Weekend Warrior: Title Twin Bill Fronts UFC 247
As two of the sport’s most dominant champions, Jon Jones and Valentina Shevchenko have grown accustomed to clearing the hurdles placed before them with room to spare. Their respective title reigns are once again being put to the test.
Arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time, Jones will defend the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight crown against the undefeated Dominick Reyes in the UFC 247 headliner on Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston. Meanwhile, the fate of the UFC women’s flyweight championship hangs in the balance in the co-main event, as Shevchenko risks her title against Katlyn Chookagian.
Cover Photo: NurPhoto / Contributor (Getty Images)
Jon Jones. Photo: Sean M. Haffey (Getty Images)
Jones has rattled off three consecutive victories since his technical knockout of archrival Daniel Cormier was overturned to a no-contest due to a failed drug test in 2017. The 32-year-old Jackson-Wink MMA representative last appeared at UFC 239, where he appeared vulnerable at times in a split decision victory over Thiago Santos on July 6. Jones wields a resume that rivals anyone in the sport, with wins over Cormier, Alexander Gustafsson (twice), Glover Teixeira, Vitor Belfort, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Quinton Jackson, Mauricio Rua, and Ryan Bader. He has compiled a 19-1 record since joining the UFC roster more than a decade ago—a December 2009 disqualification loss to Matt Hamill representing the only blemish.
Spawned by the Cage Combat Academy in California, Reyes on Oct. 18 vaulted into the No. 1 contender seat by knocking out former middleweight champion Chris Weidman in the UFC on ESPN 6 main event. “The Devastator” has thus far lived up to his moniker, as he has delivered nine of his 12 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission. Reyes, 30, played football at Stony Brook University in New York, where he was a two-time all-conference selection in the Colonial Athletic Association.
UFC 246 “Jones vs. Reyes”—which streams live to ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT—will also feature a featherweight clash pitting Mirsad Bektic against Dan Ige and a pair of heavyweight battles, as Juan Adams meets Justin Tafa and Derrick Lewis confronts Ilir Latifi. ESPN (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) and UFC Fight Pass (6:15 ET/3:15 PT) will share coverage of the seven-fight undercard.
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Dominick Reyes. Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)
Elsewhere on the combat sports docket, the Invicta Fighting Championships promotion makes its 2020 debut with Invicta 39 on Friday at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas. Jinh Yu Frey will defend her atomweight championship in the five-round headliner, as she rematches Ashley Cummins—a woman she defeated by unanimous decision in July 2017. The event streams to UFC Fight Pass at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.