Jon Jones wins epic battle to retain championship
Jones wins sixth consecutive title defense to remain light heavyweight champion
Last night’s UFC 165 saw the light heavyweight champion successfully defend his title for a record-setting sixth time in front of an energetic Air Canada Centre, eclipsing the record which was previously set by former division champion and UFC Hall of Fame inductee Tito Ortiz.
Jon Jones walked out to Diddy and Dirty Money’s “Coming Home” reverberating through the sporting arena, ironically debuting a Nike t-shirt with the words ‘Not Quite Human’ inscribed across his chest, meeting a hungry and focused Alexander Gustafsson inside the octagon.
The fight was ushered in by quick, calculated strikes from the giant Swede who managed to draw blood from the defending champion with an incisive blow cutting him just above the right eye, showcasing that Jones is very much human.
The first round also highlighted Gustafsson’s wrestling capabilities (whom recently started training with Phil Davis) with all takedown attempts from Jones being thwarted and a takedown against the champ himself, marking the first time that Jones has been taken down by an opponent inside the octagon, putting him in a far more precarious position than fans of the fighter are used to seeing him in.
The early three rounds were anything but routine for the defending champion who seemed uncharacteristically vulnerable at times, portraying no real confidence.
With the fight looking like it might go the way of the contender if things continued the way they were going, Jones needed to change the momentum of the fight in the championship rounds and he did just that.
Jones came into rounds four and five with a little more impetus than the previous rounds, dictating the pace and finally muscling his way through the strong takedown defences of Gustafsson.
Midway through the fourth round Jones caught the Sweden native with an emphatic spinning elbow to the side of the head, visibly injuring the contender, bringing the crowd to their feet, thinking the fight might soon draw a conclusion. Gustafsson managed to elude the subsequent flurry of punches and elbows, bringing an end to an intense fourth round.
The fifth round began in similar fashion with Gustafsson looking tired and languorous. Jones continued to bring the fight to his opponent, keeping to the center of the octagon while an innocuous Gustafsson found himself constantly retreating, showing little sign of danger.
The finality of the round brought an end to an historic fight. Both men standing in the ring, bloodied and battered, awaiting the final decision which would ultimately go the way of the defending champion with the judges scoring it 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 for Jones, making it Jones’ closest fight, thus far.
“I finally got the dogfight I was looking for,” said Jones in a post-match interview with Joe Rogan.
This win is the tenth consecutive win and record-setting sixth title defence for Jones who retains the light-heavyweight title.
Although no official rematch has been announced, these two going to war inside the octagon again is almost inevitable.