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Jones vs Gustafsson: Complete Guide to UFC 165 Fight Card

Andrew SaundersCorrespondent IISeptember 18, 2013

Jones vs Gustafsson: Complete Guide to UFC 165 Fight Card

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    At UFC 165, the world's largest combat sports organization returns to pay-per-view for an outstanding card that will be co-headlined by a pair of title fights.

    In the night's top bout, Jon Jones looks to defend his light heavyweight crown for the sixth time when he meets Swedish striking machine Alexander Gustafsson. Immediately preceding that contest is an interim bantamweight championship affair between Renan Barao and heavy-handed Eddie Wineland.

    The rest of the main card is full of fun fights that promise fireworks. So, with that in mind, let's take a thorough look at September's most anticipated MMA event.

Nandor Guelmino vs. Daniel Omielanczuk

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    How To Watch:

    Facebook at 6:15 p.m. ET

    Preview:

    If you thought main card fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov had the most difficult name to pronounce, you likely hadn't come across preliminary card pugilist Daniel Omielanczuk.

    Sporting a professional record of 15-3, Poland's Omielanczuk enters the cage on Saturday night with an 11-fight winning stream on his side. A submission specialist, Omielanczuk has recorded nine victories by way of tapout

    That being said, under any examination of his record, it is obvious that Omielanczuk has spent his career crushing cans. The majority of fighters he defeated during his current streak have sub-,500 records and a few were making their debuts.

    Opponent Nandor Guelmino is no world-beater himself. The Austrian heavyweight earned a Zuffa contract when he agreed to face Josh Barnett on the final Strikeforce card. He lost in little more than two minutes after an ill Barnett effortlessly scored an arm-triangle choke.

    Guelmino has experience fighting on a major stage and he has time competed against a different caliber of opponent. Although he has yet to prove that he is deserving of a UFC roster spot, this is his fight to lose. 

    Prediction:

    Nandor Guelmino defeats Daniel Omielanczuk via TKO in Round 3.

Roland Delorme vs. Alex Caceres

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    How To Watch:

    Facebook at 6:15 p.m. ET

    Preview:

    Partly because of a failed drug test from opponent Francisco Rivera, Ultimate Fighter veteran Roland Delorme has yet to lose any of his four bouts inside the Octagon.

    Delorme has a black belt in judo which is supplemented by a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. That grappling prowess has helped "Stunning" earn submissions in two-thirds of his wins.

    Like his opponent, Alex Caceres worked his way into the UFC through the TUF house. The man known as "Bruce Leeroy" was a member of Team GSP during Season 12 and has been a member of the Zuffa family ever since.

    Throughout his career, submission defense has not been the strong suit of Caceres. At one point, the bantamweight lost four of five fights, all by way of submission. Considering what his opponent brings to the table, this one feels like an easy one to predict.

    Prediction:

    Roland Delorme defeats Alex Caceres via submission in Round 2.

Jesse Ronson vs. Michel Dos Prazeres

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    How To Watch:

    Facebook at 6:15 p.m. ET

    Preview:

    When opportunity knocks, you've got to be ready to answer. When Jesse Ronson and Michel dos Prazeres meet on Saturday night, it is a battle between two men who answered Joe Silva's call on short notice. 

    Canada's Jesse Ronson makes his UFC debut in this fight by filling in for countryman Mark Bocek on just one month's notice. Flawless in his last eight bouts, "The Body Snatcher" holds a professional record of 13-2.

    In May, dos Prazeres debuted inside the Octagon with only two weeks notice. That is a brave move, especially when you consider that the man he faced was nine-time UFC veteran Paulo Thiago. dos Prazeres lost the bout, but was able to last the full 15 minutes and earn a second opportunity with Zuffa. 

    This is a classic striker vs grappler matchup between two guys who are hungry to prove their worth to the organization. Ultimately, it will come down to who can dictate the fight's location.

    dos Prazeres proved against Thiago that he can grind if necessary and that he is also a striker capable of unloading powerful combinations. That mixed with his superior grappling and full training camp should lead to victory in his sophomore effort.

    Prediction:

    Michel dos Prazeres defeats Jesse Ronson via unanimous decision.

John Makdessi vs. Renee Forte

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    How To Watch:

    Facebook at 6:15 p.m. ET

    Preview:

    Can someone please explain to me why a guy like John Makdessi, whose current momentum includes a win over UFC mainstay Sam Stout, is fighting on the Facebook portion of UFC 165?

    Makdessi has outworked four of six opponents since joining the UFC roster in 2010 and he has experience against an overall higher caliber of competition. That being said, Forte was able to upset six-year UFC vet Terry Etim earlier this year and should not be counted out.

    With precision striking that has baffled several foes, expect "The Bull" to outpoint Forte during standing exchanges. It won't be enough to secure a stoppage, but he will do enough to earn the judge's nod. 

