Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson put on one hell of a fight at UFC 165, the fans in Toronto were treated to a back and forth five round battle which saw Gustafsson make a great case for himself, and the title. The judges eventually scored the bout in the favor of the champion Jones, much to the dismay of many Mauler fans.
With (possibly) the greatest ever 205lb. title fight in the rear view mirror, and a potential rematch on the horizon, all that is left to do is analyze the biggest fight of the year thus far. Most fans and pundits are referring to the amount of damage and signisficant strikes that Gus landed, claiming that he should have earned the decision win.
I admit that, at a first glance, you could say that Gus earns the win against Jones last night. Such an exciting, fast paced fight with so much on the line can often cause emotions (and opinions) to run high. So lets take a look at the fight itself:
Jones outlanded Gustafsson with 134 significant strikes to 110, most of Jones' strikes were to the legs of Gus, and Gus certainly outboxed Bones with head and body shots. Gustafsson cut Jones in the opening round, and seemed to inflict more damage overall; but that may not be the case. Take a moment to analyze the fight metric report on the bout:
Although fight metric is not an official scoring system, it is recognized as a highly accurate report. As you can see, Jones outstruck Gus overall, with a higher accuracy rate. Although Gus had Bones in trouble early on, he did let the champion get right back in to the fight.
A saying that came to mind after this fight was 'to be the champion, you have to beat the champion'. Quite an obvious statement, but the meaning is between the lines; you have to take the belt, convincingly.
Being able to keep up with the champ, or an all time great, is not enough. There needs to be no question of the winner in my opinion. The truth of the matter is that Gus was impressive, and may beat Jones in the rematch, but he was just short of the victory line last night.
Jones is a smart fighter, and he showcased that by the boat load, but he is human. It's going to be a huge boost for Gustafsson, knowing that the reach advantage of Jones wasn't too much for him to handle. I think the second fight could be one of the biggest in UFC history, mainly because someone has finally managed to solve the puzzle of Jon Jones. Almost.