Why Jon 'Bones' Jones Did in Fact Win the Fight
It was one of those fights that will be argued over for years. A challenger, nail-bitingly close to taking a belt from a champion many thought undefeatable.
The champion showed that he was only human after all, and, in the process, proved that he had the stuff of legends.
Still, those who scored the fight for Alexander Gustafsson will be forgiven for thinking that the Swede should have been given victory. His efforts were the most impressive we’ve ever seen against the reigning title holder, and he delivered the worst beating Jones has taken in his career.
As the fight got underway, both men took to the centre of the Octagon, but Gustafsson, just as we expected, soon found himself circling on the outside.
From here, he launched his attack.
Proving himself both quicker than Jones and more technically gifted in the striking game, the Mauler seemed to be able to get on the inside to pepper the champion with stiff blows almost at will. And then, in the middle of the round, came the takedown.
But it was Gustafsson who delivered it against Jones, who’d never been taken down in his career.
From there on, it was Jones trying to look for a way back in, while Gustafsson evaded and defended every takedown attempt in a show of superiority.
Jones had his moments in the fight. His kicks were inventive and managed to rock the Swede as he continued to circle. What’s more, his now trademark sidekicks to his opponent’s knees continued to control the distance as best he could.
But it was obvious the champion had his hands full. By the time the third round got underway, with Jones having been taken down for the first time in his professional career and facing a doctor stoppage due to a cut that had opened over his eye, the momentum had decidedly swung in the challenger’s favour.
The strikes from Gustafsson came harder as he himself became more elusive.
That’s when Jones dug deep and put his foot down on the accelerator.
He came back stronger in the third round, remained committed to the fight and began throwing inventive strikes such as an axe kick and lightning-quick spinning elbows.
The tide began to turn in round three, with Gustafsson spending much of it going backwards. Jones was able to keep his opponent running in circles on the outside, generally wearing him down and challenging him to go into the championship rounds with him.
That’s not to suggest Gustafsson faded in the later rounds. Despite being visibly tired, he kept pushing forward, attacking and getting through consistently. But it was Jones who did far more damage. His elbows, late into the fourth round, almost finished it in a way Gustafsson never came close to doing.
Each fighter looked a shadow of his former self as the final bell sounded, and the decision could have gone either way.
But the decision went in Jones’ favour, as it rightly should.
Jones never looked genuinely threatened in the fight, and while he didn’t have the strength to finish his opponent, he had Gustafsson on the run and fighting for survival.
The unanimous decision in the champion’s favour, scored over five grueling rounds, was ultimately fair.
In his post-fight interview, Jones told Joe Rogan that he needed to experience a dog-fight like this one to become a better stronger athlete. That should be listed among the best motivational quotes for athletes.
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