Jones defeats Gustafsson via unanimous decision

Jones defeats Gustafsson via unanimous decision

By Loretta Hunt- Via Sports Illustrated-11:59 p.m. — Two and a half years into his title reign, Jones (18-1) has the chance to set the record tonight for consecutive title defenses in the 205-pound division (he’s currently tied at five with Tito Ortiz). We all know Jones’ strengths at this point. Can fight pretty much from everywhere, but his lanky stature has given him advantages on the outside in past fights. The UFC has used this as their angle to promote this bout. Gustafsson (15-1) is reportedly one inch taller than Jones at 6’5. Yup, that’s what the UFC is touting as the way Gustafsson can beat Jones. Let’s ignore that Jones’ reach is at least six inches greater than the Swede’s.

Midnight — Gustafsson enters first, Jones follows, wearing a Nike shirt that reads, “Not quite human.”

12:02 a.m. — Gustafsson is an interesting striker, a little stiff, but nowhere near Jones’ level, in my opinion. Still, he’s earned his shot and will get his chance.

12:04 a.m. — Jones dons the Gatorade sponsorship on his black trunks, though this new relationship caused some angst this week when ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported that Jones would get no compensation for it. Rovell later adjusted his reporting to say that Jones was getting “some compensation,” whatever that means. A year’s supply of Gatorade. I’d take it if it were lemon-lime.

Bruce Buffering nearly blowing his head off (nod to those ridiculous commercials) introducing the fighters. Crowd has finally come to life. Our referee is “Big” John McCarthy.

Round 1: Jones’ with a spinning back kick, then another 30 seconds later. Jones on outside. Lands low kick. Gust lands a left jab. Gust staying active with kick attempts. This is starting to become a technical stalking on both ends. Jones tries to clinch and Gust nearly lands his right. Gust gets another single left in. Bones with another back kick.

Gust tags Jones again. Jones is cut over right eye. This is a fight. Jones blocks Gust’s back kick with his own leg. Gust latches onto Jones and scores a BIG slam. Jones back to his feet, but the crowd is on fire. Jones doesn’t get taken down – EVER. This is the first time. Jones pushes Gust to fence, but it’s stopped, as ref sees an eye poke on Gust. No deduction and it re-starts. Jones finishes strong with his first elbow on fence, but Gust will probably take this round. Gust 10-9.

Round 2: Jones’ cut is big enough, but not major, at least not at this point. Look for Gust to try to rip that open. Gust catches Jones’ kick and sweeps him 30 seconds in. Jones up and clinches. Gust fends him off. He wants to keep striking. Jones has center canvas. Gust with an overhand right that misses, but a follow-up left that lands on Jones’ chin. Jones looks a little worried. He can’t figure Gust out. Jones with a missed spinning back kick. Jones connects with left high kick. Gust absorbs it. 2:00 to go. Gust is bold. He’s in it to win it. Continually throwing with mixed success. Gust catches Jones’ kick and Jones does an aerial back roll to escape it. Gust shrugs off another TD attempt. Gust with the left jab. Jones with another high kick that catches a little. Jones has to back out. Jones’ mouth is open. Very close round. 10-10/ Gust 20-19.

Round 3: Jones looks weary. I’m not going to lie. Like doubt is starting to creep in. Gust with a big combo 20 seconds in. They continue to trade low kicks. Jones likes that spinning back kick, but Gust seems to anticipate it. Gust shrugs off another TD. Jones with high kick, Gust counters with an uppercut that lands. Gust with another right and Jones answers with a kick. Gust with an uppercut and a right. Combos are working. 1:20 to go. Jones now trying to close distance, force a clinch. Not happening. More kicks. Jones with a hard body kick and Gust stumbles slightly as he circles out. Jones mixing up stances. Jones stuffs Gust’s TD attempt. :30 to go. Jones’ in with a spinning back elbow that lands. Gust off the fence and out of danger again. Another very close round, but I think Jones’ ekes it out. 10-9. Jones mousing slightly over left eye. Championship rounds, folks.

