts in two weight divisions would enhance his argument, so the question of whether Jones could make the step up to heavyweight was once again a hot topic. There is little left for Jones to accomplish at light heavy and Francis Ngannou is a bout Jones has described as "inevitable". Another dance with Daniel Cormier could also be a possibility, though Jones previously said a bout against his long-time foe will not take place at heavyweight.

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    GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS

    Adesanya became the UFC's interim middleweight champion with a unanimous decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum in a classic a year ago. He then defeated the legendary Robert Whittaker in October with a stunning knockout to unify the division.

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    WHAT'S THEIR MMA RECORD (W-L-D)?

    Adesanya: 19-0-0

    Costa: 13-0-0


    TALE OF THE TAPE

    Adesanya:

    Age: 30
    Height: 6'4" (193cm)
    Weight: 185lbs (84kg)
    Reach: 80"
    Leg reach: 44"

    Costa:

    Age: 28
    Height: 6'1" (185cm)
    Weight: 185lbs (84kg)
    Reach: 72"
    Leg reach: 39"


    WHAT THEY'VE SAID ABOUT A POTENTIAL FIGHT

    "He's [Costa] a guy that I don't have to poke that much, I don't have to prod," Adesanya told ESPN. "I'm going to have fun with the press conference with this one. I'm going to have fun with the lead-up. I'm going to have fun with poking the bear."

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    FIGHT STATS IN UFC

    Adesanya:

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    - Of his successful strikes, 88 per cent have come from a standing position.

    - On the defensive side, Adesanya has guarded against 87 per cent of takedown attempts.

    - He has also seen off 66 per cent of strikes against him.

    Costa:

    - Costa has landed 307 of his 531 attempted significant strikes, giving him a success rate of 58 per cent.

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    - He has successfully blocked 80 per cent of takedown attempts against him.

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