It was September 21st 2013 when we witnessed the greatest Light Heavyweight title fight of all time and one of the greatest UFC title fights of all time. On 29 December 2018 we finally get the Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson rematch we’ve all been craving. Despite complications with Jones’ drug testing results causing UFC 232 to be moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, this fight will still go on. It’s no secret Jones has had his troubles, having been suspended three times by the UFC, but they’ll be glad to have the superstar and possibly greatest of all time back fighting again. Alexander Gustafsson has had a more quiet journey since their first fight, having only fought five times in the five years since, although his last performance was arguably his best in the UFC.
Jones defeated Daniel Cormier in his last fight back in July 2017 at UFC 214 via TKO, which was overturned to a no-contest after Jones failed a drug test. Gustafsson last fought even longer ago back in May 2017, where he put on a beautiful display of boxing against Glover Teixeira in Stockholm, Sweden. Both men may have looked spectacular in their last fights, but I’d expect there may be some ring rust on account of both fighters having those layoffs.
As previously alluded to, the first fight was a classic. We have never truly seen Jones defeated, but nobody has come closer to doing it than Gustafsson. Jones has never fought someone as tall as Gustafsson, and it appeared to make a difference given Gustafsson’s success closing the distance and terrifically utilizing his boxing. Two things in particular stood out from the first fight; Jones’ left high kick and Gustafsson’s superior boxing. Jones used that kick throughout and in general had the kicking advantage, but Gustafsson hit him more than he’s ever been hit, out-striking him in both head and body strikes. Here’s how I scored the first fight:
Round 1 to Gustafsson: Although Jones came out very relaxed, Gustafsson quickly made him very uncomfortable landing strikes at will. Gustafsson cut and took Jones down for the first time in his UFC career.
Round 2 to Jones: You could tell Jones knew he was in for a tough fight, as he came out even more aggressive in this round. Gustafsson continued to hit Jones at will, but Jones utilized his kicks more throughout the round. This round was extremely close, I gave it to Jones based on him being the aggressor/the one moving forward.
Round 3 to Gustafsson: This round was extremely close just like round 2, either could’ve gone to Jones or Gustafsson. Gustafsson threw more damaging strikes than Jones during this round and put together some fantastic combinations.
Round 4 to Jones: Despite Gustafsson doing very well in this round he was nearly finished, only makes sense for Jones to get the nod. Gustafsson very well could’ve won the round until Jones hit him with that spinning elbow inside the last minute of the round.
Round 5 to Jones: Gustafsson started the round pretty sharp, but after a while he was very tired, even placing his hands on his hips at one point and probably still not fully recovered from being hurt in round 4. Jones was finally able to take him down and in my opinion definitely won this round.
Fight prediction: Rumors surround the first fight; did Jones take Gustafsson seriously? Jones claims he didn’t and probably could’ve trained harder for the fight. Does that mean Jones wins easier this time? I don’t think so and that is largely due to the long layoffs both gentlemen have had. I see a long feeling out process as both men get back into their rhythm and for that reason I do think it will yet again be a close fight. I just can’t pick against Jones until we see proof he can be beaten. Jones wins via split decision.
Photo Credit: MMA Mania