UFC 247 Preview

UFC 247 takes us to the Lone Star State for its 2nd PPV instalment of the year. We’ve got title fights to look forward to, some heavyweight action and a tasty featherweight fight to sink our teeth into. That’s just the main card alone. 

In the Main event of the evening pound for pound king Jon Jones (25-1-0)  takes on number three Light Heavyweight contender Dominick Reyes(12-0-0). Reyes is coming into this bout high on confidence, he is unbeaten in his MMA career and he is coming off a first round destruction on former Middleweight champion Chris Wieldman. He also holds notable wins over Volkan Oezdemir, Ovince St. Preux and Jared Cannonier. Fighting out of California he will be looking to bring his Kickboxing/Wrestling style in to try to claim what would be his first major MMA title.

He believes he can get it done, “I’m Dominick Reyes, I was born in Apple Valley, California. My upbringing was completely different than anybody he’s ever faced. I’m a lifelong athlete playing multiple sports — baseball, football, wrestling, track — and I excelled in all of them and now I’m excelling in MMA.”

The man standing opposite Reyes, defending his title is Jon ‘Bones’ Jones. Never short of any controversy, Jones’ actions outside the cage have caused him the most trouble. In the Octagon, he has been an unstoppable force ever since he started with the UFC way back in 2008. A list of fighters that he has beaten: Ryan Bader, Lyoto Machida, Victor Belfort, Rashad Evans, Alexander Gustafsson (x2) and Daniel Cormier. More recently he has picked up wins over Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos. His sole loss on his record[vs. Matt Hamill], many say, should not be counted as a loss. With a win over Reyes, it would make it 11 title defences for the Jackson/Wink fighter. Speaking about the fight and Reyes Jones didn’t pull any punches. 

“You knocked out Chris Weidman. He’s been knocked out so many times. Good job. “I don’t have to knock out people. The only way you can possibly win this fight is to catch me with a left. We all know that. I could submit you, I could out-wrestle you, I can kickbox you to death. I’m going to get you. I’m going to get you, Dominick. You know it. You’re a one-trick pony. We saw your highlight reel. It was straight left, straight left, straight left.”

“I know nothing about him, honestly,” Jones continued. “I know nothing about him. I see the games that he wants to play with the insults, and I don’t really care. I don’t really care at the end of the day. My job is to destroy this dude and start focusing on 2020. I’m going to have a great 2020, and it’s going to start off by destroying Dominick. I don’t know what I want to do to him. I don’t know if I want to knock him out, choke him out, but oh, dude, I’m going to get him. I’m going to get him. I promise you guys.”

The co-main event pits the number one and number two ranked Flyweights in the UFC. American, Katlyn Chookagian faces up against title holder Valentina Shevchenko. Shevchenko, born in Frunze, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan but fighting out of Lima, Peru will look to make it a hat-trick of title defences. Her quest for a coveted UFC title was not straightforward. After two razor close decision losses to deul champ Amanda Nunes it looked like it was not meant to be for “The Bullet’’. 

UFC then announced a new women Flyweight division and Shevchenko fought former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the vacant title. Victory in that fight brought challengers: Jessica Eye who Shevchenko brutally knocked out and a victory over Liz Carmouche by a one sided decision.

Katlyn Chookagian is no stranger the both Eye and Carmouche. Both of her professional losses came from those exact fighters. Those bumps in the road didn’t set her back all that much. She is currently on a 2 fight win streak picking up wins over high profile fighters like JJ Calderwood, Jeniffer Maia, Irene Aldana and Alexis Davis throughout her 15 fight career so far. The Jersey City naitive, will get her chance to dethrone Shevchenko but it will be no easy task. 

Speaking about the fight Shevchenko stated, “No offense to Katlyn, but all my opponents, everyone, they were thinking before they face me that I didn’t face no one with their style,” Shevchenko said at the UFC 247 press conference Friday in Las Vegas. “This is the point. Katlyn, she’s a well-rounded fighter, good striker and she says she knows ground game. But, it’s fine. It’s OK. I hope that she will bring everything for her, because this is what I want from the fighter, this is what I want from the opponent. “And what I’m going to do is dominate the fight the same way. I will prepare myself in the best shape and do a great job, as this is my mindset. Not to go to the fight just to have fun. No. Only to win. Only the victory is what’s important for me.” 

Kicking off the main card is a Heavyweight showdown between Derrick Lewis and Ilir Latifi, who makes his heavyweight debut. Both guys are heavy hitters this one is sure to bring fireworks to the octagon. In another heavyweight bout two prospects battle it out with New Zealander Justin Tafa (3-1-0) going up against American Juan Adams (5-2-0). Both fighters are coming off losses so they both be looking to get back into the win column. The last fight we talk about on the main card is a Featherweight scrap between Dan Ige (12-2-0) and Mirsad Bektic (13-2-0. Ige is coming into this fight on an impressive 4 fight win streak with two of those wins coming inside the first round. Bektic is looking to turn his fortunes around after a disappointing KO loss to top contender Josh Emmett in his last fight. With a lot of potential upsets on the card, this primer on UFC betting may be of use before putting your bets down.

The prelims offer some interesting bouts.The fights that stand out are bouts like Andrea Lee (11-3-0) who takes on Lauren Murphy (11-4-0) in a flyweight bout. Undefeated Miles Johns (10-0-0) takes on Mario Bautista (7-1-0). Also two former LFA athletes make their UFC debut when Youssef Zalal takes on undefeated Austin Lingo. 

All this  action can be seen on Saturday February 8th. Listen to the SevereMMA podcast for all the breakdown and post fight analysis. Find even more content on our Patreon page at patreon.com/severemmapodcast. 

Ian O'Neill is a Kilkenny man living in Canada. You can catch him Twitter most of the time talking all things MMA. Follow me on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma.