Whether you agreed with the judges' decision or not, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and challenger Alexander Gustafsson gave viewers a fight to remember at UFC 165 on Saturday night in Toronto.
The ones that mattered—the judges—scored the fight, 48-47, 49-46, 48-47 in unanimous favor of Jones.
One thing was for sure: This was an epic battle.
This fight had everything. Featuring arguably the top two mixed martial artists in the UFC light heavyweight division, the action started off with a bang on Saturday night.
Jones looked to do some early damage with two spinning kicks to Gutafsson's body. But it was Gustafsson who closed the first round strong, cutting Jones above the eye, then scoring a takedown—yes, a takedown—against the UFC champion.
Jones was able to get up rather quickly, but it was the first takedown the 26-year-old had suffered in his UFC career.
After one round, it was Gustafsson, not Jones, who appeared to be in control.
The two fighters continued to battle it out for the next two rounds, exchanging blows but refusing to bow down.
Complete with high kicks, back kicks, uppercuts and hooks, the second and third rounds were extremely close to call. Every time one man attempted a takedown, the other would block it. It was a battle of will—and wits—in those middle rounds.
From there, most had Jones winning the final two rounds. Gustafsson appeared to be in control in the fourth, but a spinning back elbow by Jones changed everything, rocking the Swede back against the cage before punishing him with more elbows.
The fifth round capped off a dazzling fight in classic fashion.
Jones' eyes and mouth swelled, but he continued to move forward. He landed some big head kicks in the final round, to which Gustafsson somehow took without much bother. Whether Gustafsson was toughing it out or simply daydreaming was unclear.
All I know is it was amazing how well he took huge blows.
It was impossible not to feel inspired by the effort both competitors put forth on Saturday in Toronto. Whether you agreed with the judges' final decision or not, both Jones and Gustafsson didn't just demand respect—they earned it.
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