(And you can take that to the bank! Photo via Getty Images.)
Yesterday, it was announced that Jon Jones will meet his next challenge in the form of Swedish wrecking machine Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in September. Your reaction was the typical mix of childish enthusiasm and overwhelming positivity that we’ve come to expect: “I don’t think he has a chance!” one of you emphatically declared, “This is a dumb fight,” praised another, “blah blah blah Bones should fight at heavyweight,” chimed in a third. Damn, does anything truly put a smile on your faces?
In any case, the early gambling lines seem to agree with most of you Taters that, yes, Jones vs. Gustafsson is nothing more than the latest in a series of squash matches that have constituted the Bones Era. With the matchup still months away, Jones has already opened as a -800 favorite to Gustafsson’s +500 odds. Ouch.
Personally, I think Gustafsson’s size should at the very least prevent him from getting absolutely manhandled by the champ, and expect to see that window slightly narrow as UFC 165 approaches. That being said, Gustafsson hasn’t really proved that he has eliminated the hole in his submission defense Phil Davis was able to exploit at UFC 112. I’m not saying that he hasn’t, but his recent wins over Vladdy, Thiago Silva and “Shogun” Rua were largely contested on the feet.
Sure, “The Mauler” has two UFC submission victories to his credit, but they came over James Te Huna and Cyrille Diabate, two fighters who aren’t exactly known for their submission prowess. Jones may make the claim that Jiu-Jitsu is his weakest area, but that hasn’t stopped him from submitting such BJJ black belts as Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida, so Gustafsson better be prepared for the champ’s creative grappling attack to say the least.
So, Potato Nation, do these early odds actually make you want to risk placing a small bet on “The Mauler” or do they have you heading for the nearest exit?