The Ultimate Fighting Championship started off the new year strong, with UFC 246 heralding the much-awaited comeback of “The Notorious” Conor McGregor. Now, MMA fans are looking forward to Saturday’s event, with another UFC legend stepping into the Octagon. At UFC 247, Jon “Bones” Jones will be defending the light heavyweight belt for the 11th time, facing off against the undefeated Dominick “The Devastator” Reyes, while Katlyn Chookagian will be challenging champion Valentina Shevchenko for the women’s flyweight belt.
UFC 247: Jones vs. Reyes is a pay-per-view event featuring an action-packed and star-studded main card, and it’s going to air Saturday, February 8, exclusively on ESPN+. Now’s the time to if you haven’t already, and then read on to see our own picks and predictions for these two highly anticipated title bouts.
The headliner at UFC 247 is a contest for the light heavyweight championship, with Jon Jones defending his title against Dominick Reyes. This fight is especially noteworthy, as (unless it ends in a draw) one of these combatants will receive his first true defeat at UFC 247 – Reyes boasts an undefeated record with 12 wins, while Jones’ only professional “loss” came via disqualification. Jones, ranked the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC with 25 victories under his belt, won the light heavyweight title in 2011 and has successfully defended it 10 times since.
Jones is coming into this fight on a 16-win streak, but his last fight at UFC 239 was the first victory via split decision in his career. He’ll be itching to score a dominant win at UFC 247, but Reyes won’t be an easy nut to crack: The former college football star is well-positioned to unseat Jones from his current throne, entering UFC 247 following his biggest victory yet after a first-round knockout against former champ Chris Weidman last October. The aspiring champion will have his work cut out for him, however.
Reyes isn’t the first undefeated fighter to face Jones, as two other formerly undefeated fighters received their first defeats at Jones’ hands. “Bones” is a technical and adaptable fighter who has been described by many as the best martial artist to ever set foot in the Octagon, having very few if any notable weaknesses when it comes to striking, clinching, and grappling. Reyes may have earned his nickname “The Devastator” thanks to his vicious kicking skills, but he is ultimately outmatched here when it comes to reach, striking, and grappling skills overall. You can learn more about Jones and his fighting style by watching his previous fights on ESPN+.
Our prediction: Jones will take the win via decision.
The second fight headlining the UFC 247 main card is another championship match, with Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko defending her belt against Katlyn “Blonde Fighter” Chookagian. Although Shevchenko is a household name in the UFC women’s division and seems to be the obvious favorite, this matchup is more even than it may appear at first glance.
Shevchenko, sitting at number two in the UFC’s women’s pound-for-pound rankings, is widely regarded as one of the best female MMA fighters in the world with a record of 18 wins and three losses. She won the UFC women’s flyweight championship in 2018, has successfully defended it twice since, and currently remains undefeated at flyweight.
Her opponent, Chookagian (13-2), is ranked the number one UFC women’s flyweight at the moment, and will not likely go down easily. Nonetheless (not unlike the case with Jones and Reyes), the underdog here is simply outmatched in almost every way by the reigning champion. Shevchenko is a masterful striker thanks to her kickboxing background, but she’s also a very good grappler (she has claimed more victories via submission than by knockout or decision). Chookagian will not have any obvious weaknesses she can exploit here, and we don’t see her bringing enough power to deliver a defeat to the champion this time around.
Our prediction: Schevchenko wins via decision.
UFC 247: Jones vs. Reyes is a pay-per-view event that will air exclusively on ESPN+, meaning you’ll need a membership in order to watch it live on Saturday. If you haven’t signed up yet, then today’s the perfect time to do it, as right now you can and score a year’s worth of ESPN+ (a $50 value) plus the UFC 247 PPV package (a $65 value) for just $85, saving you 30 bucks.
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