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Jones/Teixeira For Light Heavyweight Title At UFC 172

172

BALTIMORE — The UFC will make its debut in Baltimore Saturday night, and one of the biggest stars from nearby New York will headline UFC 172.

Jon Jones (19-1) makes his return to the octagon for the first time since his memorable fight with Alexander Gustafsson in September 2013, and will once again face a strong opponent for the UFC light heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira (22-2).

Becoming the youngest champion in UFC history, Jones has continued his lengthy run as light heavyweight champion for the sport. But it has not been easy to maintain a high level of training for his fights. He admitted during the UFC 172 press conference he had only gone 80 percent in training for his last fight with Gustafsson, which showed as Jones was vulnerable to defeat for the first time in the octagon.

Following his toughest fight of his career, Jones seems to have matured mentally, saying he had one of his best camps in preparation for Saturday’s fight. It will be put to the test, against a man who has not seen defeat for nine years.

Teixeira is undefeated in five fights with the UFC, and currently owns a 20 fight win streak in his MMA career. A man known for his strength and knockout power, he is a man who, if he hits Jones anywhere near the 191 times Gustafsson did in September, will be capable of winning the fight. He is a also a fighter who goes for the finish, as he has never gone the distance in his five UFC fights, and only needed one round against Ryan Bader in their five-round main event in his last fight back in September 2013.

While Teixeira has the knockout power Gustafsson seemed to lack, the decisive reach advantage for Jones will be prominent in Saturday’s fight. He could hold as much as a 8.5 inch reach advantage, allowing him to stay on the outside and strike without getting hit. The length of Jones will also play a factor in defending takedowns, a key reason he has defended a UFC record 95.83% of takedown attempts from his opponent.

In Jones’ last fight, the question of taking away his reach advantage showed he could be pushed. Now, the next question everyone wants answered is whether the big power from Teixeira will slow him down as well.

It will all go down tonight at UFC 172 in Baltimore, as Jones and Teixeira will headline the main card that begins at 10pm on pay-per-view.

 

 

Follow Brandon Boles on Twitter: @BrandonBoles

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(Photo Credit: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)   

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