On July 29, 2017, the UFC returns to California with one of the biggest fights of the decade when light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier defends his title against bitter rival and former champion Jon “Bones” Jones. This article looks at factors you should consider before betting on Cormier vs. Jones.
Cormier vs. Jones live odds
Cormier vs. Jones: The history
Jon Jones was the Phenom, the perfect combination of explosiveness, power and technique. He stormed the UFC, authoring one of the fastest rises ever to the championship, then proceeded to clean out the light heavyweight division by toppling one former champion after another. Nothing could stop him.
While Jones was taking the world by storm, Daniel Cormier was busy proving himself up to the task by toppling larger men in Strikeforce’s heavyweight division. He never suffered a loss there, but when that organisation merged with the UFC he found himself in a division whose champion, Cain Velazquez, was a member of Cormier’s gym and training regimen. Rather than take aim at his friend, Cormier took aim at Jones.
Cormier is a master technician at the top of his game who isn’t dealing with the potential ring rust Jones is.
The first time around wasn’t much of a contest. Jones controlled the fight and earned the unanimous decision. In the wake of that fight though, Jones was stripped of the title forcing him to drop out of his announced title bout with Anthony Johnson. Cormier stepped in, beat Johnson and hasn’t lost since.
Cormier was supposed to defend against Jones in 2016 but a foot injury forced him out of the fight, with Jones handily defeating replacement Ovince Saint Preux. The two fighters were then scheduled again for July 2016 only to have Jones removed from the booking for an anti-doping violation.
Jones’ odds are actually shorter than they were when the lines for the first fight against Cormier opened and closed.
Jones was stripped of his title and as has often happened, Cormier was loudly critical of his nemesis. After so many botched attempts at making this matchup happen, it appears we’re finally ready to see it go down again.
Is Jones the same fighter after just one fight in the last 30 months? Can he return to being the superstar the UFC desperately needs him to be? These are the questions bettors have to answer before betting on UFC 214.
UFC 214 betting: Analysing odds
Daniel Cormier’s recent betting odds at Pinnacle
Jon Jones’ recent betting odds at Pinnacle
Jon Jones’ recent betting odds at Pinnacle
The rise in Jones’ price against Saint Preux was most likely due to bettors hoping for some rust; in his previous fights the bettors have loved Jones despite the minimal pay off his short odds have offered.
Cormier’s a different story; a less-exciting, more strategic fighter, his record lacks the flare of Jones and that of Anthony Johnson; which is likely why he went from opening as a favourite for that fight to underdog status at closing.
Jones’ monumental height and reach advantage dictated the fight the first time around - forcing Cormier to be aggressive and walk into his strikes.
It’s worth noting here that despite any potential ring rust, Jones’ odds are actually shorter than they were when the lines for the first fight against Cormier opened and closed. This is in part a reflection of the fact that Jones has already beaten Cormier.
Bettors also need to consider that given the place Cormier is at in his career and the further potential for ring rust on Jones, the higher odds for Cormier are something of a surprising development.
Tale of the Tape
Cormier vs. Jones: Tale of the Tape
Cormier vs. Jones betting: Analysing two different styles
Jones’ monumental height and reach advantage dictated the fight the first time around. They forced Cormier to be aggressive, walking him into Jones’ strikes and excellent wrestling. Jones took Cormier down three times; three more than anyone else has ever managed to. Both fighters are fantastic wrestlers who’ve worked on their striking games to the point where they’ve achieved excellence there too.
As with Georges St. Pierre before him, Jones has become a far more cautious fighter since the money started pouring in. While his first 13 wins saw only two go the distance, he’s won his last four in a row by decision, seemingly signalling that he’s realised he can’t lose if he avoids costly errors.
Is Jones the same fighter after just one fight in the last 30 months? Can he return to being the superstar the UFC desperately needs him to be?
Jones has developed a style to help him maintain distance, using those long arms and legs to strike from afar. Cormier and others have remarked on how damaging even those long jabs can be - Jones lands 55% of his strikes at 4.25 SLpM.
Cormier’s stocky frame doesn’t leave him the luxury of distance. He gets in close, hitting with heavy shots while his opponent is forced to split their attention between strikes and the potential for a takedown.
An all-American wrestler, Cormier has leveraged that reputation into opening up his striking and is happier than Jones to get in close and mix it up. Look for him to devise a new game plan for this fight.
Where is the betting value ahead of UFC 214?
On the one hand, Jones may be the greatest fighter in MMA history and is still just 30 years old. On the other, Cormier is a master technician at the top of his game who isn’t dealing with the potential ring rust Jones is. Either way, it’s sure to be a fight for the ages, one whose ramifications will be felt in the division for years to come.
If you think peak Jones is returning to the ring, even his short odds will appeal. If you think Jones’ rust, his drug issues and Cormier’s confidence paint a different picture there could be value in betting on Cormier to get his revenge. Either way, it’s going to be explosive.