UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen – Main Event Preview with the PDG Guest Panel Predictions
By Dave Carpinello
UFC light heavyweight champion and New Yorker Jon “Bones” Jones returns to the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. this Saturday, April 27th to defend his title against controversial and unpredictable trash talker, Chael Sonnen. Jones and Sonnen served as coaches on this season’s The Ultimate Fighter and the tension between the two has never been higher and it will come to a boil live this weekend on pay-per-view as fans will finally get to see who has the last word in this hype-fueled grudge match. Here is the PDG main event preview with our UFC 159 Guest Panel Predictions from fighters, celebrities, industry superstars and more!
Jon “Bones” Jones (17-1) vs. Chael Sonnen (27-12-1)
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
Jon Jones quickly rose as a fan favorite with exciting, inventive performances against Andre Gusmao and Stephan Bonnar. Jones then made short work of Jake O’Brien, picking up his first finish in the UFC before steamrolling The Ultimate Fighter 3’s Matt Hamill – although illegal 12-to-6 elbows from mount gave Jones a disqualification loss, the only loss of his career.
Following the Hamill bout, Jones brutalized Brandon Vera with elbows from guard, and then used elbows to finish Vladimir Matyushenko – each in the first round. After stopping The Ultimate Fighter 8 winner Ryan Bader with a guillotine choke, Jones was given a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title.
In his title shot, Jones overwhelmed PRIDE superstar Mauricio “Shogun” Rua with size and aggressiveness, becoming the only fighter to stop Rua by TKO. In his first title defense Jones showed patience and aggression which led to a fourth round rear naked choke over former UFC champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. After that he defeated another former champion as he choked out Lyoto Machida at UFC 140. Since the victory over Machida, Jones has continued his historic run by defeating two more former UFC champions with a decision victory over Rashad Evans and then getting “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort to tap out with an Americana in a fight that saw Jones’ submission defense tested early on.
Jones, who was the youngest champion in UFC history, when crowned, was a national JUCO champion while wrestling at Iowa Central Community College. Jones currently trains under Greg Jackson and is tied with Frank Shamrock and Chuck Liddell for the second most title defenses in the UFC Light Heavyweight division.
UFC Record: 11-1 (5 subs, 3 TKO)
Strengths: Great wrestling, aggressive, athletic
Weaknesses: Questionable conditioning, if you need one
Key Wins: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Vitor Belfort, Ryan Bader, Rashad Evans, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Vladimiry Matyushenko, Lyoto Machida, Brandon Vera, Stephan Bonnar
Notable Losses: Matt Hamill
Chael Sonnen initially earned a reputation as a tough wrestler with lackluster submission defense until he joined the WEC. In the WEC he lost a controversially by submission against Paulo Filho, but was able to win a rematch by decision. When the WEC dissolved it’s heavier weight classes, including middleweight, Sonnen re-joined the UFC ranks. Sonnen had become more well-known at this point for his pre and post-fight comments, trash-talk, and humor.
In his return to the UFC, Sonnen was submitted by Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia. He was able to rebound however and earned one-sided decisions over Dan Miller, Yushin Okami, and Nate Marquardt. The impressive streak earned Sonnen a shot at UFC champion Anderson Silva. Sonnen dominated Silva over four and a half rounds before succumbing to a hail Mary triangle choke from the champion.
Following the loss Sonnen submitted former WEC champion Brian Stann with a first round arm-triangle choke and then won a lop-sided decision over Michael Bisping to put himself in place for a historic rematch. The rematch with Silva would look nothing like the first fight, except for the result, as the champion scored the TKO victory in round 2 at UFC 148. Sonnen was able to rebound though, not with wins but with his WWE style trash talk and it worked. As the UFC and Dana White awarded Sonnen with a spot opposite Jones on The Ultimate Fighter 17 as coaches. Sonnen’s team went on to win the season with two of his fighters meeting in the finals.
UFC Record: 6-5 (5 Dec, 1 Sub)
Strengths: Durable, powerful wrestler
Weaknesses: Submission defense
Key Wins: Brian Stann, Bryan Baker, Trevor Prangley, Michael Bisping, Dan Miller, Nate Marquardt, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Paulo Filho
Notable Losses: Anderson Silva (x2), Demian Maia, Babalu Sobral, Jeremy Horn (x3), Forrest Griffin, Paulo Filho
UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen – Main Event Guest Panel Predictions:
Diamond Dallas Page (DDP Yoga, former WWE & WCW Superstar) – “I’m a Big Fan of Chael… I find him very entertaining both in and out of the ring but right now I don’t think anyone can match up in the cage with Jon Jones. His crazy (I guess you could call it) overhand elbow is past the word Devastating. But as we all know anything can happen in a fight, so I will definitely be watching!”
Muhsin Corbbrey (15-7-2 MMA, Pro Boxer, Kickboxer and ESPN Asia Veteran) – “Jon Jones wins this fight via superior athletics and skill, I think it’ll make it to the third round and Sonnen may even get him down early via the takedown. But I think ‘Bones’ stops him with strikes in the 3rd.”
Jamie Varner (21-7-1-2, former WEC Lightweight Champion) – “Jones wins even though I am a Sonnen fan.”
