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UFC: Jon Jones vs Francis Ngannou Odds Analysis

Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou posing for photoshoots

The UFC’s heavyweight division may have a new look with an injection of one of the best fighters of all time, Jon “Bones” Jones. The current light heavyweight champ has hinted at moving to heavyweight several times over the past couple of years, feuding with Brock Lesnar, current champion Stipe Miocic and now most recently Francis “The Predator” Ngannou.

Online sportsbook Bovada has released odds on what would be a gigantic super-fight and has listed the hard-hitting Ngannou as the -160 favorite with the light heavyweight champ, Jones, coming back at +130.

Francis Ngannou vs Jon Jones Betting Odds
Francis Ngannou-160
Jon Jones+130

Odds as of May 15 at Bovada

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Jones vs Ngannou Odds Analysis

Jon Jones as an underdog? You have to go back more than a decade to January 31, 2009, to find the last time that Bones had a plus sign next to his odds. Over 22 career fights in the UFC, Jones has been an underdog twice, in his debut against Andre Gusmao and in the fight I mentioned above, his second fight vs Stephan Bonnar – if we only knew then what we know now, we would be rich by making the books weep. Moving up to heavyweight poses many questions, though I still thought that Jones would be a slight favorite.

After losing a heavyweight title fight and the match that followed, Francis Ngannou is riding a four-fight winning streak, all knockouts that required just a combined 2:42 to accomplish. The Predator is known as the most powerful puncher currently in the heavyweight division and perhaps the most powerful of all time. It’s not totally a surprise to see the true 265-pound heavyweight come in as a betting favorite as he needs just one clean shot to shut the lights off on any opponent.

How Will Jones vs Ngannou Play Out?

It is absolutely no secret what Ngannou’s game plan would be heading into this fight: move forward and look to knock Jones out. Francis’ wrestling game, or lack thereof, was exposed when he fought Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight strap just over two years ago. But when the Predator is able to get into a striking exchange, it is almost always bad news for his opponent as some of the most devastating knockouts in UFC history have come from Ngannou.

With the danger that Ngannou poses on the feet and his questionable wrestling attributes, one would have to assume that Bones would lean on his grappling skills to score a win in this bout. That said, Jon loves to test himself in his opponents’ best areas – when he fought Thiago Santos, a decorated Muay Thai fighter, he elected to get into a kickboxing match for five hard rounds. Jones has a very long reach and uses his range better than anyone else in the UFC and what a feather in his cap it would be for him to stand with Francis for five rounds.

Overall, this is a fight that many will be begging for, especially as Jones is a lightning rod of criticism – all the talent in the world in the Octagon but a bit of a screwup outside the cage, with drinking and driving offenses, a hit and run and problems with performance-enhancing drugs. Ngannou sends shivers down people’s spines when he lands his powerful but sometimes sloppy strikes. What a fight!