UFC 165 ended on Saturday night with a light heavyweight championship fight between champ Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. It was a great match up that was hyped because of the size of Gustafsson.
Gustafsson did just as he said – as he began fighting from a distance, using his length. Gustafsson was able to stay out of danger early by spinning out of a Jones takedown attempt.
Jones was trying leg kicks early trying to stop Gustafsson from continuously moving forward. Gustafsson wasn’t phased early, as he kept coming forward, even landing a huge left that made Jones change it up.
It was surprising not to see Jones dominate early, but you could see he was trying to figure out a way to get through Gustafssons’ size.
Gustafsson scored on a huge left and cut the champ over his right eye.
Not only did the champ have his hands full in the first round; for the first time in his career he was taken down! Gustafsson scored a takedown toward the end of Round 1. The energy in the place was palpable, and the momentum seemed to be in Gustafssons favor.
Jones landed an eye poke in the final seconds, but Gustafsson was okay to continue.
Jones, the champ, came out in Round 2 with more energy. Gustafsson was more relaxed and was able to use Jones’ aggressiveness against him. He caught a kick from the champ, kicking Jonses’ other leg out from under him. Jones tried a takedown, but Gustafsson was able to avoid the takedown.
For the first time in his career, Jones was eating big shots and struggling with a formidable opponent. It was certainly an impressive start for Gustafsson.
Jones started to come back in the middle of Round 2, landing a head kick. Gustafsson stayed composed, though, and kept coming forward. Jones tried for another takedown but Gustadssons’ take down defense was on impressive display.
The Champ started off Round 3 connecting on a number of stinging leg kicks; but Gustafsson continued to counter over the time with his hands.
Jones was landing a number of head kicks through out the fight, but Gustafsson kept coming forward and kept the pressure on Jones. It was easy to see that Jones was entrenched in the toughest fight of his career.
Jones did score with some leg kicks at the end of the third and went for the wild spinning back elbow, but Gustafsson was able to escape danger and make it to the championship rounds.
Jones’ eye began to leak more and more with the blood going directly into Jones’ eye and it seemed to make the champion throw caution to the wind and look to give Gustafsson everything he had. Jones did land a devastating spinning back elbow near the end of the round which clearly hurt Gustafsson. Gustafsson was hanging on for dear life at the end of Round 4 as the bell rang and the fifth round began.
After narrowly escaping the fourth, it looked like Jones could finish the fight at any time as the fifth round began.
However, after a few early exchanges it looked like Gustafsson had his legs back under him as he continued to push forward. It was an incredible war with just a few minutes to go and it looked like anyone’s fight for the taking.
Gustafsson was attempting to stay at range and avoid the nasty elbows from Jones, but both men were landing some huge shots in an epic sprint to the finish line.
On his tenth takedown attempt of the night, Jones finally landed the takedown with three minutes to go, but Gustafsson was able to get right back to his feet. Jones delivered another head kick in the closing minutes and Gustafsson just dropped his arms to his side as his gas tank looked to be completely empty.
With Gustafsson looking to be on his last legs, he threw a spinning back elbow of his own that barely missed the champ.
Both fighters were exhausted with just one minute remaining and they tried to finish the fight with some strong shots. However, there was nothing left for either man to give when the final buzzer sounded.
We were heading to the judge’s scorecards with no clear winner and a Fight of the Year candidate.
When the judge’s scorecards were read, it was 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 in favor of Jones.
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