The injury wheel never stops spinning, even for a moment. Or, at least I think it's the injury wheel. Reports, at the moment are pretty unclear. For one reason or another UFC light heavyweight newcomer Jonathan Wilson has withdrawn from his bout against Corey Anderson, set to take place next weekend on December 6th at UFC 181. In his place will be a middleweight newcomer, moving up to 205 for the short notice fight. The UFC announced the signing of Justin Jones on Monday, but did not give a reason for Wilson's removal from the card. So...
Who is Justin Jones?
"Lazy Bones" as he is also known, is a 27-year old middleweight training out of Victory MMA alongside Toby Imada, Shannon Gugerty, and Rad Martinez. Jones is only 3-0 as a professional, having started his pro career back in January of this year. Still, it wouldn't be quite fair to say that he has less than a year of cage time, as Jones kicked off his amateur career in early 2012. Still it's an amazingly short turnaround, from pro debut to UFC contract, and shows just how quickly American prospects are getting scooped up by the UFC. In his career so far, Jones has wins over fellow prospects John Hackleman Jr. and Cordell Williams. So, while it's not a long record, it's about as good as a fighter could do over 3 pro bouts.
What you should expect:
Justin Jones is certainly a decent athlete, and has the hallmarks of being a promising prospect, but he's really really early in his development as a fighter. Much of his takedown game seems based around power slams and throws from bodylock positions. On the ground, he can land some decent ground and pound, but seems to focus mostly on keeping a position and landing available shots, rather than looking to advance and find submissions. The focus of his game, however, is his pocket striking. Jones likes to sit down in the pocket and just wing hooks at his opponents. He throws powerful kicks from the outside, and grinds in the clinch, but mostly he likes to just stand and throw bombs, winging hooks to the body and head.
What that means for his debut:
Much like Wilson before him, Jones has a puncher's chance, just because Anderson has yet to show any comfort in the striking game. Unfortunately, unlike Wilson, not only is he giving up a stylistic advantage, Jones will be giving up a size advantage as well. He's not small, nor does he appear weak, but at 5' 11", he's still going to be very undersized at light heavyweight. And facing a power wrestler like Anderson, that spells bad news. Also, Jones doesn't seem to be much of one for footwork, preferring to just plant and let his hands go, so he's pretty primed to be taken down by a well timed shot.
Normally I'd show some recent fight footage here, but almost all of Jones' (save a grainy amateur debut) has been pulled from the internet.