UFC 232: Jones vs. Gustafsson II Handicapping Tips and Betting Picks
Where/Venue: The Forum
Where/Location: Inglewood, California
When: Saturday, December 29, 2018
UFC 232 will take place this weekend and it has been a complete cluster to get to this point.
The event has been moved from Las Vegas, Nevada to Inglewood, California at the Forum.
This is going to be our biggest event of the year and we have a ton of plays that we like from this card!
Let’s not waste a lot of time, let’s jump right in and find some winners for the final UFC card of 2018.
UFC 232 Fight Card
|UFC 232: Jones vs. Gustafsson 2|
|Fighter A||Record||Odds||Fighter B||Record||Odds|
|Alexander Gustafsson||18-4||235||vs.||Jon Jones||22-1||-255|
|Amanda Nunes||16-4||230||vs.||Cristiane Justino||20-1||-235|
|Carlos Condit||30-12||160||vs.||Michael Chiesa||13-4||-167|
|Corey Anderson||11-4||130||vs.||Ilir Latifi||14-5||-141|
|Alex Volkanovski||18-1||148||vs.||Chad Mendes||18-4||-149|
|Andrei Arlovski||27-17||148||vs.||Walt Harris||11-7||-152|
|Megan Anderson||7-3||133||vs.||Cat Zingano||10-3||-140|
|Douglas Andrade||25-2||263||vs.||Petr Yan||10-1||-265|
|BJ Penn||16-12||420||vs.||Ryan Hall||6-1||-480|
|Andre Ewell||14-4||100||vs.||Nathaniel Wood||14-3||-102|
|Bevon Lewis||6-0||-102||vs.||Uriah Hall||13-9||-107|
|Siyar Bahadurzada||24-6||128||vs.||Curtis Millender||16-3||-142|
|Brian Kelleher||19-9||148||vs.||Montel Jackson||6-1||-149|
UFC 232 Featured Handicapping Selection
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson
The event was originally scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, as it has every New Year’s Eve weekend since 2005, however, due to a questionable drug test from Main Event competitor Jon Jones, has forced the admin of the UFC to make a tough decision of moving the event.
If you read social media or open up any of the news media outlet articles that walk the line of stretching the truth, you would be led to believe that Jon Jones had more steroids in his system, however, that is not the case.
USADA found that Jones had a very small amount of oral turinabol in his system, the equivalent of one-50 millionth of a grain of salt! Think about that, we are talking about something so minuscule that you wouldn’t be able to see it with the normal human eye.
That being said, with the findings taking place so close to the Christmas Holiday, there would have been no means for the Nevada State Athletic Commission to hold a meeting to discuss the findings and therefore would not have been able to license Jones for the fight.
With Jones and Gustafsson potentially being pulled from the card to keep the event in Las Vegas, the pay per view numbers would have been extremely low and it forced their hands into moving the event. UFC President Dana White contacted the California State Athletic, which agreed to serve as the licensing commission, and move the event to the Forum in Inglewood, California.
This will be the second time that Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson have met inside the octagon. The first fight took place on September 21, 2013 at UFC 165, where Jones won a very questionable Unanimous Decision. Gustafsson was without a doubt Jones’s toughest opposition and many people, including myself, felt that Gustafsson actually won that fight.
Jones has not fought in over 18-months due to his last suspension. In his last fight, Jones went 3 rounds with current UFC dual-division champion, Daniel Cormier. Cormier is the current UFC Heavyweight and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and Jones won that fight but was later overturned and considered a no contest due to Jones testing positive for enhancing performance drugs.
Since the last time these two fought, Jones has only fought 4 times, against Cormier two times, Ovince St. Preux and Glover Teixeira. Jones won each of those fights, now has a 22-1 record and will now look to get back on track with a tough opponent in Gustafsson.
Gustafsson is 18-4 overall and enters the fight on a 2 fight win streak. Gustafsson has fought 5 times since his last fight with Jones and has only gone 3-2 overall in those fights. Those two losses were against Daniel Cormier in a tough controversial split decision and a 1st round KO at the hands of Anthony Johnson.
The bottom line here, it is very difficult to measure how Jon Jones will come back with all the drama surrounding this fight. In my opinion, Jones is the greatest fighter to ever step inside the octagon however his career and legacy will always be questioned as he has been so closely tied to drama, drug abuse and life on the wild side.
In this particular fight, I expect Jones will push the pace of the fight much harder and try to end this fight early. He already knows that Gustafsson has the ability to go 5 rounds with him and will most likely look to take Jones into deep waters.
