Jones vs. Gustafsson: Swedish Fighter Deserves Rematch After Strong Display
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport
At UFC 165, in a light-heavyweight battle that pushed Jon Jones to his limit, Alexander Gustafsson has earned the right to a rematch.
The first round showed a glimpse of what was to come when Gustaffson surprised the champion with a takedown—something which no other fighter has been able to do in Jones' last 13 fights.
This seemed to give him confidence. He showed solid defense against the takedown and the strikes that Jones tried to land.
He landed some shots of his own, and it was clear that this was going to be a war.
Gustafsson had prepared for the fight and used his long reach to keep Jones at a distance with counter-punches. As a result, Jones became easier to defend and the Swede started to look the more likely winner.
However, the tide turned when the champion connected with a spinning elbow and a knee at the end of the fourth, which left Gustafsson reeling. The bell saved him that time, but the momentum was with Jones and he didn't let it slip.
Both men looked gassed in the final round, but the American landed the better strikes and sealed the win.
UFC 165 in Tweets: Pros score Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson, react to Renan Barao vs. Eddie... http://t.co/3mMWlQQpt1— AngryMMA (@AngryMMA) September 22, 2013
It's possible that Jones underestimated his opponent, and that a rematch would yield a much more one-sided contest. He now knows how Gustafsson will defend against him and can plan against that better.
Nevertheless, no one has pushed him this hard before, and MMAMania.com published his post-fight comments that were quick to praise his opponent:
"I'll tell you what, hats off to Alexander, that was by far my toughest fight, and I really had to exercise my warrior spirit tonight, which makes me more happier than getting the win. I felt really sloppy tonight. Alexander is very game -- that guy definitely has a chin on him."
The fight was much closer than one 49-46 scorecard stated, and Gustaffson earned a lot of respect for the way he fought.
Watching "Bones" over the last five years has made him appear indestructible, but he was outfought for large sections of the battle. If not for the shots he landed at the end of the fourth round, he could have gone home the loser.
It's fair to say that Glover Teixeria is the next man in line to face Jones, but no one would complain if Gustafsson got an immediate rematch.
Hell, after one of the best 205-pound fights the world has ever witnessed, they should be demanding another.
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