Saturday's UFC 165 main event was promoted as a bout where Jon Jones may have met his physical match in Alexander Gustafsson. When the night was over not only did that marketing method seem effective but the UFC almost had a new light heavyweight champion. However, Jones was able to score the unanimous decision victory and defend his title for a record sixth time.
Jones left the Octagon with his 205 pound title by taking the bout via the judges scores of 49-46, 48-47 and 48-47. The fans in attendance responding with boos as they disagreed with what was clearly a close bout from start to finish.
Gustafsson exhibited an ability to affect the champion that no other challenger had at this point in time. “The Mauler” used a very clean boxing advantage to tag Jones in the face multiple times, cutting him in the very first round. Jones would score with kicks to the body and the head but the round would be decided when Alex would take down “Bones” for the first time in his career.
Jones came out with a sense of urgency in the second round and would land some of his best shots in the bout. Mixing in leg, body and head kicks, Jones would take control of this round as he would control much of the positioning. Gustafsson would still stuff every take down attempt from the champion in what was perhaps the closest round of the fight.
The third would be another round for Gustafsson as he landed multiple combinations to the champion's face. It would be the fourth and fifth round where Jones looked to take advantage of the champion's obligation to fight five rounds. He would have the challenger hurt in the fourth round and nearly finished before the buzzer would sound. Jones would score his only takedown of the night in the fifth round but Alexander used the cage to get back to his feet before taking any serious damage. Jones would have him staggered once again after multiple head kicks but Alexander would not go away; exchanging blows until the final bell.
“I've been asking for a dogfight for a long time, and I finally got that dogfight I was looking for,” said the reigning champion. “I got the victory, and I got to prove a lot to myself. I've got to do a lot of work in the gym to improve my game.”
Jones wasn't the only champion to defend his title as Renan Barao needed less than two rounds to put away Eddie Wineland and keep his bantamweight title.
Wineland looked effective in the first round of the contest as he stayed aggressive against the champion. However, Renan would come out of the break and need just 35 seconds to end his night of work. A spinning back kick dropped the challenger and allowed Barao to pounce and finish with strikes; becoming the first man to stop Wineland in such a fashion.
UFC 165 didn't feature a whole slew of exciting bouts but the main event was more than enough to make up for the total card. Jon Jones faced his toughest challenge and Alexander Gustafsson earned a horde of new fans. The UFC has to be pleased with the outcome of the bout as they have an opportunity for even an even bigger rematch.
Jon Jones defeated Alexander Gustafsson via unanimous decision.
Renan Barao defeated Eddie Wineland via second round TKO.
Brendan Schaub defeated Matt Mitrione via first round submission.
Francis Carmont defeated Costas Philippou via unanimous decision.
Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Pat Healy via unanimous decision.
Myles Jury defeated Mike Ricci via split decision.
Wilson Reis defeated Ivan Menjivar via unanimous decision.
Stephen Thompson defeated Chris Clements via second round TKO.
Mitch Gagnon defeated Dustin Kimura via first round submission.
John Makdessi defeated Renee Forte via first round KO.
Michel Richard Cunha dos Prazeres defeated Jesse Ronson via split decision.
Alex Caceres defeated Roland Delorme via split decision.
Daniel Omielanczuk defeated Kandor Guelmino via third round KO.