The UFC is off this week, and a number of promotions are taking advantage of the air-time, including Unified MMA with Unified 46 on Friday. In the card’s headline bout, Jamelle Jones is challenging Chris Larsen for the Unified heavyweight championship, and he’s doing it his way.
Jones (12-8-0) has been, as he describes it, on the “B-Side” of MMA for so long, consisting of appearances on Dana White’s Contender Series, The Ultimate Fighter, and most recently the PFL. A light heavyweight fighting up a class, Jones knows he will be at a size disadvantage against Larsen (7-2-0) who has successfully defended the Unified heavyweight title twice, but he is up for the challenge.
Jamelle Jones is Ready to Fight Chris Larsen at Unified MMA 46
“The magnitude of this fight is huge,” he told All Access MMA earlier this month. “Not even my friends and my family even know, man. You definitely have to be a warrior to do what we do, and I’m doing it to the highest, going into another country, fighting a man for his belt in his hometown who is a beast. So, I’m excited… I’m not really there to hate on him, I’m there to do my job and fight.”
“I plan on taking care of business, getting this championship. I know it’s not going to be easy. I know it’s a big task, strong guy, but I’m up for it. I think there’s levels to this, and we’ll see if he’s on mine.”
There are levels in combat sports, and there are weight classes to help manage competitive advantages. Standing an even 6’0”, Jones will also be giving up a serious scale advantage to the 6’4” Larsen.
“I consider myself a light heavyweight now,” he continued in the interview. “I’m walking around really really lean. I’m not really gonna say all that, but I’m pretty lean. I could make light heavyweight, so I’m lighter than I am at PFL. So yeah, Chris Larsen’s gonna have me by 35 pounds.”
Jamelle Jones vs Chris Larsen Fight Preview
Entering the fight inside the sold-out River Cree Resort and Casino in Enoch, Canada the momentum also favors the Canadian, Larsen. He has won consecutive contests, both title defenses against Grayson Wells, and both in the first round. Across from him will be Jones who has lost his last two appearances, both in the PFL where he was recalibrating his approach and adjusting to the heavyweight class.
“My whole plan – last year I won a regional title at CFFC – I was on a rampage,” he told our Ryan Jarrell in the same interview. “I want to go to the UFC.
“My whole game plan was to focus on fighting, focus on actually winning, focus on performance, and not cutting weight. I was cutting weight and having adrenaline dumps and I wasn’t doing it right. I didn’t have the proper meal prep and I was getting paid regional pay. So, I really couldn’t make 205 correctly, so I was like ‘I’ll just go heavyweight’. I won a regional heavyweight, but I told myself that if I got to the UFC, I was going to use the [Performance Institute] and go down to light heavyweight, and I was gonna do what I wanted to do and I was going to make my mark at my weight class.
With that being said, after I won the belt I signed with PFL. I signed with them for heavyweight, and I did two seasons with these guys. It was phenomenal, and they treated me good, but that’s where I really found out that those guys are really big. Their power is unforgiving, and I’m better at light heavyweight. I think I’m elite. I’m really really good right now.”
Weight Will Be a Factor to Watch for Jamelle Jones at Unified MMA 46
It is important for a fighter to know their body, and working so hard to cut weight can put them at as much of a disadvantage, or even more so, than fighting up a class. In three fights at heavyweight in the PFL, Jones is 1-2 with early TKO finishes in both losses. If you ask him, however, the real test will be about heart and whether Larsen can match him.
“I think what’s going to be tested is his soul,” in discussing how he sees the fight playing out. “Who’s gonna break?” Jones says it won’t be him.
“100-percent finish. I’m not playing no games. I’m there to execute. I’m here to show levels, and I’m here to show that strength and size doesn’t mean anything… I’m ready, man, I could fight today. I’m gonna be the smaller guy, I’m going to be the lighter guy – I don’t know, we’re going to test it out. I get down like he gets down, so let’s see how it goes. I’m there to execute… I’m gonna come there and put on a show and rile up some Canadians.”
Watch Unified MMA 46
When: Friday, September 23, 2022
Start Time: 10:30 p.m. EST / 7:30 p.m. PST
Where: River Cree Resort and Casino – Enoch, Canada