The next UFC main event is an intriguing Light Heavyweight matchup at UFC on Versus 2 on August 1st, between Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko and Jon “Bones” Jones. These two fighters could not be more different, but they both have the same goal of moving up the LHW ladder with the hopes of a title shot down the road. The road, however, is a little bit longer for the 23-year-old Jones, compared to the 39-year-old Matyushenko.
Fans new to the UFC and MMA may not know that Matyushenko already had a title shot in the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division. Back in the fall of 2001 he lost a…, we’ll say uneventful, unanimous decision to the champ Tito Ortiz. He followed up that loss with a win over Lil Nog outside the UFC. The Janitor’s return to the UFC was at the Heavyweight division, where he made a dent with wins over Travis Wiuff and Pedro Rizzo. But a loss to Andrei Arlovski knocked him out of the UFC for 6 whole years.
During his time away from the most successful organization in mixed martial arts he piled up 8 straight victories including becoming and defending the IFL Light Heavyweight Championship. He fought Lil Nog for the 2nd time in his career on an Affliction card, losing by KO. Despite the loss he was scooped up by the UFC after Affliction folded as an organization. The Janitor has returned to his winning ways.
Matyushenko has ripped off 3 straight decision victories in the UFC, over Jason Lambert, Igor Pakrajac, and Eliot Marshall, improving his overall MMA record to an impressive 24-4. And a week from Sunday The Janitor will get his toughest challenge since his return to the UFC, a win vs. Jones (already a Top 10 LHW according to Boston Throwdown) would vault Matyushenko up the rankings.
Jon Jones will enter the octagon on August 1st at 10-1 (and if you remember the 1 loss was against Matt Hamill because of an illegal blow, but Jones was dominating he fight). Bones is coming off a “Knockout of the Night” performance over Brandon Vera which was just devastating, I honestly don’t think Vera will ever be the same (video below). No upcoming fight scheduled for “The Truth,” by the way.
Jones quickly became one of the most exciting and explosive fighters to watch in any weight class in the UFC. Match maker Joe Silva and Dana White are clearly taking their time with this guy, his 5 UFC fights: Gusmao, Bonnar, O’Brien, Hamill, Vera. Some solid fighters in there, but no one in the Top 10 maybe not even Top 15. If Jones can get past the veteran Matyushenko you would have to believe they would match him up with a Franklin, Couture, Griffin, or Nogueira.
When this bout was first announced I was a bit disappointed that Jones wasn’t fighting one of the guys I mentioned above, but the more I thought about it, it made sense. The Janitor is no pushover, he also deserves a shot to prove he’s a legit contender. And at 23, Jones isn’t going anywhere. I like Jones in this fight, but Matyushenko always makes his opponent work. Could this one actually go to decision? 12 of the Janitor’s 28 fights have while just 2 of Jones’s 11 have gone the distance.
Enjoy the fight on Sunday, August 1st. It’s live and free on Versus.
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