In 2018, the sport of MMA saw a trend toward fans clamoring for super fights within the sport. The UFC obliged with several matchups that really lit up the box office and PPV buys like Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov and Amanda Nunes vs Cyborg.
That exciting booking carried on into 2019 with numerous matchups like Henry Cejudo vs TJ Dillashaw, Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier, and the upcoming welterweight grudge fight between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington.
Perhaps, the greatest example in recent memory where a fight promotion put the fans’ desire above shoddy matchmaking was the recent bout between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz for the BMF title at MSG. It was an incredible event between two popular fighters and it smashed numbers across the board.
With that said, it appears another super fight is shaping up that could electrify fight fans across the globe. And, no, we’re not talking about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who was a part of UFC 244 to present the Masvidal-Diaz winner with a beautiful BMF title.
We’re talking about a super fight between two world champions in two different weight classes who also happen to be two of the top pound for pound fighters in the sport today – Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya.
Throughout the year, UFC’s top fighter and current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has engaged in a war of words with UFC’s middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. This public feud has spread across various MMA programming and social media platforms. It’s also caught the attention of MMA oddsmakers.
UFC betting sites have released a futures bet on this potential matchup and you might be surprised with the listed odds.
In UFC’s pound for pound rankings, Jon Jones has a chokehold on the top spot while Israel Adesanya comes in ranked at #8. Although they’re both in the Top 10 of the P4P rankings, and world champions, Bovada has their odds significantly far apart:
Israel Adesanya (+375)
Jon Jones (-550)
As you can see, and to the surprise of some, Jon Jones is a massive betting favorite. He offers no betting value at all. With that said, Adesanya at +375 odds is worthy of a flier due to being a P4P ranked fighter, a world champ, and undefeated in the UFC.
Israel Adesanya a Rare Underdog
Adesanya (17-0, 7-0 UFC) has taken the UFC by storm since joining the promotion at the beginning of 2018. He’s has seven bouts inside the octagon and, at times, has looked like the second coming of Anderson Silva. In fact, he easily beat Silva nine months ago.
Last month at UFC 243, Adesanya captured the UFC middleweight title after defeating former champ Robert Whittaker via 2nd round TKO. It was a fantastic win as Adesanya beat Whittaker at his own game. Despite being the challenger, Adesanya was the favorite over Whittaker.
Since debuting with the UFC almost two years ago, Adesanya has been the betting favorite in all seven of his fights. He was set to defend his title against the #1 contender Paulo Costa in early 2020, but the challenger suffered an injury and will most likely miss the fight. Nevertheless, Israel was a -170 favorite over Costa (+140).
Speaking of the Whittaker fight, Adesanya opened as a +160 underdog before closing at -227. That’s a massive shift in odds. Unfortunately for the loyal fans of Israel Adesanya, I don’t see his opening odds of +375 in a fantasy showdown against Jon Jones shifting to where he’s the favorite. He’s basically a 4-to-1 underdog.
Another Fight With Jones as a Big Favorite
Jones has been with the UFC for over 11 years and has stepped inside the octagon 21 times with a record of 19-1, 1 NC. His lone loss was to Matt Hamill due to illegal elbows otherwise he would’ve won that fight.
Other than his first two bouts in the UFC, Jones has been a betting favorite in every fight. His first UFC bout in August 2008 saw Jones close as a +160 underdog against Andre Gusmao. His second UFC fight saw him close as a +135 underdog against Stephan Bonnar. Jones won both of those fights via unanimous decision.
Although Jones has opened as a massive -550 favorite, it’s not the first time he’s opened that high. In fact, he has other fights with higher opening odds. His last contest against Thiago Santos in July saw Jones open as a -850 favorite.
In seven other fights, Jones has opened as a -600 or higher betting favorite. His largest opening line came in September 2012 when Jones opened as a -925 favorite over Vitor Belfort. He closed above the -1000 threshold.
Jones has been a -1000 favorite or higher on three occasions. His largest closing odds came against Chael Sonnen in April 2013 when he closed as a -1100 favorite. That fight also saw the largest shift in odds as Jones opened as a -600 favorite.
More recently, Jones went from a -500 opening line against Anthony Smith eight months ago to a -900 closing line.
I don’t expect a massive movement in Jones favor for a showdown against Adesanya. If anything, I can see the disparity shrinking between these two champions.
For this fight to even take place, a weight will have to be agreed upon. Currently, Adesanya fights at 185 pounds and Jones fights at 205 pounds. Israel is acting like he has the control over this fight and is declaring that Jones would have to come down in weight to fight him.
If Jones were to make any move in weight, it would most likely be up to heavyweight to take on fighters like Stipe Miocic or Daniel Cormier. The Cormier fight would be a trilogy bout as these two have become bitter rivals over the years.
Despite the weight class debate, Adesanya has already laid the grounds for when and where he wants this fight to take place:
“2021 Raiders Stadium. I already said if he wants to fight me now, he has to come to 185, come see the champ. I don’t really need him for my career to be great. He needs me because he has no one else to fight. What’s the big fight for him now?”
With the Oakland Raiders set to move to Las Vegas in 2020, having a fight of this magnitude at their newly constructed football stadium in 2021 is a brilliant idea. Both fighters will still be in their primes as Jones would be 34 and Adesanya would be 32 if they fought in 2021.
As of now, I don’t see this fight taking place. Let’s revisit this next year after Adesanya clears out the middleweight division and Jones is starving for a huge payday.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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