I’ve read it countless times this week about how “Cage Rust” will play an important role with Jones as he hasn’t fought since July 2017 and each time I read it, I shake my head and wonder if these so-called handicappers actually do their research because Gustafsson hasn’t fought since May 2017, which is 2 months longer away from the cage than Jones!
Listen, if you’ve been around the sport for as long as I have and you have and have been in the industry for as long as I have, you know when the UFC is building on something and this one is screaming out! Ignore all the stats, ignore all the fancy numbers, ignore everything and just think of one thing! Jon Jones is the money fight for the UFC right now, that they are seriously lacking. There are certain fighters that bring in the pay per view numbers and boost a card’s overall numbers and Jones is one of those fighters.
To make it even more obvious, they moved an entire card from Las Vegas, Nevada to Inglewood, California on less than a week notice because of that one fighter. Now, do you really think they are going to put Jones in there, in a fight that he will lose? Let’s look at both options. If he loses, there is no reason to continue the talk of the greatest fighter of all time because he will be 1-1 vs Gustafsson. But what happens if he wins?
Well, then you have the fight that everyone is talking about! Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier III for the UFC Heavyweight Championship! Yes, I said Heavyweight because I don’t think we will ever see Cormier cut down again to 205lbs so Jones will need to move up in weight. That fight alone will bring in Conor McGregor type numbers and the UFC knows it. No question about it, they want Jones vs. Cormier to happen and make those ESPN numbers look mighty fine to start out the 2019 year.
I think Jones will win this fight. I think Jones will be dominant in this fight. I think Jones will make a complete impression of how talented he is as a fighter and he will move on to fight Daniel Cormier in one of the biggest fights in UFC history!
Jone Jones -255 for 3.5 units
UFC 232 Additional Handicapping Selections
Curtis Millender -143 over Siyar Bahadurzada for 3 units
I am really impressed by Curtis Millender. Millender’s striking was really nice on his UFC debut against Thiago Silva, who has some of the best striking in the welterweight division. He then came back and looked rather impressive against Max Griffin, winning a unanimous decision. Now, he faces a Siyar Bahadurzada, who likes to stand up and let his hands go. I look for Millender to utilize his 6-inch reach advantage from the outside and pick Bahadurzada apart.
Cris Cyborg -235 over Amanda Nunes for 2.5 units
Cyborg is completely on a different level and as you’ve heard time and time again, there are levels to this game. Nunes is a great 135 lb fighter but when you move up to the featherweight division, you’re talking about a whole different ball game. Cyborg will have an enormous size advantage in this fight and knowing that she is fighting a much smaller opponent, means she can get in close and not really have as much worry about the one punch KO. Cyborg wins this one late in the 3rd round.
Ilir Latifi -141 over Corey Anderson for 2.5 units
Latifi is one of the most underlooked fighters in the UFC. If you go back to 2015, Latifi’s only loss came against Ryan Bader in a fight where he went in for the takedown and got caught by a knee. Other than that loss, he has gone 5-1 in his last 6 fights and is one fighter that can match Corey Anderson’s wrestling. Latifi should be able to control this fight and get the late 3rd round stoppage by KO.
Cat Zingano -140 over Megan Anderson for 2 units
There was a lot of hype surrounding Megan Anderson when she first arrived in the UFC but that flame was quickly extinguished after Holly Holm defeated her. Anderson has never really looked like someone that I was impressed with and it appeared on paper that her size was something that the UFC was looking for to compete against Cyborg. I think Zingano will win the striking and take this fight to the ground, where she will eventually control Anderson and get the win.
Petr Yan -265 over Douglas Andrade for 2 units
Petr Yan is truly something special. He has some of the best striking in the UFC’s bantamweight division and if the fight goes to the ground, he will be perfectly happy and capable of defending the BJJ game of Andrade. Yan is just getting started and I look for big things from him in 2019. This will be a 2 unit play on Petr Yan over Douglas Andrade.
BJ Penn +420 over Ryan Hall for 1 unit
First off, this a complete shot in the dark but I think it is a fair pick for 1 unit. Ryan Hall has a great ground game. Probably the best in the UFC’s Lightweight Division but his level of competition is really questionable. He has fought Gray Maynard in a fight where both were afraid to engage each other and he fought Artem Lobov, who has no ground game but he still couldn't submit him. I just don't see him knocking out BJ Penn and I certainly don't think he will submit the BJJ Black Belt, beings no one else has ever been able to do it either. BJ Penn is definitely worth the risk of 1 unit here to get back 4-1 money!