Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson: Why 'The Mauler' Will Win the Rematch
Jon Jones has been so far ahead of any man who’s stepped into the cage with him that even those who believed Alexander Gustafsson had the key to defeat the champ were shocked to see the fight "The Mauler" put on.
Not only did he give Jones the biggest beating he’s ever had in his young career, he also out-grappled the much more accomplished wrestler for most of the match.
In the end, the difference of the night was the experience the champion could draw on to rally late into the championship rounds and perhaps steal the fight.
Many would disagree and still give the match to Gustafsson.
It was the challenger who established his game early and never truly let Jones back into the match.
It’s true, Gustafsson faded late in the fight—particularly after Jones almost ended the night with vicious elbows late in Round 3. However, for much of the fight, Jones could not solve the problem set before him. Even if he had been given an eBook reader to help him, it would have been difficult to overcome that reach.
Gustafsson, on the other hand, completely neutralised Jones’ legendary reach. Using angles, movement and incredible speed, the Swede got in on the inside of his opponent to deliver blows almost at will.
Jones' one true advantage in the fight, his wrestling, was completely neutralised.
In the end, it was the champion’s heart, and experience in having gone into deep waters three times before, that saw him swing it in the eyes of judges.
But expect Gustafsson to be more prepared, more experienced and better conditioned in the rematch.
We’ve already seen his stand-up. Now we know that Gustafsson’s grappling is also on par with Jones.
Much of that has come from training with the likes of Phil Davis at Alliance MMA, but it should serve as an omen for Jones, who has a much more experienced wrestler in Daniel Cormier to potentially face somewhere down the line.
However, that’s only if he can get over Gustafsson for the second time. And, from what we saw on Saturday, that’s a big “if.”
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