This Saturday night live from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada the UFC will present UFC 165: Jones vs Gustafsson on pay per view. Sitting on top of the card is a light heavyweight title bout between current UFC champion Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson.
Jon Jones comes into this fight looking to defend his title for a light heavyweight record sixth time. Jones is also currently walking through a nine fight win streak. A win over Gustafsson would make it ten in a row for the 26 year old Jones and build on his current record of consecutive win in the UFC light heavyweight division. Jones professional record is 18-1.
Jones is such a tough match up for anyone. His natural athleticism, 6'4" frame, and 84.5 inch reach is a problem for anyone in the UFC's light heavyweight division. Even worse for potential opponents is his use of his length and his deceptive strength.
Jones is a pro when it comes to utilizing his reach with both his hands and his feet. He uses his length to keep opponents outside and in a zone where only he can score. In the clinch Jones typically works to get his opponents to the ground. He has shown that his strength and use of leverage because of his height is on a high level.
While there is not much to be said about the guard of Jones due to the fact that Jones has not spent time on his back during his MMA career; there is no doubt that Jones is not a guy you want on top when you are on your back. Jones has devastating elbows and a very underrated submission game.
Of the eighteen wins held by Jones, fifteen of those victories have come by either knockout or submission. Jones is a finisher.
If there are any holes in the game of Jon Jones, we have not seen it. However, there are some questions when it comes to a fighter attacking straight down the middle. Both Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evan had some success throwing combinations straight down the middle, but landing those combos and landing them consistently is certainly easier said then done. Jones long limbs can also put him at risk of submissions. Vitor Belfort seemed only seconds away from breaking the champ's arm, but as we all know Jones was able to get his arm free and eventually win by submission.
The question does still remain, can Jones fight from his back?
Number one contender Alexander Gustafsson walks into the cage this Saturday with a 15-1 record and six fight win streak. Gustafsson has finished twelve of his fifteen wins and like Jones has fought his way up the ladder in the UFC's light heavyweight division. This will be Gustafsson's first five round fight.
Gustafsson is 6'5" and posses a 76.5 inch reach. In almost any other fight that would be an advantage. Not in this fight. Against Jones, Gustafsson is giving up eight inches of reach.
Gustafsson has solid boxing and an equally solid ground game to go along with it. He does have knockout power and has shown in previous fights that he can push a hard pace as well.
Gustafsson is a solid fighter, however, he comes up short in many areas when matched up with Jon Jones.
Jones will have the reach, strength, wrestling, and championship experience advantage over Gustafsson. Gustafsson should have an advantage in the footwork department and if he able to use his footwork to get inside on Jones he could find some openings. With that being said, should Gustafsson be able to get on the inside of Jones you have to expect Jones would wrap him up and take him down.
It is hard to a place where Gustafsson would have a decisive advantage. Look for Jones to use his diverse striking and unorthodox style to keep Gustafsson at a distance. Jones will eventually either pick Gustafsson apart, wear him down, take him down and finish him on the ground. Expect this fight to be over by the fourth round with Jones retaining his title.
UFC 165: Jones vs Gustafsson airs live on pay per view this Saturday night with preliminary fights airing on Facebook at 5:00 p.m. central and on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 7:00 p.m.