104°F
weather icon Clear

Preview and picks for UFC 232

Updated December 28, 2018 - 8:08 pm

A breakdown of the fights on the main card of UFC 232 on Saturday at The Forum in Inglewood, California, with picks from the Review-Journal’s Adam Hill and Heidi Fang. The pay-per-view begins at 7 p.m.:

Jon Jones (23-1) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (18-4)

Class: For the vacant light heavyweight title

Line: Jones minus 290

Storyline: The first fight in 2013 was almost comically marketed using Gustafsson’s height as a reason that he could pose a problem for Jones, who has looked almost invincible at times. But then they got inside the cage and the length of Gustafsson did prove to present a massive challenge for Jones. Gustafsson used his reach and high-level boxing skills to put Jones on his heels for most of the first three rounds and consistently land punches. Gustafsson’s success in that fight hasn’t been discussed much this week because so much attention has been focused on the relocation of the event from T-Mobile Arena and the irregularities in Jones’ drug tests. Jones hasn’t fought since July 2017 because of a failed test, but has proven that he can win title fights after long layoffs. Gustafsson hasn’t fought since May 2017 because of injury. He poses a difficult style matchup, but Jones shouldn’t be caught off guard this time.

Hill’s pick: Jones by decision

Fang’s pick: Jones by decision

———

Cris “Cyborg” Justino (20-1, 1 No Contest) vs. Amanda Nunes (16-4)

Class: For Justino’s women’s featherweight title

Line: Justino minus 250

Storyline: Justino finally gets an opponent with the potential to give her a tough fight. That’s evidenced by a betting line of minus 250 after she was more than a minus 1,000 favorite in 11 of her past 12 bouts. Nunes, the bantamweight champion moving up in weight and seeking to become a two-division champion, has plenty of power and is particularly dangerous early in fights. Expect her to be aggressive early in trying to land a fight-altering blow. Justino has won 20 straight fights since dropping her professional debut. She has unrivaled power in the female ranks and rarely misses an opportunity to swarm a reeling opponent.

Hill’s pick: Justino by third-round knockout

Fang’s pick: Justino by second-round knockout

———

Carlos Condit (27-5) vs. Michael Chiesa (14-4)

Class: Welterweight

Line: Chiesa minus 160

Storyline: Condit has lost four straight and seven of nine, but he’s still a gifted all-around fighter. Chiesa is more of a wrestler and is making his debut at 170 pounds after fighting at 155 throughout his career. He’s great at taking his opponent’s back and looking for chokes. Ten of his 14 wins have been by submission, and he’s never won a fight by knockout.

Hill’s pick: Chiesa by third-round submission

Fang’s pick: Chiesa by decision

———

Ilir Latifi (15-5, 1 No Contest) vs. Corey Anderson (11-4)

Class: Light heavyweight

Line: Latifi minus 140

Storyline: Both fighters rely on their wrestling. If they negate each other in that skill, the advantage probably goes to Latifi. He is strong, with quick hands and a lot of power. Anderson has struggled when he can’t get his wrestling game going. Latifi should neutralize it for the most part.

Hill’s pick: Latifi by decision

Fang’s pick: Latifi by second-round knockout

———

Chad Mendes (18-4) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (18-1)

Class: Featherweight

Line: Mendes minus 150

Storyline: There is a good chance this will be the fight of the night. These are two similar fighters, except Volkanovski is younger and more aggressive. Both are wrestlers with a ton of power in their punches. Mendes has a lethal right hand that he can deliver from several angles. Volkanovski is constantly pressuring and looking for big overhand punches and takedown opportunities. He has 15 straight wins and is an elite prospect at featherweight.

