UFC 247 Odds, Picks & Predictions: Best Bets for Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes

Credit:

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: Jon Jones, Dominick Reyes

  • Jon Jones is a huge betting favorite in the latest betting odds over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 on Saturday night.
  • Jones' only loss came by DQ in 2009, but can the upstart Reyes pull off the upset?
  • Sean Zerillo makes his pick for Jones vs. Reyes and the undercard fights at UFC 247 below.

UFC 247 Betting Odds & Picks

  • Odds: Jon Jones (-450) vs. Dominick Reyes (+350)
  • Time: Approx. 10 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Toyota Center (Houston, Texas)
  • Channel: ESPN+ PPV

Jon “Bones” Jones is an all-time great, if not the GOAT, in the sport of mixed martial arts, but public opinion on Jones the person remains divisive – which is why his achievements are underappreciated.

Every time Jones walks into the octagon to fight for a title – scoring 13 victories, tied with Georges St-Pierre for the most in UFC history – you are watching the equivalent of Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, Wayne Gretzky in the Stanley Cup, or Michael Jordan in the NBA finals.

Jones successfully defended his light heavyweight title eight times during his first reign as champion, before a positive test for turanibol turned his July 2017 knockout win over Daniel Cormier into a no-contest — stripping him of his title. His only career loss was a disqualification for illegal elbows back in 2009.

It’s fair to say that nobody has ever defeated Jon Jones in an MMA contest – though a few have come close.

Most recently, Jones won by split decision over Thiago Santos in July 2019 after opening as a -850 favorite, and fans often complain about his point-fighting style which has led to a lot of wins via decision when Jones, usually a considerable favorite, clearly could have gone for a finish.

He now faces an undefeated challenger in Dominick Reyes, a former college football player (Stony Brook) who is coming off of an impressive knockout over former middleweight champion and Long Island icon Chris Weidman.

A focused and determined Jones is deserving of his favoritism, but many feel that Reyes has a chance to be the one to upset the MMA legend finally.

Tale of the Tape

Jon Jones’ Path to Victory

If you haven’t watched Jon Jones, you should know that he is an extraordinarily adaptable and incredibly technical but creative striker – especially with his kicks – and a master wrestler, both offensively and defensively.

He is the epitome of precision and volume – landing the most significant strikes and leg kicks in UFC light heavyweight history while throwing those significant strikes with the highest accuracy (57.6%) amongst active fighters in the division.

Jones has a significant edge in the clinch – where he “is usually the controlling fighter (66%), and Reyes tends to have his back against the cage (68%).”

Jones will wear you down with leg and his signature oblique kicks and back you up with front and roundhouse kicks from a distance before slipping inside of range, controlling your arms in the clinch and scoring with his knees and elbows – the latter of which is particularly devastating when he drags his opponent to the ground.

He is the superior takedown artist in the fight – 8% above average when he shoots and 3% above average from the clinch and is dominant from that point on – maintaining top control 99% of the time and landing power strikes more than 50% above an average fighter.

Jones is a knockout threat, even from full guard, and has some world-class submissions to boot.

And you can never underestimate championship pedigree and the fact that Reyes has never had to fight more than three rounds in past bouts – undoubtedly leaving Jones with the edge in the later stages of a long fight.

Dominick Reyes’s Path to Victory

Like Jones, Reyes prefers to strike at a high volume from a distance, and he has both doubled his opponent’s strike volume while landing at a significantly higher rate (61% to 40%).

He’s rather solid all-around – a good athlete with explosive knockout power in both his hands and feet, who varies his strike types and locations and has strong wrestling fundamentals.

Reyes is a master of range and possesses a signature left cross that he can deliver with authority, whether backing up or moving forward.

But he’s going to need to slip in and out of striking distance and avoid getting into hand fighting with Jones – who could dominate this fight inside with his grip and wrist control.

Reyes needs to be patient, control the pace and distance with his leg kicks, turn this into a kickboxing match, and slug the champ with a few big left hands – particularly when he can counter off of some leg kicks.

 

Current and Past Odds

Jones opened as a -400 favorite in this bout and is now listed as high as -534 in the betting market.

Jones isn’t well-liked, and the public typically takes plus-money underdogs against him, but the closing line typically moves towards the champ.

Fight Prediction

The question is whether Jones decides to dominate tactically – by going to the clinch early and often – or tries to counter-punch and beat Reyes at his own game.

Sub-optimal tactics almost failed Jones against in his last fight and have left him wobbling out of the cage after taking a volume of leg kicks in a few recent bouts.

The champ could be in store for an early scare, but his ability to adapt, recover, and flip momentum is amongst his best skills.

Based upon how I see the fight playing out, and Jones’ recently propensity to try to out-point his opponents, I think the two most likely outcomes are Jones via submission (+275) or Jones via decision (+240) – and I’m splitting a unit between those two plus-money wagers.

But if I have to call it, I’ll take Jones on the scorecards.

The Pick: Jon Jones via decision (+240)

[Bet now at BetMGM. NJ only.]

Other Bets at UFC 247

Derrick Lewis (-220) vs. Ilir Latifi (Heavyweight) 

Two explosive strikers and personalities look fit for a battle to open the main card as “The Sledgehammer” Ilir Latifi makes his return to the Heavyweight Division in Derrick Lewis’s home state of Texas – where “The Black Beast” is undefeated (9-0), including a 4-0 record in Houston.

Lewis has a five-inch height advantage and a 15-pound weight advantage over Latifi, who struggled to cut to light-heavyweight while losing his past two fights. He should have more power and stamina at his walking weight than in previous bouts.

Meanwhile, Lewis looks slimmed down after recovering from an ACL tear that caused him to miss most of 2019, but he returned to win a three-round decision in November, and his conditioning looked better than ever.

Though not the most technically sound fighter, Lewis is a deceptively good athlete with extreme power, and his size advantage will be a difference-maker in this fight.

The weigh-in photo says it all.

Latifi always looked small for light-heavyweight, but he could still barely make the weight cut to fight in that division. Now he seems dwarfed by Lewis, a massive heavyweight who should be able to manhandle the smaller fighter, eventually land a knockdown and finish with some ground and pound.

I would be more concerned about Latifi landing a knockout blow of his own than dominating Lewis with his wrestling – he’s the more technical striker of the two and should have some added muscle.

But the conditions and matchup favor Lewis, and he’s a deserving favorite.

Lewis said that he would “look for the knockout in the first round…to put on for Houston,” before later joking that he would only win by a controversial decision.

He’s in his best shape in years and filled with confidence, and I like Lewis to score his 19th career knockout here.

Under 1.5 rounds (+110) or Lewis wins in round 1 (+190) seem like enticing betting options, but I’ll lay some juice on a fighter with a long history of third-round stoppages.

The Pick: Derrick Lewis by KO/TKO (-135)

[Bet now at BetMGM. NJ only.]

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