Jon Jones will step inside the Octagon for the first time since his epic showdown with Alexander Gustafsson last September when he defends his light-heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira at UFC 172.
In the co-main event, Phil Davis welcomes Anthony “Rumble” Johnson back inside the Octagon, an intriguing matchup that will insert the winner into the title conversation.
Here are my UFC 172 predictions:
Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira (light-heavyweight title tilt)
For the first time in his MMA career, Jones (19-1-0, 9 KOs) looked human inside the Octagon during his UFC 165 tilt against Gustafsson. The Swede managed to expose a few holes in Jones’ game, and a decent amount of fans even gave Alexander the nod.
It’ll be interesting to see how Jones bounces back from such a brutal fight.
It’s highly unlikely that Teixeira (22-2-0, 13 KOs) will be able to ground Jones during their showdown like Gustafsson did, but he might be able to cause the youngest champ in UFC history problems with his boxing. Like Jones’ previous bout, this fight has the potential to be a lot closer than many seem to think, but, at the end of the day, I expect Jones to grind out another decision at UFC 172.
Prediction: Jones wins by decision.
Phil Davis vs. Anthony Johnson
Following his release from the UFC, Johnson (16-4-0, 11 KOs) went on a tear, racking up six consecutive victories, four via knockout.
Davis (12-1-0, 4 submissions) on the other hand is coming off a gift decision victory against Lyoto Machida.
Davis displayed remarkably improved striking during his bout against Machida, so I wouldn’t be surprised – even if everyone else is – if he ends up getting the better of the striking exchanges at UFC 172.
Davis is also the better wrestler, meaning “Rumble” will likely be in for a long night.
Prediction: Davis wins via submission.
Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Boetsch
Rockhold (11-2-0, 6 submissions) looked awesome during his last outing against Costas Philippou, and a win at UFC 172 would move him another step closer to the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight title.
He’ll be in for a tough test in Boetsch (17-6-0, 7 KOs), who is coming off a split decision victory against C.B. Dollaway, but he is the superior striker and wrestler. That should be more than enough to lead him to victory.
Prediction: Rockhold wins via decision.
Remaining UFC 172 predictions:
Jim Miller defeats Yancy Medeiros
Andre Fili defeats Max Holloway
Joseph Benavidez defeats Tim Elliott
Takanori Gomi defeats Isaac Vallie-Flagg
Bethe Correia defeats Jessamyn Duke
Danny Castillo defeats Charlie Brenneman
Chris Beal defeats Patrick Williams
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.