After an unprecedented week of venue switching and dissertations on picograms, Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson laced them up for a second time at UFC 232 tonight (Sat., Dec. 29, 2018) inside The Forum in Inglewood, California. The pair first collided at UFC 165 back in Sept. 2013, with “Bones” escaping Toronto, Canada, with a razor-close unanimous decision. Gustafsson promised that their rematch would be different, while Jones insisted he didn’t take their initial encounter seriously.
In the end, it was Jones who talked the talk and walked the walk, stopping Gustafsson in the third round via technical knockout to once again regain the 205-pound title that he has never lost inside the Octagon.
The two locked up early, but quickly disengaged. Moments later the action was stopped after an inadvertent low blow, but it restarted quickly. Gustafsson landed a nice knee to the body, with Jones responding with low kicks and punches upstairs. Gustafsson stalked Jones for the beginning of the fight, but Jones was the one who was landing more significant shots such as a short, solid elbow to his face. Jones mixed up things with a takedown attempt around the two-minute mark, but Gustafsson was able to break free and land a crafty Superman punch during their next exchange. Jones coasted toward the end of the round, perhaps conserving energy for the later rounds.
Jones started the second round with a straight front kick to the body, which he followed up with more body work. Jones whiffed on a looping left, but then connected with a hard kick to Gustafsson’s ribs. Jones opted for another takedown attempt, but once again Gustafsson defended well. Jones launched another hard kick into Gustafsson’s side, but then took an accidental poke to the eye that momentarily stopped the action. Gustafsson began to open up on the restart, pumping jabs and punches like pistons. Nothing of significance landed, though, as Jones circled out of danger, staying at the end of the Swede’s punches. Jones punished him with another kick, and then several more, which appeared to hurt Gustafsson’s leg. Jones then landed a nice spinning back kick at the buzzer that made Gustafsson wince.
Jones cracked him with a hard left to start the third round, while Gustafsson returned fire with a partially-blocked left hand. Jones finally got the fight to the ground, trapping Gustafsson’s leg as he tried to work from side control. Jones got into side control and worked for a crucifix, but Gustafsson rolled to his belly to escape danger. But, in the process, he made his position worse as Jones angled to take his back. He then sat up and began dropping bombs in Gustafsson’s ear, forcing the referee to close in on the action. Jones landed about 10 unanswered head bouncers before the referee stepped in and waived off the action.
Jones is once again the Light Heavyweight champion. But, who knows how long his reign will last or how soon he will fight again. That’s because nothing is ever guaranteed when it comes to Jones and all the crap he puts himself — and fight fans — through outside the cage.
He’s still only 31 years young. And if he can keep on the straight and narrow, he has several big money match ups on the horizon, including a trilogy match with his biggest rival, Daniel Cormier, who he called out in his post-fight interview. Nevertheless, it’s great to have him back in the cage, but as we all know, we need to proceed with caution.
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