UFC 135 Predictions: Jones vs. Jackson Betting Picks
by Scott Johnson - 9/20/2011
On Sept. 24, UFC 135 will mark an important moment in both the light heavyweight division and the career of Jon Jones. Chuck Liddell successfully defended his 205 pound title four times. Since Liddell’s run came to an end there have been six different title holders, including Jones and his UFC 135 opponent Rampage Jackson. In fact, Rampage was the man that began this title carousel when he rendered Liddell unconscious in UFC 71.
At age 24, Jon Jones has stormed on to the MMA scene and is being touted as one of the elite fighters in all of MMA. He dismantled Shogun Rua at UFC 128, but the general consensus across the board is that a fighter really isn’t a champion until he has successfully defended his title at least once. That brings us to UFC 135 and Rampage Jackson.
The champ enters this fight as a significant favourite at -550 at Bodog, which really isn’t a surprise when you go back one fight earlier when he was the challenger, but was still the betting favourite at -205. A bet at -550 is far from worthwhile venture, especially with a veteran like Rampage Jackson on the other side of the cage.
The payout on Jackson is much better; at +375, but you only get paid if Jackson is able to pull off the upset. There is no secret to what Rampage brings to the cage. He has 14 career knockout victories, including three in the UFC. Jackson is a striker and even though he has a number of submission on his record, I don’t anticipate him attempting to take Jones down.
While Rampage does one thing really well, Jones is a multi-dimensional threat. He out struck vaunted striker Shogun Rua and dominated top-level grapplers in Vladimir Matyushenko, Matt Hamill and Ryan Bader.
Rampage likes to stalk his opponent, attempting to overwhelm them with his power and aggression. Conversely, Jones is far more patient and he did an excellent job measuring Shogun looking for his openings.
The biggest difference between Rampage and Jones’ striking is the champ’s assortment of strikes. Jones likes to use elbows and a variety of kicks to supplement his boxing. When a fighter varies his attack like this, it is difficult for his opponent to defend against as he doesn’t always know what to expect.
Beyond their technique, there are two predominant questions. The first: how will Jones’ chin hold up against the power of Rampage? We haven’t seen Jones get hit a lot and we have seen a number of fighters buckle when they taste that power for the first time.
The second question is: will Rampage be able to overcome Jones’ unparalleled reach of 84.5 inches? Jones will have a 11.5-inch reach advantage that Rampage will need to get inside of, without eating an elbow or kick. It doesn’t matter how hard you hit if you are unable to make contact.
My prediction is that Jones is going keep Rampage on the outside and limit the damage the former champion dishes out. Jones is intelligent and methodical, and when he sees the opportune moment he will close the distance and use a trip or throw to take Rampage to the mat. Jones has excellent top control, and a submission is certainly an option. However, I anticipate he will use elbows strikes to earn a TKO victory.
If you really want to be financially invested in this fight your best opportunity lies with a prop bet. There are a couple of different options that should become available close to fight night. Look for either a knockout finish, the fight to end within the distance, or a bet on the ‘under’ for rounds whether it is 3.5 or 4.5 rounds. I don’t expect this fight will go the distance and a TKO/KO is the most likely result, the payout on these options won’t be huge, but they will be better than a bet on Jones and less risky than one on Rampage.
Good luck this weekend and make sure you check out the rest of the UFC predictions available at Doc’s Sports later in the week.
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