    Prediction:

    John Makdessi defeats Renee Forte via unanimous decision.

Mitch Gagnon vs. Dustin Kimura

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    How To Watch:

    Fox Sports 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET

    Preview:

    Canadian Mitch Gagnon has only been in the UFC for two fights, but has already managed to pick up both a win and a Fight of the Night bonus. On Saturday night, he meets Dustin Kimura in a battle of bantamweights.

    Kimura remains undefeated through 10 professional bouts, having defeated Chico Camus via submission in his Zuffa debut earlier this year. However, being that he missed weight by 3.5 pounds, the Hawaiian needs to pick up another win to stay in good favor with the company.

    This matchup is a sleeper candidate for Fight of the Night, as both men are hungry and love to look for the finish. Ultimately, the submission game of Kimura will prove too much for Gagnon.

    Prediction:

    Dustin Kimura defeats Mitch Gagnon via submission in Round 3.

Chris Clements vs. Stephen Thompson

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    How To Watch:

    Fox Sports 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET

    Preview:

    Chris Clements does his best work when able to stand in the pocket and trade with opponents. This style of fighting ensures that the Canadian rarely sees the judge's scorecards. Ironically, the only two times that Clements has gone the distance was his pair of fights in the UFC.

    Unfortunately for Clements, the man standing before him on Saturday night is a vastly superior striker.

    Stephen Thompson is a world renowned karate expert who has the sort of technical striking that can ruin any man's night. In addition "Wonderboy" displayed a greatly improved wrestling game in his last fight, which should allow him to find success in grappling exchanges.

    This fight will be fun, but the hometown crowd will not like watching an American knock out a fellow Canuck.

    Prediction:

    Stephen Thompson will defeat Chris Clements via TKO in Round 2.

Ivan Menjivar vs. Wilson Reis

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    How To Watch:

    Fox Sports 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET

    Preview:

    Originially scheduled as a bout between Ivan Menjivar and notorious Japanese stud KID Yamamoto, the matchup was shuffled a bit to include Wilson Reis after KID was forced out due to injury.

    The name Wilson Reis might stand out to you. Perhaps that is because he is a nine-time Bellator competitor who made it to three different tournament semi-finals.

    If history has given us anything to go on, Reis folds when it is time for important matchups against dangerous opponents. The Brazilian was twice bested by Patricio Freire and also knocked out by Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas.

    Menjivar is a crafty veteran who has taken on and defeated many hungry foes who are looking to build their name by defeating such an important member of bantamweight division. That being said, Reis has the tools to pull off the upset, and I think that he just might do it.

    Prediction:

    Wilson Reis will defeat Ivan Menjivar via unanimous decision.

Mike Ricci vs. Myles Jury

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    How To Watch:

    Fox Sports 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET

    Preview:

    Undefeated fighter Myles Jury has feasted on a steady diet of Ultimate Fighter runner-ups since joining the UFC roster last year. Already notched on "The Fury's" belt are victories over Michael Johnson and Ramsey Nijem, the latter of which Jury viciously knocked out in April.

    On Saturday night, Jury looks to complete the hat trick when he meets season 16 silver-medalist Mike Ricci on the featured bout of the Fox Sports 1 preliminary card.

    Ricci is known as a member of Tristar Gym, alongside famous teammates Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald, among others. The Canadian kickboxer was poked fun at for his accountant-ish appearance in the TUF house, but his skills spoke for themselves.

    Currently, Ricci is 1-1 inside the Octagon. After losing the tournament final to Colton Smith, he bounced back with a decision victory over Colin Fletcher back in March.

    It's hard to bet against Jury in this contest. Opponents have yet to figure him out and he has the skills to hang anywhere the fight may go. 

    Prediction:

    Myles Jury will defeat Mike Ricci via unanimous decision

Pat Healy vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov

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    How To Watch:

    Pay Per View at 10:00 p.m. ET

    Preview:

    Pat Healy might just have the most underrated submission game in all of MMA. Through his lengthy career, the former Strikeforce stud scored submission victories over ground wizards Jim Miller and former UFC interim champion Carlos Condit.

    Healy has seen his arm raised after 10 of his last 11 fights, although a failed post-fight drug test (marijuana) saw him stripped of $130,000 in bonus money, as well as the victory over Miller.

    On Saturday night, he has a hellacious mountain to climb in the form of undefeated sambo master Khabib Nurmagomedov. The Russian stud has a flawless record of 20-0 which includes victories over UFC mainstays Gleison Tibau and Thiago Tavares.

    Nurmagomedov has been pegged as a 2.5-to-1 favorite in this contest by many oddsmakers. Then again, Healy has made a career of thriving from the underdog position.

    While a victor isn't clear, it is certain that this is going to be an absolute dog fight.

    Prediction:

    Khabib Nurmagomedov will defeat Pat Healy via unanimous decision.