Round 4: I believe this is the second time Jones’ has been taken into the fourth round. Last was Vitor Belfort, who he submitted. Gust is trying to land the big punch, but Jones is handling things for the moment. Gust throwing more, but Jones connecting with low leg kicks. Gust with another jab. Jones tries to shoot, but Gust avoids easily. Gust with a left. Then another. Then a right. Jones clinches, has Gust on fence. Gust is off fence and nearly collides with McCarthy. Jones is now the stalker, His eye is getting pretty messed up, blood trickling into his right eye. :50 to go. Jones with a failed spinning elbow. Then he lands again. Has Gust on the fence. First time he looks in trouble. Gust is cut. Back to center, Jones with a flying knee. Bell. Crowd explodes. Jones 10-9.

In his corner Gust is bleeding well from his scalp. Jones got him with that spinning back elbow, then follow-up knees. Jones’ eyes are gobbed with Vaseline.

Round 5: Jones with solid body kick. Gust fends off another clinch. Gust with two uppercuts. Good follow-up left from Jones. Jones with a straight elbow. Gust tries for a single-leg. Fended off fast. Jones’ face is swollen. Jones with a crucial takedown. Gust scooting back to cage, up fast. Jones lets him go and we’re back to center. 2:30 to go. Jones with left. Gust is suddently exhausted, hands on hips! Gust suddenly looks in trouble, but manages to throw off a spinning back fist that misses. Jones lips are swollen bad. He’s busted up. Final minute. Insane fight. Gust with another TD attempt. Jones with head kick. Blocked. Gust with missed uppercut. Jones spinning elbow, clinches Gust for final seconds. Bell. Insanity.

I’ll give Jones that final round with a close 10-9. I have it a tie 48-48. Correction: 49-47 Jones.

I have a feeling we won’t get that from the judges. Pretty much any call is acceptable here. It was that close. Gust had Jones’ number. Waiting on scores. Official – Jon Jones def. Alexander Gustafsson – Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46).

Jones: “I’ve been asking for that dog fight for a while and that’s what I got tonight. A dog fight. Tonight was such a blessing.. by far my toughest fight.” Jones: “I felt sloppy tonight, but I got to flex my warrior spirit.” Jones thanks crowd and gets a mixed reaction from them.

Gust also gets a post-fight interview. “It’s just an honor to fight Jon. There’s a reason he’s the champion… I am just starting my career and I will come back stronger.”

Jones and Gust meet center cage and converse. Jones has a piece of gauze hanging from his right eye. They shake hands and Gust walks away. Camera follows Jones out of Octagon, who’s limping bad and has to be held up by two cornermen at first.

12:47 a.m. — UFC 165 Crib Notes: Main event earned the price of admission. Jon Jones has never been pushed this much. A war at times, a tactical chess match in other moments. If Gust can stay on track, the rematch will be something the UFC can get behind. Other standouts tonight: Khabib Nurmagomedov showed some grit and a little more versatility tonight with a relentless Healy. Schaub and Barao were solid in their finishes and should win Sub and KO of the Night awards for their efforts. Jones-Gustafsson has to get Fight of the Night. No other choice. Francis Carmont was a surprise against Philippou, who was predicted to plow over him with his power striking. Carmont’s keen takedowns made the difference en route to his decision win.

Sports Illustrated

Comments

  1. I am really mad now I didn’t buy the PPV!!! Uggghh!! If I had only read that write-up first I would’ve found a friend with it on! I feel asleep n missed the post fight coverage and everything! Would like to have heard ChAeL P SoNnEn’s review..haha

    I sure can’t wait to see it, sometime next year…. I recently was out bid on a pair of signed Bones’ trunks. I was sick then, and sick now!

    Okay, my pity-party is over! Thanks for posting! Talk to u soon I hope!

    LT

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