Before I make my UFC 187 predictions, this is my reaction to Jon Jones getting stripped of the title and suspended indefinitely: FINALLY!
I don't know Jon Jones personally, but his public image is almost as bad as Samson's from the Bible. The media reports of the greatest MMA fighter of our generation (and possibly ever) paint the portrait of a young man with a character that fails to live up to his talent. The alleged hit-and-run disaster in Albuquerque is simply the latest in a string of high-profile debacles, some of which are detailed by Adam Guillen Jr. at MMAMania:
In my personal opinion, Jones should have been stripped of the belt after he refused to defend his title in a "gimme fight" at UFC 151 against a late-replacement, much smaller and older Chael Sonnen (no offense to the "Gangster of West Linn"). His decision (which I still don't understand) put the final nail in the coffin for that PPV and led to its cancellation by Dana White. At least Jones' title should have been taken away after he failed a drug test for cocaine metabolites after beating Daniel Cormier. Unfortunately, when you are a world-famous athlete, you get a free pass to do whatever you want unless you ROYALLY screw up. That being said, it doesn't get much more screwed up than allegedly:
A) Running a red light
B) Hitting a car driven by a 25-year-old PREGNANT woman (whose arm and wrist were broken in the crash. Thank goodness she and her baby weren't killed!)
C) Fleeing the scene on foot, only to return to grab a bag full of cash
D) Oh, and to top it off, having weed in your rental car.
The whole scenario sounds like the plot of a Kevin Hart movie.
At any rate, I am glad that Dana White has finally taken disciplinary action against Jones by stripping him of the title and suspending him indefinitely. If White hadn't done that, I wouldn't watch UFC events anymore. Will I watch Jones fight again if he gets his act together? Sure. But I will continue to root for his opponents if he does come back.
Anyway, here are my predictions for tonight's PPV!
Benavidez vs. Moraga: My gut tells me to go with Benavidez via decision.
Winner: Joseph Benavidez
Browne vs. Arlovski: Other than a fluke loss against Bigfoot Silva (due to a torn hamstring) and a surprising upset to Werdum, Browne has been virtually unstoppable. I see him knocking out Arlovski in Round 1 to finally earn a title shot.
Winner: Travis Browne
Cerrone vs. Makdessi: This is a no-brainer. Cerrone is an elite lightweight on a 7-fight win streak and Makdessi is a replacement for an injured Khabib Nurmagomedov. I believe that "Cowboy" will make quick work of "The Bull" with a first-round submission.
Winner: Donald Cerrone
Weidman vs. Belfort: If these guys were the same age, I would consider it an even fight. However, Belfort is 38-years-old, hasn't fought since 2013, and isn't on TRT anymore. In contrast, Weidman is in his prime and excels at all three aspects of MMA: striking, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu, as we have seen from his destruction of Anderson Silva and his five-round war with Lyoto Machida. Weidman will probably weather Belfort's opening blitz and submit him in Round 4 after "The Phenom" gasses, retaining his title in this "changing of the guard" match.
Winner: Chris Weidman
Johnson vs. Cormier: Again, age is the deciding factor here. If D.C. was about six years younger, he would probably have gone "suplex city" on Johnson for all five rounds with his Olympic-level wrestling. However, at 36, I see him losing his second bid for the light heavyweight by title to Father Time and "Rumble's" brutal knockout power. I don't see this going past Round 2, sadly.
Winner: Anthony Johnson