The 2014 calendar for UFC has already become a very interesting one because of the rather sudden absence of not just Georges St. Pierre, but Anderson Silva, too. The sport, to an extent, is reeling and anticipating what is likely an inevitable (if hopefully temporary) drop-off in popularity without its two most prominent fighters. Anthony Johnson UFCHowever, one of the early 2014 events that has been getting significant attention in the wake of the St. Pierre and Silva retirements is UFC 172, where Jon “Bones” Jones will seek to stake his claim as the biggest name in mixed martial arts.

The headline event at UFC 172 will feature Jones defending his light heavyweight title against Brazilian jiu jitsu natural and former Chuck Liddell trainee Glover Teixeira in what is being billed as a major fight. It’s an interesting headline bout, though a look at the actual odds on the fight makes things seem a bit less interesting. The Betfair news sports betting section has early odds on UFC 172 posted, and it has Jones listed as a fairly overwhelming favorite (at 1/5 backing odds) to win the fight. By contrast, the site offers 9/2 odds for Teixeira to pull off the upset, indicating perhaps a slightly wider gap between the fighters than some fans might expect.

However, for those thinking that UFC 172 may feature a lopsided bout at the top of the card, some intrigue was added this past week when it was announced that Anthony Johnson would be making a return to UFC, and was added to the card in a fight with Phil Davis.

While Johnson has not exactly put together a remarkable career in UFC, returns are always interesting, and he’s had a fairly convincing run in fights outside the octagon. MMA Junkie discusses that after Johnson was let go by UFC for failing to make weight one too many times, he’s essentially gone on an impressive winning spree with Titan Fighting Championships and WSOF.

Now on his way back to UFC, Johnson is actually a particularly entertaining fighter, having taken six of his seven UFC victories via knockout. His overall record is not that impressive (7-4 in UFC fights), and he’s by no means a definite favorite over Phil Davis, who is on a four match winning streak of his own (betting odds for the fight should emerge shortly). But in the end, this fight should add some excitement to a card that UFC is starting to depend on rather heavily in early 2014.

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