UFC 232 - Cirque Du Jon Jones Breakdown & Predictions
When is UFC 232? Sunday 30th December, 2018 – 01:00 (UK)
Where is UFC 232? The Forum, Inglewood, California
What channel is UFC 232 on? BT Sport 2
Where can I stream UFC 232? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT website
Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson
Cris Cyborg vs Amanda Nunes
It beggars belief as to why this fight has not received more promotion by the UFC. Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes serve as the co-main event but this has got to be the biggest women’s fight of all time. Few dispute that Cyborg is the best female Mixed Martial Artist and the UFC created the featherweight division just for her. Fighters have had to come up from bantamweight to fight her and besides Holly Holm, who she beat via a unanimous decision, no one has been anywhere near her level.
However, a superfight has been created with Nunes moving up to challenge Cyborg for her title and become a two-division champion. Nunes is the only other fighter in the ‘GOAT’ conversation with a submission over Miesha Tate, a demolition of Ronda Rousey and two wins over the current strawweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. Add in the fact these ladies are two of the most aggressive and powerful strikers with a staggering 28 knockouts between them… the UFC have missed the boat on this one.
We will be witnessing two of the best Boxers in women’s MMA and despite the odd clinch, a boxing match is what we are likely to see. Cyborg will be the favourite with the power and weight advantage and will have the confidence in knowing Nunes has never experienced power like hers before.
However, Cyborg herself has never fought anyone like Nunes. She is also an elite striker with a ground game to match and importantly has a slight reach advantage which she will use masterfully, punching right at the end of her range. She will hit Cyborg like she hasn’t been hit before and it will be intriguing to see how she reacts.
This will be more even than the stats suggest as Nunes has fought the best fighters in the UFC whereas Cyborg has dominated less experienced fighters. This will be the toughest fight of both of their careers and Nunes will be worth a bet as the underdog but Cyborg’s power is likely to take its toll going into the championship rounds.
Winner: Cyborg via Decision
Carlos Condit vs Michael Chiesa
Michael Chiesa moves up to welterweight as the cut down to lightweight was too gruelling and for his welcome to the division, he takes on the legend Carlos Condit who is desperate to avoid losing five fights in a row. Fighting top contender after top contender is the price you pay for being one of the best welterweights for a decade.
Chiesa is suffering a losing streak of his own after getting submitted by Kevin Lee and Anthony Pettis. Those were tough defeats especially as grappling is his strength, but cutting down to the stature of a scarecrow compromised his performance and he is expected to come in heavier and more energised which is a must against Condit.
Condit is accomplished on the ground with 13 submissions under his belt but that said, Chiesa’s game plan will be to take him down and look for a finish. This is partly because he is phenomenal on the mat but also because he has no right to stand with Condit.
Despite the losing streak, Condit will be dangerous everywhere and he will hope to keep the fight on the feet as long as possible as he has the technique to light Chiesa up at will. However, if his takedown defence doesn’t improve he will have to find a knockout to avoid a grinding decision loss.
Winner: Condit via KO/TKO
Ilir Latifi vs Corey Anderson
Two beast wrestlers meet with a keen eye on the main event between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson as an impressive win will put them on course for an eventual shot at the light heavyweight title.
They have both won two fights in a row which were two of their best career performances. Ilir Latifi is coming off a decision over Tyson Pedro and a superb submission over Ovince Saint Preux whereas Corey Anderson is coming off two decisions over Patrick Cummins and Glover Teixeira.
Both men are phenomenal wrestlers and the last time Anderson came up against an elite Wrestler in Patrick Cummins, he dominated him at his own game, taking him down 12 out of 13 attempts and controlling him for the three rounds.
However, Latifi is a submission wrestling gold medallist and has never been taken down in the UFC. This may be concerning for Anderson but if he does not succeed to take him down at first, he has the cardio to put on an unforgiving pace until the bell so the Swede’s takedown defence will have to be sharp for all three rounds.
This will be a fascinating contest and if their skills cancel each other out and force the fight to stay on the feet, you have to back Latifi who has the technique and power to put Anderson away and a finish may be needed to avoid Anderson earning a decision with a relentless output of clinches and takedown attempts.
Winner: Latifi via KO/TKO
Chad Mendes vs Alexander Volkanovski
A huge featherweight fight kicks off the main card between the veteran Chad Mendes and the red-hot prospect Alexander Volkanovski. Volkanovski is tearing it up with a 16-fight winning streak and has passed the UFC test with flying colours so far with five wins including an exceptional unanimous decision in his last outing over Darren Elkins, snapping his own six-fight winning streak.
After serving a ban for testing positive for a growth hormone, Mendes returned to action in July this year and it was like he had never been away after starching Myles Jury in the first round. He will be calling upon his title fight experience against the likes of Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor to potentially earn another shot at the new king of the division – Max Holloway.
If Mendes continues to perform like his old self, Volkanovski is going to be in trouble but Mendes cannot underestimate the Aussie as he has hardly put a foot wrong so far, mixing in his powerful striking with takedowns and grappling – very much like how Mendes earned his success in the division.
Expect a very well-rounded display from both men with Volkanovski matching Mendes in every department. If a knockout doesn’t occur, the fight will likely go to a close decision. Mendes’ experience may help him edge out a decision but despite being the underdog, Volkanovski has everything to cause the upset whether that be a knockout of a decision for himself.
Winner: Mendes via Decision
Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric