With all of the holes in Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson's fighting style, there's no question that Jon "Bones" Jones will crush him in UFC 165 on Saturday, Sept. 21.
The Mauler has has amassed an impressive resume in mixed martial arts with a 15-1 record, but it's safe to say that he's never battled an opponent close to Jones' level. Gustafsson has defeated two quality opponents in a row in Thiago Silva and Mauricio Rua, both by unanimous decision.
But Gustafsson clearly lacks that killer instinct that allows him to knock opponents out. In fact, Gustafsson hasn't scored a knockout since 2011, when he beat Vladimir Matyushenko.
A lot of that has to do with The Mauler's inability to throw accurate punches when standing toe-to-toe with his counterpart. During his career, Gustafsson has landed a little under 36 percent of his strikes.
And, that lack of accuracy is exactly what will play into Jones' hands.
Should Gustafsson miss often enough, he will leave himself wide open to one or more of Jones' devastating blows. Such a misstep could lead to an instant and early knockout at the hands of one of the most dangerous strikers in the sport today.
If Jones isn't successful in landing that killer blow to end this fight, he can use his elite wrestling skills to his advantage when the opportunity presents itself as a result of an ill-conceived blow. Once Jones takes this fight to the ground, it will only be a matter of time before Gustafsson is pummeled into submission or simply taps out.
Gustafsson's wrestling has improved over the years, and he is more than capable of holding his own on the ground against a normal fighter. But earning a takedown won't be easy against Jones, as the light heavyweight champion has successfully defended 100 percent of takedown attempts against him.
It might be a developing strength of his, but trying to take this fight to the mat would be a foolish mistake on the challenger's part. Gustafsson may not even have a choice, though, as Jones' incredible reach advantage will keep The Mauler at a safe distance until Bones decides to move forward.
Gustafsson hasn't fought since way back in December, so rust could be an issue, and that's bad news because any fighter who takes on Jones must be at the top of his game. On the flip side, Jones fought as recently as April, so time off isn't an issue there.
Anything Gustafsson can do, Jones can do better. It's impossible to match up well with Jones because of all he can do in the Octagon, and that's why Gustafsson doesn't stand a chance at dethroning the king of the light heavyweight division.
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