When the UFC rolls into Houston, Texas, this weekend, the greatest fighter of all-time Jon Jones returns to defend his belt against the undefeated Dominick Reyes. In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko will have her third Flyweight title defense when she takes on “The Blonde Fighter” Katlyn Chookagian.
After that, this card gets sparse of big names and fights that belong on a pay-per-view event, so we will stick to the title bouts. In Jones, we are blessed with seeing the closest form of perfection every single time he enters the octagon. Aside from a very controversial disqualification due to illegal elbows early in his career, Jones has never been defeated in the sport. After separating Jessica Eye from her consciousness with one of the most vicious head kicks in recent memory, Valentina Shevchenko avenged her only other loss that wasn’t at the hands of Amanda Nunes and has become one of the most feared women on earth.
As this card takes place, we will see two of the most dominant champions in the UFC, and the question looms whether or not Reyes or Chookagian have a chance at shocking the world.
What does Dominick Reyes have to do to have a chance?
In what will be just his seventh fight in the UFC, the undefeated, 12-0 fighter from California has the chance at dethroning the king and put his name in the UFC history books. Reyes has claimed in the lead up to this fight that Jones has never faced an athlete like himself, something the champ has responded by calling Reyes “delusional.” What the challenger does posses that Jones has never faced is an opponent who is both undefeated and younger than him. With his 75% finish rate and 6’4 frame Reyes has the size and power to create trouble for anyone in the Light Heavyweight division in order to have success; however, he will need to get inside of Jones 7 ½ inch reach advantage. If Reyes is able to live up to his nickname “The Devastator,” we could very well be in for the upset of a lifetime, but then reality sets in, and Jon Jones is still the greatest fighter in martial arts history, and that isn’t about to change. “Someone’s 0, has got to go,” and I believe that to be the unblemished record of Dominick Reyes.
Can Katlyn Chookagian prove everyone wrong?
At +700, “The Blonde Fighter” is the largest betting underdog on the card at UFC 247, but if you talk to anyone at the Renzo Gracie Combat Team, that’s just fine. “She’s a dominant champ. I’m a huge underdog. No one’s really expecting me to win this fight. I am, and my coaches are, which is all that’s important”, she told MMA On Point. After a 7-0 amateur career, Chookagian got off to an again undefeated pro career going 8-0 before suffering her first career loss to Liz Carmouche at UFC 205. A brown belt under Renzo Gracie, if she wants to have the success, she will look to take this fight to the ground and try and impose her ground game on the far superior striking Shevchenko. With 12/15 career fights going the distance, this isn’t a fight that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Look for the champion to maintain distance and use her superior striking skills to pick apart the challenging Chookagian.
The best of the rest?
Miles Johns (10-0) vs. Mario Bautista (7-1)
Miles Johns could be very well a future title contender in the Bantamweight division. He has strong power, a solid ground game, and a gas tank that can make him a difficult matchup for anyone in the division. Although Bautista’s sole career loss came at the hands of now, #4 ranked Bantamweight Cory Sandhagen. The winner of this fight should be knocking on the door of the top 15 in the division with a win for Johns having huge career trajectory implications.
Dan Ige (12-2) vs. Mersad Bektic (13-2)
Bektic, who was once cast as a future title contender in the Featherweight division, has fallen off track going 2-2 over his last four performances. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Dan Ige is 4-0 over his last four fights and carries all the momentum into this bout. A slight underdog at +110 Ige has an opportunity to continue to establish himself as someone on the rise and cracking into the rankings of the division.
That’s it for UFC 247. Will we see a lesser-known fighter stamp there mark on the UFC? Will we see someone shock the world and a belt change hands? UFC 247 Feb.8th 10 pm/et we will find out!