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UFC 152 preview: Can Vitor Belfort pull off huge upset against Jon Jones?

The UFC 152 event is almost upon us as it’ll take place on Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’ll be headlined by the UFC light heavyweight title fight between the champion Jon Jones and huge underdog Vitor Belfort. Belfort got the shot when former champion Lyoto Machida declined to fight Jones on about four weeks notice. Let’s break it down and see if Belfort has a shot at overcoming the odds.

Vitor Belfort (21-9) is coming off the submission win over Anthony Johnson at UFC 142. Belfort has won back-to-back fights since being knocked out by highlight reel fashion against Anderson Silva at UFC 126. Belfort has 14 wins via TKO/KO and three wins via submission. Belfort still have good hand speed and is fairly well rounded for someone that made his UFC debut in 1997. However, Belfort has been stopped three times via TKO/KO and once via submission.

Jon Jones (16-1) is coming off the unanimous decision win over former training partner and champion Rashad Evans at UFC 145. Jones has faced and defeated four consecutive former world champions with Belfort being the fifth former champion in his path. Jones has eight wins via TKO/KO and five wins via submission. Jones has no visible holes in his game other than he doesn’t fight well moving backwards, but very few fighters are able to do that.

Jones is the huge betting favorite at (-850) and Belfort is the underdog at (+575) according to TopBet. Belfort was a much bigger underdog on initial betting lines, so some folk placed some money on him. Will it pay off?

Probably not. Belfort has a puncher’s chance of winning this fight and that’s about it. He’ll be giving up a huge size and reach advantage to Jones. He’ll also more than likely not be able to stop Jones from taking him down to the mat. If Jones decides to take him down the fight is pretty much over at that point. Belfort is a blackbelt in jiu-jitsu, but isn’t much of a threat to submit anyone off his back. Jones will reign down hellbows and stop Belfort via TKO from that position.

Belfort must simply throw caution to the wind in this fight and go for the knockout. He’s not going to win a decision and he’s not going to submit him. As I mentioned, Jones doesn’t fight well while moving backwards so Belfort needs to flurry with punches to close the distance. He’ll hope to connect with his bread and butter straight left right down the middle and stun Jones with hopes of finishing him afterwards.

There will be no upset on Saturday night. Jones will take Belfort out via TKO in the second round.

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