Mandatory Credit: Chris Unger – Zuffa LLC
Ahead of a long-awaited title fight next year, current UFC heavyweight kingpin, Francis Ngannou currently sits as quite the noteworthy betting favorite to beat former two-time light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones in the latter’s heavyweight division birth.
Ngannou, the current undisputed heavyweight champion, still remains embroiled in contract status limbo with the Dana White-led UFC, however, has been linked with a potential return to the Octagon at UFC 285 in March of next year against the returning, Jones.
Sidelined since the opening pay-per-view event of this year; UFC 270 – Francis Ngannou successfully unified the heavyweight titles with a unanimous decision win over then-interim titleholder, Ciryl Gane – utilizing a surprising grappling and wrestling approach.
Francis Ngannou had previously landed the undisputed heavyweight title last year, stopping multiple-time champion, Stipe Miocic with a stunning second round KO in the pair’s championship rematch.
For Jones, the former promotional pound-for-pound number one has been out of action since February 2020, successfully defending his light heavyweight crown as part of a second reign in a close, unanimous judging win over Dominick Reyes. Later that year, the Rochester native officially vacated his crown.
In the time since, Jones has been linked with potential returns against the likes of both the aforenoted, Miocic, and Curtis Blaydes – as well as Cameroon native, Ngannou, with a March 4. outing at UFC 285 floated in recent months.
Francis Ngannou decent favorite to hand Jon Jones heavyweight loss
If both Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones share the Octagon at the UFC 285 pay-per-view event next March, bookies are currently taking money on the potential fight, with the defending champion priced as short as -155 to defeat Jones – with the former gold holder priced at +135 to topple the current undisputed king. Bollywood Games.
Undergoing reconstructive surgery to address a knee injury suffered just weeks out from his title unification fight with Gane in January, Ngannou has enjoyed a brutal winning streak of six straight wins since losses to Miocic, and Derrick Lewis.
In the time since his forgettable 2018 fight with Lewis, Batie bruiser, Francis Ngannou has turned in knockout victories over Curtis Blaydes, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, as well as the championship trio of Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, and the above-mentioned, Miocic.
Revered as one of the most formidable hitters and most dangerous knockout artists in the sport’s history, Ngannou holds 12 knockout wins from a 17 total triumphs, stopping former champion, Andrei Arlovski, and Dutch kickboxing ace, Alistair Overeem – the latter in quite devastating fashion prior to his title reign in the UFC to boot.
Former Jackson-Wink MMA staple, Jones has long been regarded as arguably the greatest mixed martial arts fighter of all-time, however, has himself been embroiled with the UFC in contract fallouts, as well as his fair share of legal battles during his time away from the sport, resulting in a lengthy hiatus.
The 35-year-old has managed to secure victories in a whopping 14 title fights during his time under the banner of the UFC, previously defeating Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira, and then Daniel Cormier in his first undisputed championship tilt.