For the main event, the light heavyweight champion Jon Jones took on number one contender Alexander Gustafsson. While Jones has yet to be truly tested, Gustafsson came into this fight as his toughest challenge yet. He’s a good match in height, and is one of the only light heavyweights that can deal with Jones’ reach. On top of that, Gustafsson truly believes he has what it takes to be a champion, which is what you want from your young and hungry fighters. However this fight plays out, this could definitely be one of the better matches we see from both Jones and Gustafsson.
Gustafsson looked great in the first round. He threw heavy combos and opened up a cut on Jones’ face early. At least for the first round, Gustafsson looked like the better fighter. With a minute remaining, he was able to score a beautiful takedown. After getting back to their feet, Jones, who seem to be a little beat down during the round, was called for a poke in the eye, which resulted in a short stoppage. In any case, it really did not cause anything and by the looks of it, Gustafsson handily won the first round.
In the second round, both fighters came out with bad intentions, but it was Gustafsson that blocked a kick and tripped up Jones with one of his own. At this point, Jones simply did not look like the same fighter we have become accustomed to. He was taking big blows and could not find his groove early. Given the first round, it was evident that Jones was going for some really big shots as the second came to a close. He was able to get a couple head kicks throughout the round, but the did not phase “the Mauler”. Two rounds for the Swede.
As the third began, one thing that stuck out to most, Jones’ face was damaged. Both eyebrows were starting to swell and there was already a cut from the first round. Thus far, this fight has been phenomenal, with both men showing immense skill, desire and heart. There was a good amount of strikes from both guys, but nothing seems to be able to knock these guys out, or even back for that matter.
The fourth round was absolutely crazy. Both guys landed deadly strikes, that would’ve knocked out a lot of other fighters. Both guys are showing incredible chins and unbelievable gas tanks. Before this round, the fight was Gustafsson’s, but after a solid spinning elbow and a couple combinations, Gustafsson was cut open and rocked pretty badly. Both men were completely bloody by the end of the fourth round.
The fifth started to the sound of thousands of people screaming at the top of their lungs. Gustafsson raised his hands in their signifying an “are you not entertained?” pose. As both fighters moved to the center, the hairs are your neck couldn’t help but stand up. This was one of the best fights of the year, if not the best, and whoever comes out on top after that is a rightfully deserving champion.
At the end of five rounds, it went to the judges scorecards, and the crowd had an idea of who won, but again, it’s up to the judges. The judges scored this 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 in favor of Jon Jones. The crowd reaction during this fight sums it up quite well, no question the UFC could be question on decisions after that fight.
Nevertheless, given that Gustafsson is Jones’ best competition, it is likely he will get another opportunity, unless Jones makes the decision to move up to heavyweight sooner. But judging by that fight, he still has some unfinished business in the light heavyweight division.