In what has been a very eventful 2018 for UFC, the company is set to finish the year with the return of unbeaten former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Jones is set to fight former foe Alexander Gustfasson in the main event of UFC 232 taking place on December 29 from The Forum in Los Angeles. The two are set to fight for the vacant UFC Light Heavyweight title previously held by current heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
Their first encounter back in 2013 ended up being a light heavyweight classic for the UFC light heavyweight title. Right in the middle of his first world title reign, Jones had beaten the likes of Chael Sonnen, Lyoto Machida, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson among others. Gustafsson ended up being arguably Jones' toughest test up to that point and since then, a rematch between the two intrigued fans, but it never came.
Jones' future in the UFC was in doubt after failing another drug test in 2017. After being out of the octagon for more than a year, Jones has not only served his suspension but also right back in the title picture at 205 pounds.
As for Gustafsson, since the loss to Jones, Gustafsson struggled to capture championship gold for the next two years, losing a split decision to Cormier in late 2015. But since that second title loss, Gustafsson rebounded and won his last two fights, going right back up to No. 2 in the UFC light heavyweight rankings.
But as both Jones and Gustafsson are entering the fight having not been in the octagon for more than a year, Jones still remains a favorite to win the title, coming in as a -285 favorite while Gustafsson is just a slight underdog at +225.
Tale of the Tape:
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson:
- Record: 22-1 (1 NC)
- Age: 31
- Height: 6'4"
- Reach: 84"
- Notable Fights: Daniel Cormier, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Alexander Gustafsson, Mauricio Rua, Chael Sonnen, Quinton Jackson
- Record: 18-4
- Age: 31
- Height: 6'5"
- Reach: 79"
- Notable Fights: Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, Anthony Johnson, Mauricio Rua, Glover Teixeira
While the talk of the MMA world surrounding UFC 232 is the return of Jones, let's not ignore the rest of the card, which is a deep show with big fights all around.
The co-main event features the return UFC Women's Featherweight champion Cris Cyborg taking on bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in one of the most competitive and high-profile fights in recent UFC women's history.
Despite Cyborg winning most of her fights with relative ease, Nunes does present a unique challenge to Cyborg which could potentially result in the end of her near 18-month long title reign. Nunes has perhaps the biggest resume of any of Cyborg's opponents could potentially become the latest double champion in UFC history, but the first woman to hold titles in two divisions at the same time.
Yet even if Nunes could be Cyborg's biggest challenge, Cyborg still remains a slight favorite at -260 and Nunes coming in at +200.
Below are the odds for the main card fights for UFC 232:
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson: Vacant UFC Light Heavyweight title
- Jon Jones: -285
- Alexander Gustafsson: +225
Cris Cyborg (c) vs. Amanda Nunes: UFC Women's Featherweight title
- Cris Cyborg: -260
- Amanda Nunes: +200
Carlos Condit vs. Michael Chiesa
- Carlos Condit: +140
- Michael Chiesa: -170
Ilir Latifi vs. Corey Anderson
- Ilir Latifi: -150
- Corey Anderson: +120
Chad Mendes vs. Alexander Volkanovski
- Chad Mendes: -160
- Alexander Volkanovski: +130
Of course, there are plenty of other fights taking place outside of the main card, but if there is one potential value pick among the prelim fights, look no further than the lightweight fight between Ryan Hall and BJ Penn. While it has been years since fans got to see Penn have his hand raised in victory, coming into the fight on a six-fight winless streak, his opponent hasn't been all too active in the octagon.
It's been a little more than two years since Hall fought in the octagon, potentially giving Penn a flicker of hope to pull off the win. Regardless of the inactivity, Hall comes in as a -500 favorite but Penn is a +350 underdog which are the biggest odds for an underdog throughout this entire card.
Below is the full card:
Main Card (UFC PPV):
- Jon Jones (-275) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (+215): UFC Light Heavyweight title
- Cris Cyborg (-260) (c) vs. Amanda Nunes (+200): UFC Women's Featherweight title
- Carlos Condit (+140) vs. Michael Chiesa (-170)
- Ilir Latifi (-150) vs. Corey Anderson (+120)
- Chad Mendes (-160) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (+130)
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1):
- Andrei Arlovski (+135) vs. Walt Harris (-165)
- Cat Zingano (-150) vs. Megan Anderson (+120)
- Douglas Silva de Andrade (+230) vs. Petr Yan (-300)
- BJ Penn (+325) vs. Ryan Hall (-450)
Early Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass):
- Brian Kelleher (+135) vs. Montel Jackson (-165)
- Andre Ewell (-115) vs. Nathaniel Wood (-115)
- Uriah Hall (-120) vs. Bevon Lewis (-110)
- Curtis Millender (-155) vs. Siyar Bahadurzada (+125)
The card promises to be an action-packed show and Fightful has you covered. Fightful will have live coverage of the entire event as well as a post-show podcast.