Jon “Bones” Jones steps back into the octagon on April 23, with his bout against Ovince Saint Preux headlining UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the next pay-per-view card on the fight promotion’s docket. Jones, who is coming off a suspension and was stripped of his belt by UFC for his involvement in a hit-and-run accident, was pitted in a rematch with Daniel Cormier, but that fight has been postponed after Cormier pulled out with a foot injury.
While Jones insists he’s not taking Saint Preux lightly and that his upcoming fight for the interim light heavyweight title is not just a tune-up for Cormier, bookmakers installed the one-loss fighter as the substantial favorite. Early gamblers have been laying the price with Jones, pushing him from -360 chalk at MGM Resorts to -450. He’s listed at -500 at Caesars Palace. Underdog bettors can get Cormier for juicy 4-to-1 odds if they want to take a shot against Jones. Taking shots against big favorites, by the way, hasn’t been a bad way to go in the UFC recently.
For comparison’s sake, Jones was about -340 favorite for his rematch with Cormier, with the latter priced at +260.
Here’s a quick look at the odds and betting patterns for the rest of UFC’s PPV schedule leading up to the big one, UFC 200, also in Las Vegas:
UFC 198 (Brazil): Werdum vs. Miocic
5 Dimes has Fabricio Werdum priced as the -170 favorite to successfully defend his heavyweight title in his home country of Brazil. Stipe Miocic gets +150 as the dog. The line represents a move in Miocic’s direction, as the betting site posted an opening number of -185/+160.
UFC 199 (Los Angeles): Rockhold vs. Weidman
Chris Weidman looks to avenge the only loss of his career in this middleweight title bout. Luke Rockhold’s fourth-round TKO of Weidman in December was enough to convince the betting market that he’s deserving of favorite status. Weidman was a -140 favorite in the first fight, but is a +165 dog this time around, with Rockhold bettors required to lay close to 2-to-1 odds (-190).
UFC 200 (Las Vegas): McGregor vs. Diaz
Nate Diaz shocked the MMA world with his second-round submission of Conor McGregor in March. Diaz was a 4-to-1 dog in that spot. The rematch, though, is priced as a coin-flip, -110 each way, a number that has to have McGregor backers salivating, considering they had to lay 5-to-1 in the first go-round. This fight is set for the brand-new T-Mobile Arena.