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Jan Blachowicz is the Frontrunner to Face Jon Jones Next

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Jan Blachowicz made an emphatic statement when he knocked out Corey Anderson in the first round of what was a title eliminator fight. Not only did he eliminate Anderson from a title shot, but Blachowicz also damaged Dominick Reyes’ chances of getting an immediate rematch with Jon Jones. 

A few weeks ago, Jon Jones scored a controversial unanimous decision win over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247. Most pundits, fighters and fans were calling for an immediate rematch between Reyes and Jones. However, Blachowicz’s impressive victory has now put him at the front of the line to face Jon Jones next for the UFC light heavyweight title. 

Despite his convincing victory over the higher ranked Anderson, oddsmakers have opened with Blachowicz as a large underdog at +400 odds and Jon Jones listed as a -600 favorite. If you don’t know what these numbers mean, and still need to learn how to bet on the UFC, it’s really simple. 

If you bet $100 dollars on Blachowicz then you will win $400 dollars if he beats Jon Jones. However, if you want to wager on Jones then you will have to bet $600 dollars to win $100 due to his odds being so high. 

Will Jon Jones Accept Fight with Jan Blachowicz?

The UFC light heavyweight champ was in attendance last weekend to watch the Blachowicz vs Anderson fight. Jones was very impressed with Blachowicz’s performance and believes the streaking contender deserves a title shot

“I think everyone knows the winner of that fight [was] in title contention. To finish the fight the way he did, first round knockout, I don’t see how the guy can be denied. Jan’s been looking great. The way he knocked out Luke Rockhold. The way he just knocked out Corey Anderson. I think he’s very deserving.”

By all accounts, Jones seems more eager to face Blachowicz than Dominick Reyes. Although he’s open to both fights, the fresh challenge seems to be more appealing to the pound for pound best fighter in MMA. 

In reality, there aren’t many more matchups for Jones in the light heavyweight division. After Blachowicz and Reyes, Jones could make the long awaited jump to the heavyweight division. 

Blachowicz Believes He’s Next 

Following his impressive knockout of Anderson, Blachowicz shouted toward Jon Jones in attendance and said that he was next. After the event, Blachowicz continued to state to the media that he was next to face Jon Jones and that he was going to knock him out. 

Whether he can beat Jones or not is a debate for another day. What’s not a debate is Blachowicz’s resume to face Jones. 

Blachowicz scored the 16th stoppage victory of his career when he KO’d Anderson in just over three minutes. It was also the 7th TKO/KO win of his career. 

What About Dominick Reyes?

For Reyes to remain the top challenger to Jones’ title, he needed Blachowicz or Anderson to have a subpar performance. Unfortunately, the highlight reel knockout victory for Blachowicz more than likely dropped Reyes from getting an immediate rematch according to many outlets. 

Although the UFC has yet to make an official decision, they appear to have cooled off on talk of running back Reyes vs Jones right away. Instead, Blachowicz has become the trending pick to face Jones in his next title defense. 

MMA

Was Max Holloway Robbed at UFC 251?

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Last weekend, Max Holloway earned his featherweight title rematch against Alexander Volkanovski – but was he robbed in the decision? Many fighters and fans think so.

Here’s what legendary MMA fight manager Ali Abdelaziz had to say after the fight:

Nate Diaz was quick to chime in with his thoughts on Holloway’s loss at the hands of the judges as well:

The bottom line is this was a back and forth fight that could have gone either way. Yes, we would have scored it for Holloway too, but this is what happens when fighters leave bouts to the judges to decide.

Professional fighter Joe Schilling mentioned on a recent Joe Rogan podcast that he thought the UFC should add additional measures to keep judges more accountable. Some sort of tracking system that helps identify and remove judges who consistently score fights against the grain would be a great way to keep both fighters and fans appeased during tough decisions like this one.

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UFC 249 has a long and adventurous story

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UFC 249 was originally planned to take place on April 18th in New York but, due to the ongoing pandemic, governor Cuomo restricted mass gatherings and sports events, confining everyone to their homes, leaving them with little more to watch than reruns of old fights and perhaps Game Changers. UFC president Dana White then announced that the event was still on but the location will change. Later, it was announced that it will take place at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, California. ESPN and its parent company Disney didn’t like this, though, pressuring White to suspend the event for the time being – which he did. Finally, the event was rescheduled for May 9

Meanwhile, interesting news started circulating about a potential location for future UFC fight nights that, if it becomes a reality, might put an interesting spin on the world of mixed martial arts.

