Jones vs. Gustafsson: Predictions for UFC 165 Main Event
When Jon Jones graces the Octagon against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165, the exuberant light heavyweight champ will get the chance to break Tito Ortiz's record for most title defenses at 205 pounds.
Ortiz defended his belt for a record fifth straight time at the age of 27 at UFC 40 against a weathered Ken Shamrock. Jones just turned 26 and will aim to make history against a worthy adversary in "The Mauler," a fellow 26-year-old who's riding a six-fight UFC winning streak that includes four finishes.
Despite the fact that aggregate betting website Bovada.com has deemed Jones an 8.5-to-1 favorite (-850) to top Gustafsson (+525), "Bones" will certainly need his A-game in order to bring a halt to The Mauler's impressive winning streak.
Here are last-minute predictions for UFC 165's main even between Bones and The Mauler.
Jones Will Cut Gustafsson in the First Round
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While Jones has amazingly never been taken down or knocked down, the New York native has made his bones by flattening opponents early with takedowns and heavy striking assaults.
Expect Jones to floor Gustafsson, who's only surrendered three takedowns in his UFC career, and then go to work with elbows in the guard early on.
Granted, The Mauler has improved his ground game radically since his setback to Phil Davis at UFC 112. But Gustafsson has simply never faced a fighter with the grappling tools and ground-and-pound prowess that Jones has.
The Mauler will survive the first round but will emerge from his corner at the onset of Round 2 with a laceration on his noggin.
Gustafsson Will Escape a Second-Round Submission Before Getting TKO'd
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In order to faze the seemingly unflappable Jones, Gustafsson will obviously need to avoid grappling exchanges and clinches in general.
However, with an eight-inch reach advantage, Jones, as he typically does, will dictate where this bout takes place.
Cognizant of The Mauler's boxing chops, Jones will likely avoid his usual modus operandi of using unorthodox strikes from the outside to pick his opponents apart. Instead, Bones will utilize his 84.5-inch reach to get his hands on Gustafsson early, with the ultimate goal of putting the Swede on his back.
Once on the ground, Jones will advance position on the Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt before smoothly slapping on one of his patented guillotine chokes.
Gustafsson will narrowly survive Jones' first submission attempt, but he won't manage to shake the former high school state wrestling champion from the top position. Jones will then rain elbows on The Mauler until the bout's referee stops the fight.
Jones Will Get His Second "Knockout of the Night" Award
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Major endorsement deals, coupled with "Fight of the Night" and "Submission of the Night" bonuses, have fattened Jones' wallet significantly in the last three years.
However, not since his win over Brandon Vera at UFC Live 1 in early 2010 has Bones pocketed a "Knockout of the Night" bonus.
Akin to his vicious victory over Vera, Jones will brutalize Gustafsson with thunderous elbows from the guard.
But because Gustafsson's younger, tougher and more well-rounded than Vera, expect the Swede to absorb more punishment and emerge from the Octagon bloodier and even more demoralized than "The Truth."