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UFC 159: Chael Sonnen vs Jon Jones Preview

UFC 159 is on Saturday (April 26) and the main event is a Light Heavyweight Championship battle between The Ultimate Fighter 17 opponents Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones.

These two fighters have a bit of a history.  Sonnen offered to step in when Dan Henderson withdrew from a fight at UFC 151.  However, Jon Jones was not willing to fight Sonnen without notice.  Both fighters were then placed on The Ultimate Fighter as opposing coaches.  The two fighters appeared to have developed a respect for each other that seems to boarder on friendship.  When they step into the octagon, however, all either fighter will be thinking about is winning.

While Sonnen recently said on ESPN that even though he is pushing 40 he feels like he is better than he ever has been, he has to know that his fighting career is limited at this point.  Sonnen plowed through middleweight title contenders twice only to lose two fights to Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva.  Sonnen was smart enough not to simply be second best among middle weight.  He instead decided to step up a weight class and challenge Jon Jones for his Light Heavyweight Title.

Sonnen has been talking a big talk, as he always does, but he is going to have to back it up tomorrow.  Most have Sonnen pegged as the underdog.  However, Sonnen does have the size advantage over Jones and is a better wrestler.  If Sonnen can avoid submission and strikes from Jones and keep him grounded he could win by decision.

Jones is not unbeatable.  We saw Lyoto Machida take Jones to the limit at UFC 140 before being taken out by a quick submission.  Vitor Belfort also almost locked in an arm bar on Jones early in the first round at UFC 152.  Jones narrowly escaped and went on to dominate that contest.  None the less, things could have been very different if Jones had hesitated for even a second.

Jones is going to want to keep this fight on his feet.  He is not going to want to get into a wrestling match with Sonnen.  If he does find himself on the ground he will likely lose the round.  Jones is very dangerous when looking for submissions on the ground, though, so he could pull a surprise victory that way.

Jones is the big favorite to win with a money line that hovers around -800 on most sports books.  The money line to bet on Sonnen is at +500.

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