UFC Fight Island

Even before the issues with the event, White planned to arrange a brand new location where fight nights could be organized: a private island where athletes could train and fight.

“All the infrastructure is being built right now and getting put in place,” he told the press back in April. “As we get closer to that, then I’ll start figuring out booking fights, getting guys ready. Plus, I can ship guys over there earlier, and they can start training over there, on the island. So, once that’s all in place – we’re looking at like a month – I’ll have that all put together, and guys can start training and can go there.”

The UFC is serious about it: it has already registered several trademarks around the “UFC Fight Island” brand, covering several types of goods, services, even jewelry. 

When, and Where?

The “where” is still a mystery. Although he spoke repeatedly about the arrangements being made for athletes to be able to train and stay on the island, White has not revealed its location yet. Some theorize that it may be somewhere in international waters so it could serve as a place where international athletes could stay without restrictions, perhaps off the coast of California. But this is just a theory – all will probably be revealed in due time.

The “when” is a bit less vague: White told the press that UFC Fight Island will be operational by June. It will have amenities like an Octagon on the beach, and hotels for the fighters to be lodged at. And most importantly, it will allow international fighters to participate in fights, even with the pandemic-related travel restrictions still in place.

The idea of an island dedicated to fighting may sound familiar – it was the topic of the 2006 martial arts movie “DOA – Dead or Alive” and 2007’s “The Condemned”, among others. Let’s hope this one will have a happier ending.

As for UFC 249 ‘Ferguson vs. Gaethje’, that event will now take place at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. 

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What Justin Gaethje’s past fights tell us about his chances at UFC 249

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It’s fair to say that Justin Gaethje has firmly taken up the role of underdog ahead of his clash with Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 on May 9th. The latest Tony Ferguson v Justin Gaethje betting offers present Ferguson as the clear favourite, after his opponent was drafted in at the last minute to replace Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is on lockdown in his home country of Russia. 

Gaethje is relatively inexperienced in the world of UFC, having fought just six times in the competition in the past. But his calibre from prior ventures in MMA, notably the World Series of Fighting, means that he is a fighter not to be trifled with, and while he won’t represent as formidable a challenge for Ferguson as Khabib would have, there is much to admire about the 31-year-old.

To understand fully Gaethje’s chances ahead of UFC 249, it’s important to analyse his performances in recent fights. Indeed, his past three bouts have resulted in impressive victories, with Gaethje winning Performance of the Night awards in two of those fights — against James Vick and Donald Cerrone respectively. 

But his UFC started off in disappointing fashion, with just one win from his first three fights. That victory came against Michael Johnson in the reality show The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption Finale, but from there he failed to gain a strong foothold in the championship. He suffered back-to-back defeats against Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, including a knockout at the hands of the former, as he struggled to adapt to the competitive nature of the UFC.

Those defeats obviously shook Gaethje into life, because he has come roaring back in his last three fights, mustering up a trio of impressive performances to bring him to the level he finds himself at today, where UFC chief Dana White is drafting him to replace someone of the calibre of Khabib. 

The first of this trio of victories was a win over James Vick in August 2018, where Gaethje produced a fine display which silenced some of the doubters who had perhaps questioned his ability at the highest level. He won Performance of the Night for that one, and was then involved in the Fight of the Night the following March as he defeated Edson Barboza by knockout in Philadelphia. His most recent victory was a TKO triumph over UFC veteran Donald Cerrone in October last year, where Gaethje once again walked away with the Performance of the Night accolade. 

All three of his most recent wins have come via first round knockout or technical knockout, proof that Gaethje has the ability to overpower opponents in the opening stages of a fight. Of course, to do this against Ferguson will be a whole different ball game, as he is the most high-profile fighter Gaethje has faced so far, but perhaps the key lies in ensuring he comes out all guns blazing early on.

Gaethje’s Performance of the Night wins indicate that he is capable of producing a show-stopping performance on any given night. He is undoubtedly the underdog going into the fight against Ferguson, but with a few good wins now under his belt, who’s to say he can’t spring a surprise on May 9th and truly announce himself in the UFC. 

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