Hill’s pick: Volkanovski by decision

Fang’s pick: Mendes by second-round submission

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Covering The Cage Videos
Dana White signs four fighters to the UFC - Video
Four fighters were put under contract with the UFC following their performances at Dana White's Contender Series on Tuesday night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Contender Series fighters react to being signed to the UFC
After making history as the first batch of winners to all earn contracts following their performances at Dana White's Contender Series, the fighters react to making it to the UFC.
Dana White signs all five winners at Contender Series
For the first time in the three-season history of Dana White's Contender Series, every winning fighter earned a UFC contract. Maki Pitolo, Joe Solecki, Antonio Trocoli, Hunter Azure and Jonathan Pearce impressed the UFC brass and were awarded contracts by the UFC president.
Jones says he was confident he secured a win over Santos at UFC 239 - Video
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones continued his reign by taking a split decision victory over Thiago Santos at UFC 239. He discusses the close call and entertains the idea of a trilogy bout with Daniel Cormier. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 recap: Jones and Nunes retain their titles - VIDEO
Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes both retained their titles at UFC 239. Jones took a decision over Thiago Santos in the main event and Nunes scored a first-round knockout of Holly Holm. Jorge Masvidal also made promotional history on July 6 by scoring a 5-second knockout over Ben Askren. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Amanda Nunes on her win over Holly Holm at UFC 239 - Video
Amanda Nunes talks about continuing her reign as a two-division champion in the UFC after defeating Holly Holm with a head kick in the first round of their title bout at UFC 239. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239: Masvidal makes UFC history with 5-second knockout - Video
Jorge Masvidal discusses his history-making knockout of Ben Askren at UFC 239 and makes his case for a shot at the welterweight title next. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fighters at UFC 239 react to the 7.1 earthquake - Video
Fighters at UFC 239 talk about what they experienced when the 7.1 earthquake was felt in Las Vegas on Friday night. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Ceremonial Weigh-in Staredowns - Video
All fighters competing at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena faced off against each other one last time before their bouts take place. In the main event, Jon Jones will put his light heavyweight belt on the line against Thiago Santos. In the co-main event, Amanda Nunes will look to continue her reign as the women's bantamweight champion when she takes on Holly Holm.
UFC 239: Jon Jones says he wants to make a statement - VIDEO
Prior to UFC 239, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones says he's trying to challenge himself, set his own records to establish his legacy and explains how he's become comfortable with where he is in his career. He will put his title on the line in the main event against Thiago Santos. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Official Weigh-in Results
All 24 fighters competing at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena made weight at the official weigh-in at the New York-New York hotel-casino on Friday. The main event features UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones putting his belt on the line against Thiago Santos. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Preview: Jones vs. Santos
Prior to UFC 239, the Review-Journal's Adam Hill and Heidi Fang break down the main event between Jon Jones and Thiago Santos for the light heavyweight title, the co-main championship tilt between Holly Holm and reigning bantamweight queen Amanda Nunes, and preview a feature bout between Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 media day: Masvidal says he has faced tougher competition than Askren
Ahead of facing rising UFC welterweight Ben Askren, promotional veteran Jorge Masvidal says he's faced tougher opponents in the past. Askren says don't be shocked by his approach to the fight at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 open workouts: Jones thanks fans for support through his dark times
At UFC 239 open workouts, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones thanked fans for their support during his "controversial moments" and says he wants to be more active through 2020. His challenger Thiago Santos says he will "shock the world" on July 6 and be the new division champion. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 open workouts: Holm wants to shock her naysayers
Holly Holm will look to reclaim the UFC women's bantamweight title when she faces two-division champion Amanda Nunes in the co-main event of UFC 239 at the T-Mobile Arena on July 6. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
White: I'm looking for different things on this show - VIDEO
UFC president Dana White spoke with media following the second episode of the third season of his show "Dana White's Contender Series". He explained why he signed the two fighters he did after their performances and discussed the heat he's taking for not signing Brendan Loughnane last week. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC's Francis Ngannou says he never doubted himself after losses - Video
UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou will face Junior dos Santos at UFC on ESPN 3 in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 29 in a bout that could determine the next title contender. After losing in a title bout to Stipe Miocic in 2018, Ngannou says he never doubted himself. He also talks about meeting former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dana White on Contender Series contracts: "I'm looking for killers." - Video
On opening night at the UFC's newest facility, the UFC Apex, the promotion signed Punahele Soriano and Yorgan De Castro to contracts after their performances on Dana White's Contender Series. UFC president Dana White explains why he signed the fighters he did. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC Apex is the promotion's newest cutting-edge facility - VIDEO
The UFC Apex will officially open as Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series kicks off on June 19. Here's a look at what the promotion's newest facility in Las Vegas has to offer. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC President Dana White on the UFC Apex, ESPN deal, when Conor McGregor could return and more - Video
UFC President Dana White gave the Review-Journal an exclusive interview where he spoke about the promotion's new facility, the UFC Apex, their new deal with ESPN, when Conor McGregor may return to the octagon and more. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Shevchenko says defending the UFC flyweight belt is her number one challenge - Video
UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko claimed the vacant title when she defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 last December. She will put the belt on the line for the first time in Chicago, Ill., when she faces Jessica Eye at UFC 238 on June 8. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC title contender Jessica Eye says her move to Las Vegas gives her an edge - Video
Ohio native Jessica Eye says she moved to Las Vegas to get an edge in performance ahead of facing UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 238 in Chicago, Ill., on June 8. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight Videos
THE LATEST
UFC 239 recap — RJ ringside podcast

There have now been a few days to digest the performances of Amanda Nunes and Jon Jones as two of the greatest fighters in UFC history defended their belts at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.

 
UFC 239: Jon Jones escapes Las Vegas with belt

The light heavyweight champion was unable to take control of his main event bout against Thiago Santos, but earned the favor of two of the three judges to earn a split decision.

 
UFC 239: Amanda Nunes turns the tables on Holly Holm

Nunes knocked out Holly Holm with a similar technique to the one that led to Holm’s greatest triumph in the cage on the same card Jorge Masvidal records the fastest knockout in UFC history

 
Preview and picks for UFC 239 in Las Vegas

A breakdown of the fights on the main card of UFC 239 on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena, with picks from the Review-Journal’s Adam Hill and Heidi Fang.