MENU
#Conor McGregor #UFC 211 #Cris Cyborg #Bellator 179 #Rory MacDonald #Nate Diaz #Angela Magana #Paul Daley #Diaz vs. McGregor 2 #Hayder Hassan #Dhiego Lima #Joanna Jedrzejczyk


TORONTO – For the second time in less than three months, mixed martial arts’ pound-for-pound kingpin nearly suffered a shocking upset.

However, Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (19-1 MMA, 13-1 UFC) avoided Anderson Silva’s recent fate and edged a resilient Alexander Gustafsson (15-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) via unanimous decision.

In the lead-up to Saturday’s UFC 165 pay-per-view headliner at Toronto’s Air Canada Center, UFC officials didn’t know exactly how to promote Gustafsson as a viable contender. They focused on the Swede’s height, of all things. Instead, it was his effective game planning, remarkable durability and pure moxie that nearly halted Jones’ new UFC record of six consecutive 205-pound title defenses.

“I’ve been asking for a dog fight for a long time, and I finally got that dog fight I’ve been asking for,” Jones said after the five-round fight.

The first round offered a little of everything, including some signs of hope for the challenger. While Jones, a 26-year-old fighting phenom who’s run through a who’s who of ex-champions, was his usually aggressive and effective self, Gustafasson slowed his attacks with nice counter-punches. He even surprised the champ with a late-round takedown, which marked the first time a fighter had scored one on Jones in 13 UFC fights.

Heading into the next frame, Gustafsson appeared to find confidence. After catching a leg and quickly sending the champ to the mat with a sweep kick, Gustafsson avoided a takedown and showed improved striking defense. He didn’t check every kick and elbow, and some pesky side and front kicks to the shins and thighs slowed his advances. But Gustafsson took Jones’ best shots and returned some solid blows of his own.

After the two close rounds and with Jones’ face showing some heavy swelling and bruising, Gustafsson immediately unloaded a nice combination to start the third round. Jones retaliated with a crisp kick to the face, but with the challenger’s effective takedown defense and increasingly accurate counter-strikes, Jones was forced to throw punches and kicks from distance, which made them easier to deflect. Body shots, though, continued to find their mark, and front kicks to the knee and shins presented problems for Gustafsson.

As the fight entered championship rounds, Jones fired off head kicks and some stiff elbows. Gustafsson, though, continued his surprising takedown defense. Jones’ leg kicks also landed flush, but even deep into the fight, they didn’t really slow the challenger. As Jones’ facial cut gushed blood, Gustafsson fired off smooth combinations as he easily darted in and out of range. But late in the round, Jones finally landed a spinning elbow flush to the forehead, and a follow-up knee had a quickly bloodied Gustafsson on wobbly legs. The bell saved the staggered Swede, but Jones had captured momentum for the final round.

In that decisive fifth round, with both fighters’ faces swollen and bloodied messes, Jones finally secured his first takedown. While such a development would usually mark a significant advantage in a Jones fight, Gustafsson quickly scooted to the fencing and returned to his feet. Both fighters looked for the finishing blow between heavy breaths in the final minutes. Each landed some violent strikes to close out a bout that received a raucous standing ovation.

After a night of questionable scoring, the headliner could have gone either way. Ultimately, though, the judges sided with the champ via 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 scores. Nearly all the cageside media agreed with the decision.

“He was just a tough fighter,” Jones said. “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.”

Gustafsson, who was as much as a 12-1 underdog with some sports books, presented the seemingly indestructible champ the biggest challenger of his career. It was enough to warrant a rematch, though the disappointed 26-year-old wasn’t in a mood to campaign for one.

“I will learn from this, and I’ll come back much stronger from this,” Gustafsson said. “I’m just starting my career, and I have lots of fights to do.”

Up-to-the-minute UFC 165 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC 165, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

John Morgan, Ben Fowlkes and Mike Bohn contributed to this report on-site in Toronto.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC Champ Daniel Cormier Tells Jon Jones It's Now or Never | MMAWeekly.com

  • 25 days ago
  • 66 views

UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is tired of waiting around for Jon Jones. He's laid down an ultimatum, it's now or never. read news >>

Dana White: Jon Jones Could Be Setting Records and Fighting at Heavyweight | MMAWeekly.com

  • 14 days ago
  • 48 views

UFC president Dana White says that if he could have stayed out of trouble, Jon Jones would be a record-setting champion and probably fighting heavyweights. read news >>

Daniel Cormier demands Jon Jones accepts UFC 214 rematch: 'It's my rules, I'm the champ now'

  • 26 days ago
  • 81 views

UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier made it clear: He calls the shots when it comes to the belt, and he demands Jon Jones skip a tune-up fight and face him upon his return.Filed under: Feat read news >>

Manager: UFC, Dana White ridiculous to snub Jon Jones from main event because of trust issues

  • 12 days ago
  • 10 views

Dana White has been burned too many times by Jon Jones, which is “ridiculous” for the UFC president to feel that way, according to Jones’ manager, Malki Kawa.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

Daniel Cormier Rips Jon Jones, Citing UFC Star's Legal Issues, Failed Drug Tests

  • 11 days ago
  • 47 views

UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier went off on rival Jon "Bones" Jones on Wednesday in an exclusive interview with TMZ. Cormier said Jones wasn't a good guy and ripped him for his past leg read news >>

UFC 211 ceremonial weigh-in video, photos: 2 titles up for grabs in Dallas

  • 10 days ago
  • 16 views

DALLAS – The ceremonial weigh-ins are complete for the UFC’s return to the “Lone Star State” of Texas. Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, Photo Gallery, UFC, Videos read news >>

Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones get heated backstage and onstage at 'UFC Summer Kickoff' event

  • 10 days ago
  • 22 views

Despite an endless parade of delays, cancellations and unforeseen circumstances, the hatred between UFC lightweight heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and former champ Jon Jones appears to be runnin read news >>

Opening odds for Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones 2 favor ex-UFC champ

  • 8 days ago
  • 13 views

As expected Jon Jones has opened as the favorite over his rival and the current UFC light-heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones Fight Rematch Announced for UFC 214

  • 10 days ago
  • 5 views

The UFC announced Friday that light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will face Jon "Bones" Jones in the main event of UFC 214. It will mark the second meeting between Cormier and Jones, as Jones w read news >>

One more time: Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones title rematch set for UFC 214 on July 29

  • 10 days ago
  • 8 views

The UFC will once again will tempt fate by booking a rematch between UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and former titleholder Jon Jones. This time it’s teed up for the main event of UFC 2 read news >>