UFC 165: Jones vs Gustafsson – Main Event Preview and Guest Panel Predictions
By Dave Carpinello
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones returns to Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Saturday, September 21st to defend his title against Swedish contender Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson. At just 25 years old, Jones is one the most dominant fighters in UFC light heavyweight history. His 12 wins are 2nd most in the division’s history while his five consecutive title defenses tie him with UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz’s light heavyweight record. Gustafsson, 26, enters the bout with a near spotless record, having won six straight while holding a 15-1 all-time record.
Jon “Bones” Jones (18-1) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (15-1)
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
Jon Jones (12-1 UFC) quickly rose as a fan favorite with exciting, inventive performances against Andre Gusmao and Stephan Bonnar. Jones then made short work of Jake O’Brien, picking up his first finish in the UFC before steamrolling The Ultimate Fighter 3’s Matt Hamill – although illegal 12-to-6 elbows from mount gave Jones a disqualification loss, the only loss of his career.
Following the Hamill bout, Jones brutalized Brandon Vera with elbows from guard, and then used elbows to finish Vladimir Matyushenko – each in the first round. After stopping The Ultimate Fighter 8 winner Ryan Bader with a guillotine choke, Jones was given a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title.
In his title shot, Jones overwhelmed PRIDE superstar Mauricio “Shogun” Rua with size and aggressiveness, becoming the only fighter to stop Rua by TKO. In his first title defense Jones showed patience aggression which led to a fourth round rear naked choke over former UFC champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Then he defeated another former champion as he choked out Lyoto Machida at UFC 140. Not yet finished with former champions, Jones then dispatched of former teammate Rashad Evans in a grudge match and then he submitted Vitor Belfort via keylock submission in a closely matched fight at UFC 152. Most recently the champion laid waste to Chael Sonnen with punches and elbows in the first round.
Jones, who was the youngest champion in UFC history, was a national JUCO champion while wrestling at Iowa Central Community College. Jones currently trains under Greg Jackson and owns six wins by submission and nine by TKO.
Alexander Gustafsson (7-1 UFC) also rose quickly as a fan favorite and a highly-touted prospect. The only loss on Gustafsson’s resume is to highly ranked super wrestler Phil Davis. In his UFC debut Gustafsson knocked out Jared Hamman at UFC 105. Following the submission loss to Davis, Gustafsson rebounded with a pair of rear naked choke submissions over Cyrille Diabate and James Te Huna stopping Matt Hamill with punches and elbows.
Currently riding a six fight win streak, Gustafsson comes into this fight as the only fighter to face Jon Jones with the height advantage on his side. Following his win over Hamill, Gustafsson scored a TKO victory over Vladimir Matyushenko and then won a relatively easy unanimous decision over Thiago Silva. Then at UFC on FOX 5, he faced Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and after a bloody three round battle, Gustafsson emerged with the decision victory.
He was scheduled to face Strikeforce and DREAM import Gegard Mousasi earlier this year but he was forced to withdraw after suffering a cut during training. Prior to joining the UFC, Gustafsson won his first eight professional bouts fighting for smaller organizations including SHOOT, KSW and Superior Challenge. ‘The Mauler’ currently trains out of Alliance MMA and was the Swedish Heavyweight Amateur Boxing Champion prior to starting his MMA career.
UFC 165 – Main Event Guest Panel Predictions:
Shayna Baszler (15-8, FCF Women’s Bantamweight Grand Prix Champion) – “Gustafsson is a badass but I’m taking Jones.”
Bas Boon (Head of Business Development at Glory Sports, Manager Golden Glory) – “My opinion is that if Jon Jones can be in the same shape as he has been before that nasty toe injury in his last fight (I hope it has healed well), I do not see any problems for Jon ‘Bones’ Jones to win by another devastating KO, I personally think he is the most exiting fighter out there!”
Jamie Varner (21-8-1-2, former WEC Lightweight Champion) – “Jon Jones wins this fight by whatever way he wants.”
Tito Ortiz (16-11-1, UFC Hall of Fame) – “Jon Jones with a second round TKO stoppage. If anyone is to beat my record, I am happy that Jones is the man to do it. He is a great champion.”
Scott Casber (Takedown Wrestling Radio) – “Arms and reach may spell the difference between Jones and Gustafsson at UFC 165. Both have incredible reach. Who’ll get inside or down to the mat first? That may be the problem each fighter looks to solve. Gustafsson is looking to derail Bones Jones winning train and become the man. Problem is I can’t find where anyone is equal to the former Iowa Central Community College wrestler. His record is incredible with the exception of the loss to Matt Hamill and that was a DQ, so….
End of the day Jones has the edge as an experienced winner in the cage. Do I like 19 fight dominant performers? I’d prefer a couple fights to go back and forth so a champ can establish and or re-establish himself as “The” guy but who’s going to deny Jon “Bones” Jones.”
