Jon “Bones” Jones (-545) – UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Profile: Jones (16-1) is fresh off a unanimous-decision victory in his third title defense against former teammate “Suga” Rashad Evans, which was seen by many as the biggest test of his young career. The 24-year-old Jones remains a freak of nature who is almost impossible to match up with due to a monstrous 84.5-inch reach, which is the longest in the history of the UFC. He has yet to be taken down by an opponent in his pro MMA career and does not look to have many legitimate challengers left in his division with an anticipated move to heavyweight likely coming within the next few years. Perhaps his most impressive trait is the fact that he has stayed humble throughout his rise to the top despite being the youngest UFC champion ever. Dan “Hendo” Henderson (+375) – Challenger & Former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Profile: Henderson (29-8) is a living legend of MMA, a true warrior who showed his heart and determination in winning arguably the best fight of 2011 against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 139 last November 19. Not a bad way to return to the UFC for the third time, parlaying that success into another shot at the organization’s light heavyweight championship. The 41-year-old Henderson has won four straight bouts and shown no signs of slowing down after previous wins over Fedor Emelianenko, Rafael Cavalcante and Renato Sobral while fighting in Strikeforce. He earned the Strikeforce light heavyweight title with a third-round TKO of Cavalcante but failed in his previous three opportunities to win a championship. Henderson lost his chance for the Strikeforce middleweight title against Jake Shields before winning the light heavyweight championship and also fell to Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title at UFC 82 and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 75. Opening Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made his opening line for Jones -545, which means he has about an 85 percent chance of winning. Bettors would need to wager $545 to win $100 on Jones compared to Henderson, who is a +375 underdog (bet $100 to win $375), according to Kalikas. Jones has been a comparable heavy favorite in each of his last three title fights since knocking out Rua for the belt at UFC 128 a little more than a year ago. He is a nightmare matchup for any light heavyweight because of his height and reach. At 6-foot-4, Jones will have the same 5-inch height advantage against Henderson as he did against Evans. Henderson may be a better wrestler, but that will mean nothing if he is unable to take Jones to the ground like the rest of his previous opponents. The underdog has been in this same role in his last two fights and won, although the competition has never been this fierce. Jones is a beast who has yet to reach his potential while Henderson will need to channel Rocky Balboa to pull off the big upset.
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