It wouldn't be the return of Jon Jones without some controversy.
Infamously having refused a short-notice opponent change prior to UFC 151, which resulted in the cancellation of that Las Vegas event in 2012, Jones has now led to a second event being pulled from Nevada. This time, however, a loophole-like solution allowed for the card to proceed in a new venue, a new state and, most importantly, under a new athletic commission.
The sudden change of venue will dominate the headlines leading into the event, no doubt wreaking logistical chaos for the promotion, the fans and the fighters competing on the card. This is unfortunate for many reasons, among them being it means potentially overlooking the compelling rematch of Jones' only risky title defense, also considered one of the greatest title fights in the light heavyweight division's history. Alexander Gustafsson lost that unanimous decision to Jones at UFC 165 but won two rounds on two of the judges' scorecards, meaning he was one flipped round away from a massive upset.
The rematch comes five years later, for a title vacated by double champ Daniel Cormier, who could end up rematching Saturday's winner. Setting all that drama and history aside, we're left asking, "Who will win?" The odds are live, and while early market support pushed Jones to be a heavy favorite, his line has begun to retreat during fight week.
Let's examine the matchup and take a side.
Jon Jones (-255) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (+230)
On the tale of the tape, Jon Jones always has had the advantage. A young champion, he usually has faced older, shorter-range fighters who couldn't overcome his range and resiliency. But Gustafsson is the rangiest opponent Jones has faced and is not even a year older. Many believe that Jones' usual advantages being nullified in their first fight showed he is not the dominant force his win streak suggests; the advantages are still there, just too slight to hang your hat on.