Pat Miletich (29-7-2, First UFC Welterweight Champion, Founder Miletich Fighting Systems) – “Jon Jones by athletic ability in the 3rd round.”
Tonya Evinger (11-6, Matchmaker at Fight Hard MMA) – “Umm I’m going with Jon Jones… bam just like that lol.”
Paul Bradley (20-5-1, Strikeforce & UFC Veteran) – “Got to go with Gustafson. I think his reach and counter wrestling will be the missing link. I think he finally solves the puzzle. Alex by decision.”
Frank Shamrock (23-10-2, Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, WEC Light Heavyweight Champion & Strikeforce Middleweight Champion) – “The Bones of course!”
Andy Main (7-1-1, The Ultimate Fighter Alumni) – “Not that the string of legends Jon Jones has dismantled wasn’t enough, but I think the one question everyone has whether they’ll admit it or not is “what happens when he fights someone with reach”. I think Alexander has good enough striking to hang with Jones and could make for the most exciting fight we’ve seen out of the champ so far. However, if we think Master game-planner Greg “Yoda” Jackson is going to allow Jones to fight this fight where it might be competitive we are all sadly mistaken. Jones will be looking to back The Mauler up to the cage and put him on his back and unfortunately I don’t expect Alexander to have much for him there. I’m predicting Jon Jones by submission in the 3rd. But I’m hoping that the guy that just told the whole world he wants to box with Klitschko, is willing to stand make this a fun fight for everyone.”
Wes Sims (22-13-1-2, Team Hammer House) – “Logic tells me Jones but I’m a gambler and with those odds I’d take the dog-Gustafson.”
Junior Assuncao (13-5, UFC Veteran and Former XFC Lightweight Champion) – “Jon Jones via TKO in Round 2.”
Eric Red Schafer (13-7-2, UFC Veteran and black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) – “Jon Jones via superior wrestling and it will end with a TKO finish in round 3.”
Rick Hawn (15-2, Bellator Season 6 Lightweight Tournament Winner) – “I think Jones will win this fight in the second round by TKO. He’s too athletic for Gustafsson to deal with.”
CB Dollaway (13-4, UFC Veteran and NCAA Division I All-American) – “I am going with Jon Jones to score another UFC win.”
Jorge Rivera (20-9, UFC and Cage Rage Veteran) – “I like the champion winning by submission.”
Elvis Sinosic (The King of Rock & Rumble) – “There will be a lot of attention on this fight. With recent champions Silva and Henderson losing their belts even more eyes will be on Jones to see whether he can retain his aura of invincibility.
Alexander is a tough challenge for Jones. He brings heavy hands and improved MMA Wrestling and Grappling. He has the ability to pressure Jones and put the hurt on him. With his boxing accolades you know he’ll have the striking to go toe to toe with Jones. His strategy should be to get into Brawling range and “Maúl” Jones, he should pressure Jones and get in his face. The Mauler needs to throw lots of heavy leather and test Jones chin and see how he handles it.
Jones needs to do what he does. He needs to keep long range and use his length with his kicks and unorthodox attacks to keep Gus unbalanced. Jones needs to go back to his Bread and Butter, his takedowns and GnP. He’s shown a an effective mean streak and ability to punish opponents on the ground. Gus has shown he can be taken down. Jones has shown the best takedowns in the division. If Jones works his range, takedowns he will take this match.
In the end it will come down to who can impose their will and make the fight theirs. With the recent champions losing I think Jones will come in even more focused and it will be unlikely that he will underestimate Alexander in this match.
I am predicting that Jones will win via TKO in the later rounds.”
Guest Panel Predictions Results:
Jon Jones – 15
Alexander Gustafsson – 2
Undecided – 0
UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson
September 21, 2013
Air Canada Centre
Main Bouts (Pay-Per-View):
Jon Jones (18-1) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (15-1) – UFC light heavyweight title bout
Renan Barão (30-1) vs. Eddie Wineland (20-8-1) – UFC interim bantamweight title bout
Brendan Schaub (9-3) vs. Matt Mitrione (6-2)
Costa Philippou (12-2-1) vs. Francis Carmont (21-7)
Pat Healy (29-16) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (20-0)
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1):
Mike Ricci (8-3) vs. Myles Jury (12-0)
Ivan Menjivar (25-10) vs. Wilson Reis (16-4)
Chris Clements (11-4) vs. Stephen Thompson (7-1)
Mitch Gagnon (9-2) vs. Dustin Kimura (10-0)
Preliminary Bouts (UFC Facebook):
John Makdessi (11-2) vs. Renee Forte (8-2)
Michel Prazeres (16-1) vs. Jesse Ronson (13-2)
Roland Delorme (9-1) vs. Alex Caceres (8-5)
Nandor Guelmino (11-4-1) vs. Daniel Omielanczuk (15-3-1)
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