Jones wins battle of his career 0
Jon Jones (red) defeats Alexander Gustafsson (blue) during the light heavyweight championship bout during UFC 165 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Sunday September 22, 2013. (Dave Abel//QMI AGENCY)
Last Saturday night, while some were watching a riveting Canucks pre-season game, others decided to watch what turned out to be one of the UFC’s greatest title fights.
UFC 165, featuring Jon Jones battling Alexander Gustafsson, went off in Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Jones (19-1) defended his UFC light heavyweight championship for a record-breaking sixth time in the 205-pound division via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46).
What some didn’t predict was a 12-to-one underdog in Alexander Gustafsson (15-2) coming into the fight with a great game plan, incredible resiliency, and ton of moxie as he took Jones to the brink. The underrated 26-year-old Swede bounced around and threw some smooth combinations that damaged the champ’s face, including a gushing superficial cut above the right eye.
Yet, in the championship rounds Jones found his range and was able to throw some high-scoring head kicks, along with some stiff elbows, including one of the spinning variety that rocked Gustafsson in the fourth round.
In the end, I had the fight 2-2 going into the fifth and final round, and Jones doing enough to squeak out the decision. When there is a close fight like this, there will always be people who claim the other guy won, but I had Jones winning rounds two, four and five. He also got a free trip to the hospital immediately after the fight, with what coach Mike Winkeljohn tweeted as a “shattered” foot.
"He was just a tough fighter," Jones said after the fight. "I spent a lot of time on my boxing in this camp. Maybe that wasn't the best idea. I should have been like water and used more versatility. But hat's off to Alexander. That was by far my toughest fight, and I really got to exercise my warrior spirit tonight. That makes me happier than getting the win."
For Gustafsson, although he didn’t get the win on the scorecards, his overall performance in a loss upped his stock and proved that he is a force to be reckoned with in the division. It will be interesting to see if No. 1-contender Glover Teixiera (22-2) is next in line for a title shot, or if they go with Bones vs. Gustafsson 2 in Sweden, which UFC president Dana White thinks is a real possibility.
"It wouldn't be like we couldn't do it in Sweden," he said. "It would be pretty great to do the fight there. I love it there, but (Las) Vegas is never bad, either. Or if the timing went right on this fight, it could be a Super Bowl (weekend) fight, too."