How Real Are Dominick Reyes’ Chances at UFC 247?

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UFC 247 is now the main focus, as Super Bowl LIV is in the books. Dominick Reyes will look to be the first to ever defeat Jon “Bones” Jones. Reyes is #4 in the light heavyweight rankings and will challenge Jones for the belt this Saturday, February 8th. With arguably the best to ever do it, a lot of hype surrounds Jones. Spectators putting pressure on Jon to defend his title once again, we’ve seen the hype time and time again. However, the outcome remains the same. Can Reyes overcome the only ever undefeated light heavyweight in UFC history?

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

Just How Good is Jon Jones?

Former two-time champ Daniel Cormier said it’s Jones’ “abilities” that make him tough to deal with. High-class technique partnered with stature and reach has definitely played a factor in Jones’ reign. “Bones” has a well-rounded game, being effective on the ground, and the stand-up. Putting aside the physical skills and attributes for a moment, and reflect on his mental toughness. “I can’t say enough about his grit and his determination,” said Cormier also. Not only was this obvious in the Cormier battles, but also in UFC 239, where Jones won a decision over Thiago Santos. As you can see, beating Jones isn’t an easy task.

The amazing attraction Jon receives can’t go unnoticed either. Several names have been linked to have a bout with him down the road. For a long time now, a heavyweight debut has been teased by Jones. Leaving multiple names such as current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, and top contender Francis Ngannou, who is fighting Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC Columbia. Furthermore, a potential bout with middleweight champion Israel Adesanya continues to brew. Needless to say, Jon Jones is full of options because of his ability and personality. 

Image via USA Today

How Does Reyes Factor in?

Now to move on to Reyes and how he can throw a wrench in all of this. Jones is obviously on the taller side when it comes to fighting, and it shows when he faces off with opponents. However, Reyes negates this factor, as he is also. Reyes should try to close and maintain short distance and use his height to equal advantage. But, it goes well beyond that to win the fight. Reyes has to evade the effective jabs and punches coming from the long reach of Jones. To add to the offense, Jones also has uniquely beautiful takedowns to pose damage on the ground.

It’d be of best interest to avoid the ground and pound that Jones uses with his opponents. As a plus, Reyes has been known to have excellent takedown defense. Jones’ stand-up defense has been phenomenal over the years, and getting past it will be tough, much less delivering damage. On the side of Reyes, however, is his beautiful and effective head kicks. If Dominick can mix up his hands and work into a devastating kick, this could lead to a finish in his favor. Now, how about grappling with these two, this could be a make or break for each fighter. An underrated technique that Reyes possesses in the clinch is his effective uppercuts. We saw it when he fought Jared Cannonier, as Dominick managed to fight from short distance, Cannonier ate some nasty uppercuts which later dropped him.

(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Bout That Checks All Boxes

Label Reyes’ skills how you want, however, you can’t change the attributes of this matchup. Dominick has put Jones to a pause in his past fight, size. Thinking back to the first bout between Cormier, the clinch game was difficult for Jones compared to before. The added weight that Daniel possessed proved to be a different obstacle to get around. Reyes has the size to combat that of Jones, which doesn’t totally take Jon’s scary attributes out, but it certainly helps. Each fighter has to claim the win from the clinch. Despite being a big man, Jon fights very well from there and utilizes his long arms and knees so effectively that it looks effortless. Reyes has an awesome clinch game as well, he needs to utilize his heavy hands and land uppercuts. Dealing damage that counts towards a decision, or sets up a knockout.

Underrating Dominick Reyes is not what Jon Jones or fans should be doing. Despite Jones’ light heavyweight reign, anyone can win at any moment. Reyes’ game is nothing to overlook and like UFC president Dana White said, “this will be a tough test for Jones”. The keys to victory are similar for both men, making this bout an exciting one from paper to reality.

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