Shayna Baszler (15-8, FCF Women’s Bantamweight Grand Prix Champion) – “Instead of analyzing this with rational and all that, I’m totally fanning out and cheering for Chael!!”
Frank Shamrock (23-10-2, Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, WEC Light Heavyweight Champion & Strikeforce Middleweight Champion) – “Bones Jones wins via TKO, then Sonnen retires and works on FOX telecast.”
Rob Kaman (97-12 Kickboxing, 1-0 MMA, 12 X kickboxing & Muay Thai Champion) – “Absolutely, no doubt about it, Jon Jones wins!!”
Elvis Sinosic (The King of Rock & Rumble) – Sonnen is a grinder. He grinds out his opponents and drags them into deep water using his wrestling. He is a very good wrestler that has adapted it well to MMA. His standup is evolved to setup his shots. If he can’t get it to the ground, he is in deep water. His weakness is submission defense, though he has appeared to have improved in that area over time.
Jones is a beast. He is the best fighter at LHW and on his way to being one of the all time greats. Jones mixes up his wrestling with his striking. He has the ability to control the range with his magnificent reach. When he uses his wrestling to get the takedown he destroys opponents with his elbows of doom. He has never been dominated by a wrestler. He’s been baffled by a great striker with fancy footwork, he’s been caught in a sub by a crafty veteran, yet neither of them won the match.
Sonnen offers no threat to Jones. His striking isn’t good enough to concern Jones. His wrestling isn’t going to be enough to control Jones. Jones will dominate this match and will decide whether to finish him standing or crush him on the ground. I don’t even see Sonnen grinding out a decision (which is the only way most pundits think he can win). Sonnen wasn’t the best at MW and failed against the best there in Anderson Silva. He is going to now face the best in LHW and is not going to make it again. At least he got people talking about this match after his great performance in TUF and his usual ability to hype a fight. He will once again receive a great payday but not the victory he wants with it. Jones by whatever he wants.
Paul Bradley (20-5-1, Strikeforce & UFC Veteran) – “I have to go with Jones in this one even though I’m a big Sonnen fan. Jones is just too well rounded and Sonnen essentially talked his way into this title fight. I’m going with Jones by TKO in the second round.”
Pete Spratt (25-22, ISKA U.S. Middleweight Champion) – “Think that this fight will go very similar to the way Silva versus Sonnen II went. Jones should finish Sonnen within one round!”
Andy Main (6-1-1, Ultimate Fighter Alum) – “Jon Jones takes this. I just hope Chael can back up some of his colorful talk.”
Scott Casber (Takedown Wrestling Radio) – “Fight fans, this is a battle of two seasoned wrestlers. While I’ll always pick a friend, Jones is clearly the beast that needs to be beaten. He has the talent, the size, the massive clubbing fists, a back you can show motion pictures on. He’s a big dude. Chael will need to do what he does and that’s pick Jones apart. He has the confidence to beat anyone anywhere. His wrestling skills are far greater and I do believe it will go to the mat. If that happens, when it does, Chael wins it. That’s my heart talking.”
Phil Baroni (PRIDE, Strikeforce & UFC Veteran, The New York Badass) – “Jones wins this fight in the second round via TKO.”
Ricky Lundell (Head Instructor University of Grappling in Utah) – “As a coach for Team Jones on the Ultimate Fighter I am quite biased for this fight. lol… I believe Jon Jones will beat Chael Sonnen via referee stoppage no later than the 3rd round. I do love though how Sonnen is using the platform ‘Save Olympic Wrestling’, and I am very thankful for the media and coverage he is getting for wrestling using that platform on such a high profile fight.”
Efrain Escudero (18-6, The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir Champion) – “This is going to be a great fight with Sonnen winning.”
Damon Lau (President – Round 5 Corporation) – “Sonnen is selling a good fight but Jones will be the one who will be doing all the fighting here. Jones in round two by TKO.”
Guest Panel Predictions Results:
Jon Jones – 12
Chael Sonnen – 3
Undecided – 0
UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen – Fight Card:
Main Bouts (Pay-Per-View):
Jon Jones (17-1) vs. Chael Sonnen (27-12-1) – UFC light heavyweight title bout
Michael Bisping (23-5) vs. Alan Belcher (18-7)
Roy Nelson (18-7) vs. Cheick Kongo (18-7-2)
Phil Davis (10-1) vs. Vinny Magalhaes (10-5)
Jim Miller (22-4) vs. Pat Healy (29-16)
Preliminary Bouts (FX):
Bryan Caraway (17-6) vs. Johnny Bedford (19-9-1)
Gian Villante (10-3) vs. Ovince St. Preux (12-5)
Sara McMann (6-0) vs. Shiela Gaff (10-4-1)
Rustam Khabilov (15-1) vs. Yancy Medeiros (9-0)
Preliminary Bouts (UFC Facebook/Youtube):
Leonard Garcia (15-10-1) vs. Cody McKenzie (13-3)
Nick Catone (9-4) vs. James Head (9-3)
Steven Siler (21-10) vs. Kurt Holobaugh (9-1)
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