UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson Round-by-Round Recap and Analysis
After five rounds of back-and-forth action, Jon Jones retained the UFC light heavyweight title. Boos rained down as the decision was announced, but no matter which way it went, someone would have disagreed.
The action was fierce from the get-go, Gustafsson taking an early lead with Jones getting the better of things in the championship rounds.
While the result is what we are used to seeing when Jones fights, the style was much different. That was close. Very close.
Jon Jones def. Alexander Gustafsson, unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46).
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
We begin with a touch of the gloves, and Gustafsson begins with a leg-kick. Jones returns the favor and Gustafsson lunges in and out. After a brief exchange Jones reaches for the clinch, but can't get it.
Jones is looking for the spinning back-kick to the body, and is going low as well. Gustafsson answers with some low-kicks of his own. Jones lands a flush jab that backs the Swede up. Gustafsson lands an uppercut in response before the fighters go back to exchanging kicks.
Jones lands a hard kick to the body, then adds another. Gustafsson just missed a hay-maker that got the attention of Jones. The Swede plants the right hand this time, then hits with a left that cuts Jones above his right eye. Gustafsson adds a nice right then a left.
Jones lands another spinning back-kick that backs Gustafsson off. Jones lands a leg-kick but eats some heavy return fire. Some leg-kicks are exchanged before Gustafsson lands a superman-punch.
Shockingly, Gustafsson attempts, and lands, a takedown. It yields nothing, but it's a statement. An eye-poke from Jones stalls the action.
A spinning elbow just misses for Jones. He looks for a takedown at the end of the round but it's stuffed. An elbow lands at the bell though.
Bleacher Report scores Round 1: 10-9 Gustafsson
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
A leg-kick from Gustafsson to open, then one from Jones. Gustafsson catches the next one and sweeps the leg. Jones pops back up and chase the Swede for a takedown, but he can't catch up.
Jones lands another hard leg-kick. He attempts another takedown but it's rebuked. Again. 0-5 for Jones.
A nice left hand lands for Jones, then he adds a leg-kick. Gustafsson comes over the top, but misses. He lands a nice left though on the follow up. A hard kick lands from Jones to the body.
Another spinning effort glances for Jones. He adds another to the body. Those are adding up. Gustafsson just misses with a big left hand. A nice combo lands for Gustafsson before he takes another spinning kick. Gustafsson doubles up on the jab, going high-low.
Jones misses a heavy right and has his kick caught. He springs up and gets the clinch but is shrugged off. Gustafsson lands a nice right and adds a kick. Jones lands a couple low kicks.
A head-kick glances for Jones. Gustafsson lands an uppercut. The Swede lands another right.
Very close round, as was the first.
Bleacher Report scores Round 2: 10-9 Jones
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jones starts out with leg-kicks again. Gustafsson lands a nice two-punch combo, then goes low. Jones answers in kind with another hard kick.
A nice jab lands for Gustafsson. He adds a counter right after eating a kick. He is going body-head now to moderate success. Jones glances another high-kick but Gustafsson answers with a right punch. Then a one-two combo.
Body-kicks are traded before Gustafsson lands a couple more light shots. He then tees off with an uppercut and cross. Another cross. He blocks a head-kick and adds a jab.
Another uppercut for Gustafsson glances off and Jones goes back low. Jones tosses out an axe-kick but it misses. Jabs from Jones now, then a hard body-kick and followup right. Gustafsson is breathing heavy now, but he continues to press. He goes body-head-body, scoring with a nice combo.
The Swede rushes for a takedown but it is denied. He settles for a couple light punches. Gustafsson adds a kick-punch combo that Jones answers with some standing elbows. Gustafsson initiates a clinch, but neither man can do much with it.
Bleacher Report scores Round 3: 10-9 Gustafsson
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Jones snaps off a nice left, Gustafsson answers with a right. He looks for a big followup, but it whiffs. Gustafsson lands a few leg-kicks and Jones puts in a jab. A nice right lands for Jones, but his kck is caught.
After separating Jones backs away from a Gustafsson attack. Gustafsson lands a hard right hand that backs Jones off. Jones jabs and lands, Gustafsson does the same. The Swede lunges in for a left hook, but to no avail. Jones lands a hard leg-kick.
Gustafsson lands a stiff jab, Jones another kick, and Gustafsson another jab. Jones shoots, but Gustafsson stops him in his tracks and lands a very hard left-right combo. He is teeing off now. Jones clinches and hunts the takedown. He clasps his hands but Gustafsson shucks him off.
The fighters trade jabs and Jones adds a kick. Jones eats a nice one-two then a straight right. Another shot from Jones is stuffed. He settles for some leg-kicks. his attempt to go high misses.
Jones lands two stepping elbows and Gustafsson clinches. Jones lands another elbow and Gustafsson is staggered. Jones adds a knee and Jones tries to take him down. Jones adds an elbow and Gustafsson is busted open.
He survives to the bell.
Jones saved that round at the end.
Bleacher Report scores Round 4: 10-9 Jones
Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports
Gustafsson starts with a body-shot then goes high with a jab. He adds a right-left combo to his tally then lands a few body punches. Jones goes low and Gustafsson punches in return.
Jones whiffs on a hook. Gustafsson lands an uppercut. Jones hits with a hard left hand. Gustafsson looking for the right hand. Jones lands another elbow and Gustafsson a left hand. Gustafsson shoots but can't secure the takedown.
Gustafsson is clipped by a right. Jones shoots and finally lands a takedown. Gustafsson desperately scoots to the cage and stands. That is big.
Back on the feet, Gustafsson eats a big head-kick. he shake it off and comes forward. Gustafsson eats another head-kick. Jones is coming on.
Jones shoots again but it's stuffed. Gustafsson lands a body shot and hits with a spinning elbow. Gustafsson lands a right hand. The a left, then a right. Then a left. Not much on any of them though.
A head-kick lands for Jones, who looks up at the clock. Gustafsson looks to shoot, but is too tired. An elbow from Jones scores, as does a kick from the Swede. Jones attacks with a knee-elbow combo to finish the round.
Bleacher Report scores Round 5: 10-9 Jones
Bleacher Report scores the fight: 48-47 Jones
But in all honest, that could go either way. Easily.