2013 Fight of the Year: Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson

jones-gusFireworks went off at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada last week (Sat. Sept. 21, 2013) during the main event of UFC 165: Jones vs Gustafsson. It became a night for the history books when Swedish challenger, Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson went to war against the seemingly superhuman UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Jon “Bones” Jones in what is already being dubbed as “Fight of the Year.” New York’s Jon Jones is an absolute beast who had been on a tear in the UFC’s light heavyweight division since first stepping foot into the Octagon against André Gusmão at UFC 87, a little over five years ago. Jones gathered six impressive wins, which included four finishes and, in 2011, earned himself a shot at Maurico “Shogun” Rua and his light heavyweight title at UFC 128. “Bones” brutally defeated Rua via third round TKO and, at 23 years of age, became the youngest champion in UFC history. He proceeded to score five successful dominant title defenses including four finishes and a unanimous decision victory over former friend and training partner “Suga” Rashad Evans. Gustafsson had been hailed one of the top fighters coming out of Europe. The Swedish-born fighter had made a name for himself on the local circuit overseas, entering UFC with an undefeated 8-0 record and he made a big splash in his promotional debut with a 41 second knockout of Jared Hamman. “The Mauler” was riding a seven fight winning streak in the UFC’s light heavyweight division ever since teaming up with national champion wrestler Phil Davis at Alliance MMA, the only man to defeat him. The work with Davis proved pivotal when it came time to deal with Jones’ offensive wrestling. Jones had easily beaten all of his opponents and was expected to make quick work of Gustafsson, as betting lines had him as a whopping 10-to-1 favorite over the challenger. The fight, however, told a different story, and very unexpectedly stole the show. “Not only was it the Fight of the Year, but it was the best fight I’ve ever seen in all my years of watching the UFC,” says Lucas Wright, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt from Las Vegas, NV. The Alliance MMA product from Sweden touched gloves with Jones, and then they went to war. Fans were immediately surprised, as the big underdog Gustafsson not only held his own but got the better of Jones, drawing first blood en route to winning the first round. Right away, everyone watching knew — this was going to be a fight. It was an extremely close battle that saw both fighters have their moments, each man showcasing tremendous amounts of heart but ultimately it was the champion Jones who poured it on in the tail end of the fight, securing the final two rounds on the judges’ scorecards to walk away with a close and controversial unanimous decision in one of the most talked about fights at office water coolers in years. “It was really close, man. I want to see a rematch. If they fight again, I think Gustafsson will take it,” says George Cruz, a fight fan from San Bernardino, CA. UFC President Dana White has stated that a rematch is likely to take place, but it will have to wait while current number one contender Glover Teixeira gets a crack at the title. Regardless of Gustafsson not getting an immediate rematch, one thing is for certain, Jones vs Gustafsson II will happen, and it won’t just be a fight. It will be an event.

Written by Gabe Killian

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