     

Costa Philippou vs. Francis Carmont

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    How To Watch:

    Pay Per View at 10:00 p.m. ET

    Preview:

    Although former teammate Chris Weidman has now grabbed the attention of the class, Costa Philippou has quietly put together an unblemished record of 5-0 in the UFC middleweight division.

    What's more is that Philippou isn't simply beating down a handful of scrubs who aren't worthy of being inside the Octagon. Once-ranked contender Tim Boetsch, Ultimate Fighter winner Court McGee and former DEEP champion Riki Fukuda all count themselves as victims of the "Cypress Slugger."

    Opponent Francis Carmont is also in possession of a 5-0 record in the UFC middleweight division. However, the Canadian has benefited from not one, but two highly controversial decisions in his most recent bouts.

    Carmont's decision win over Lorenz Larkin was certainly the worst offender, but a UFC 154 win over Tom Lawlor was questionable to say the least.

    With a takedown defense rate of 83 percent, Costa should be able to keep this bout standing. However, Philippou will have to overcome a five-inch reach disadvantage if he hopes to employ his powerful punches in this contest. 

    Prediction:

    Costa Philippou will defeat Francis Carmont via unanimous decision.

     

Matt Mitrione vs. Brendan Schaub

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    How To Watch:

    Pay Per View at 10:00 p.m. ET

    Preview:

    In a battle of Ultimate Fighter castmates, season 10 competitors Matt Mitrione and Brendan Schaub will square off on Saturday night. Four years after the conclusion of season 10, the former Team Rashad members look to make a statement at the other's expense.

    Both men have recorded eight fights inside the Octagon since their time on the show. Mitrione has gone 6-2 during that time, with five victories coming by way of knockout. However, when you consider that Joey Beltran is the biggest win on his resume, it's hard to gauge his true level of skill.

    Schaub, on the other hand, holds a 5-3 record inside the Octagon, but recorded wins over Mirko Cro Cop and Gabriel Gonzaga during that time. Once considered to be one of the fastest rising prospects in the division, "The Hybrid" saw his momentum come to a crash when he was knocked out by Antonio Nogueira and Ben Rothwell in consecutive bouts.

    With each fighter coming off of one-sided victories, the time is right to see them meet inside the cage. Can Schaub's questionable chin withstand the brutal force of "Meathead's" punches? Will Mitrione be able to defend the takedowns that Schaub utilized so well in his last contest? 

    Prediction:

    Matt Mitrione will defeat Brendan Schaub via TKO in Round 2.

Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland

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    How To Watch:

    Pay Per View at 10:00 p.m. ET

    Preview:

    Everyone seems to be forgetting that there are not one, but two title fights on Saturday night. Then again, when you consider that Renan Barao is only an interim champion (for now) and that Eddie Wineland isn't exactly a world beater, this is an easy fight to overlook.

    Things looked bleak for Wineland as he started off his UFC career dropping decisions to Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez. Thankfully, the Texan rebounded well and was able to score wins over Scott Jorgensen and Brad Pickett since that time.

    Why is Wineland getting a title shot despite a 2-2 record inside the Octagon? Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that the UFC bantamweight division is in tremendous need of fresh contenders. 

    Our own Sean Smith put together an excellent analysis of this fight. It's certainly worth a read and explains why Wineland doesn't have much of a chance in this contest.

    With Dominick Cruz on the sidelines for more than two full years, Renan Barao should be promoted to undisputed UFC champion by now. After all, the Brazilian phenom defeated top-ranked Urijah Faber to win the belt and will defend it for the second time on Saturday night.

    Prediction:

    Renan Barao will defeat Eddie Wineland via submission in Round 2.

Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson

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    How To Watch:

    Pay Per View at 10:00 p.m. ET

    Preview:

    On Saturday night, history could potentially be made. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has the ability to take sole possession of the UFC record for most consecutive defenses of that division's crown. 

    Did you know: Neither Jon Jones nor challenger Alexander Gustafsson have been knocked down in any of their combined 21 appearances in the Octagon? 

    The champion tends to take opponents down, even in bouts where his biggest advantage comes in the form of his striking prowess. Despite Gustafsson's impressive 84 percent takedown defense rate, it is unlikely that the Swede can stop Jonny "Bones" from steamrolling him to the canvas.

    Once this contest his the ground, Jones has shown that he can be susceptible to a submission from the bottom. However, the New Yorker doesn't seem to the be the type to make the same mistake twice. 

    Gustafsson's best chance of winning this fight is if the champion horribly injures himself again and the fight is waived off for medical reasons.

    In all seriousness, Gustafsson is not going to be able to keep this fight standing. After eating some of the vicious elbows that Jones will inevitably rain down, Gustafsson will find himself caught in a submission.

    Prediction:

    Jon Jones defeats Alexander Gustafsson via submission in Round 2.

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