MMA’s pound-for-pound best in the world Jon Jones returned to the cage Saturday night against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario Canada.
After disposing of Vitor Belfort a year ago and Chael Sonnen in April, Jones was supposed to finally face a tough challenger in the 26-year-old Gustafsson.
He did. In a highly controversial decision, Jones held on to his title with a unanimous decision victory over Gustafsson, who, regardless of the decision, beat Jones up Saturday night.
Gustafsson battered Jones for five rounds, cutting him open, swelling his eyes and leaving Jones lips inflated and puffy. Even though he didn’t win, Gustafsson did make history. He was the first fighter to ever take Jones down inside the Octagon. He did it twice, in rounds one and two. In earlier action, Brendan Schaub asserted himself as a heavyweight contender after dismantling former NFLer Matt Mitrione with a stunning arm-triangle choke in the first round.
Check out all the highlights below:
Submission of the Night: Brendan Schaub
After Mitrione refused to touch gloves with Schaub to start the fight, Schaub earned Mitrione’s respect by putting him out at 4:06 of the first round. Mitrione refused to tap, choosing instead to go to sleep, just seconds after giving a thumbs up sign to the referee. The fight started evenly with both fighters trading huge, heavyweight punches. Schaub landed a bit more and cut Mitrione under the right eye with a wild right hand. Then Schaub took him down, got on top of him, and put the man who once KO’d Kimbo Slice to sleep with an arm triangle choke.
Knockout of the Night: Renan Barao
After an even first round Barao woke of the crowd with a spinning back kick TKO over Eddie Wineland at 35 seconds into the second round. The kick didn’t even make full contact, but it was enough to knock Wineland down. Barao pounced on him and Wineland turn his back, leading the ref to stop it. The actual punch didn’t seem that devastating, but Barao was so quick to jump on his that Wineland had no chance to recover.
Fight of the Night:
Jones walked into the cage wearing a “Not Quite Human,” T-Shirt, giving the Jones haters more reason to boo the champ. Jones looked like the same eager, aggressive fighter walking to the cage, but once the bell started he seemed a step behind Gustafsson. The Swedish fighter controlled the fight with his marvelous footwork and world-class hand speed.
Gustaffson seemed to win rounds one and two, but Jones started to rally in the third, landing more elbows. Showing the heart of a champion, a tired, exhausted Jones nearly KOd Gustafsson in the fourth round after a spinning back elbow. Gustafsson survived, but the flurry may have changed to the tone of the fight, at least as far as the perception that Jones was out of it. UFC analyst Joe Rogan commented that Jones may need to finish the fight in the fifth round if he wants to keep his title.
Both fighters looked out on their feet at times in the fifth round, but it was mostly more of the same, with Gustafsson seeming staying a step ahead of Jones.
Still, the judges awarded the fight to Jones, to a chorus of boos from the crowd.
Jones was unusually humble in the post-fight interview, saying he needed to get back in the gym and work harder. He limped out of the cage and back into the dressing room.
With the victory, Jones breaks Tito Ortiz’s record of 5 consecutive title defenses.
In other action, Pat “Bam Bam” Healy saw his bad luck turn worse after losing a unanimous decision to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Healy, who lost $130,000 in bonus money after he tested positive for marijuana following his last fight with Jim Miller, showed what a tough chin he has, but wasn’t able to get off against the more aggressive Nurmagomedov.
Francis Carmont stuck to Constantinos Philippou like a wet blanket for most of their three-round fight. Carmont took Philippou down with ease and just overwhelmed him. Clearly frustrated, Philippou seemed to give up toward the third round, having no real counter to Carmount’s Geoerges St-Pierre-like wrestling.
And who knew we’d see GSP on the PPV (in the corner of training partner Francis Carmont).
[table caption=”UFC 165 Main Card Results”]
Fight,Winner, Round, Result
Healy v. Nurmagomedov, Nurmagomedov, 3, UD
Carmont v. Philippou, Carmont, 3, UD
Mitrione v. Schaub, Schaub, 1 (4:06), SUB
Barao v. Wineland, Barao, 2 (:35), TKO
Jones v. Gustafsson, Jones, 5, UD
Be sure to check out our live-blog from the evening for photos and commentary of all the night’s action!