The Fighter’s Take UFC 232 Jones vs Gustafsson – Full Main Card Preview & Fight Picks Podcast with Hollywood Joe Tussing:
• The return of Jon Bones Jones
• Cyborg defends her 145lb Title in a Champion vs Champion Matchup
• Cat Zingano is BACK!
• The return of ” The Prodigy” BJ Penn
• Walt Harris vs The Pitbull
• Uriah Hall tries to set the tone early for UFC232
• Big Night for Womens MMA
The final UFC card of the calendar year will be one of the most anticipated as it marks the return of Jon Jones. It’s hard to keep track of how many times Jones has made a comeback but the one thing on everyone’s mind is whether he’s still got it. That’s the main event of the evening but just one of the intriguing fights on an action-packed UFC 232 card. Let’s take a closer look at the main card and make some picks:
Full Main Card Preview
Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson
Odds: Jones -296, Gustafsson +225
Jon ‘Bones’ Jones and Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson put on a show in their first meeting in 2013. It was not only the Fight of the Night, it was almost unanimously named Fight of the Year. The issue is that these fighters have gone in different directions since.
Jones is still basically undefeated in the Octagon (his lone loss was for illegal strikes when he was pummeling Matt Hamill). Even in his returns, he’s looked pretty good in wins over Daniel Cormier and Ovince St. Preux, although we have to note that Jones was popped for performance-enhancing drugs afterward.
Gustafsson, on the other hand, is just 3-3 since losing to Jones. Gustafsson has always been a second-tier UFC Light Heavyweight. Unless he performs above what we’ve seen from him or Jones performs at a far lower level in his return, we’re likely to see Jones come away with the win.
Amanda Nunes vs Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino
Odds: Santos -276, Nunes +212
Cyborg is the top women’s pound-for-pound fighter in the world and she’s destroyed everyone put in front of her. Holly Holm got a lot of credit for going the distance with Cyborg (and losing) because few women have ever done that. Cyborg has knocked out her last 14 opponents otherwise. But this figures to be her toughest test.
Nunes has been impressive in her own right. She has won seven in a row while finishing all but one of those fighters. She’s the current Bantamweight Champion and is viewed as the No. 2 pound-for-pound female fighter. If she wins, she’ll be the first woman to hold belts in two different weight classes.
Both of these women love to stand and strike, but size will likely be the difference. Cyborg is normally in the 180’s while Nunes is in the 160’s. While Nunes has looked good in her UFC career, Cyborg won’t be slowed in this spot.
Carlos Condit vs Michael Chiesa
This is a matchup of two fighters who are desperate for a win. Chiesa has lost two in a row and is just 5-4 since starting his MMA career 8-0. He’s moving up to 170 pounds to try and get a fresh start. The good news for him is he’s likely to get it.
Condit has been an absolute mess and it’s surprising that the UFC is still trotting him out there – especially on a main card. We’re talking about a guy who has lost four in a row and seven of his last nine. He is a veteran that started his career 28-5 and was once the UFC’s Welterweight Champion, so he’s getting the benefit of the doubt. However, this has to be the end of the road for him if he loses here. He’s a fan-favorite but it’s hard to bet on him given how badly he’s looked of late.
Chad Mendes vs Alexander Volkanovski
Chad Mendes returned from a two-year layoff to earn an impressive knockout win over Myles Jury in July. He needed that time off after losing three of his last four but it wasn’t personally requested. He was off for a drug suspension (performance-enhancing). He’s trying to climb the ladder to get another shot at someone like Jose Aldo or Conor McGregor, but he’ll have to take advantage of an up-and-comer before any of those conversations start up.
Volkanovski is one of Australia’s most promising fighters. He’s won 14 fights in a row but this figures to be his toughest test to date. He has landed the third-highest significant strike accuracy rate in UFC history, which is a scary proposition for Mendes.
Volkanovski personally called out Mendes because he views him as one of the sport’s cheaters. He’s a fighter on the rise and should take care of business in this spot.
Other Notable Fights
Fan-favorite B.J. Penn is back, which is quite shocking. He’ll be fighting on the Preliminary Card, which will air on Fox Sports 1. Andrei Arlovski is also on the prelim card, so between him, Penn and Condit, we could see three fighters who are well past their prime out there.
Penn has lost five straight and has just one win since 2009. Arlovski, who is soon to be 40 years old, has lost two straight and seven of nine.
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