Welcome back, my little shit ducks! For this SBoF, I’m gonna focus on the title fight of UFC 165: Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson. I will throw my opinion on the decision into the muck and mire of opinions that are gunking up the interwebs but I’ll also be delving into the so-called controversy of the decision. More to the point, why there is such a big controversy and why this always seems to happen when there is a close fight. Jones retained his title but a lot of people felt The Swede got a straffknulla from the judges.
When I watch an exciting fight like this, I find it hard to accurately score it. Especially when there are close rounds. I have a gut feeling, an impression of who won a round but I’m more caught up in watching the drama unfold and excitedly anticipating a potential fight-ending or momentum-shifting moment.
There was much talk leading up to the fight of Gus’ height and reach and how Jones, for the first time, would not have the huge reach advantage that he almost always enjoys inside the octagon. And that was certainly a factor. The Swede was able to land from the range that Jones is so comfortable and effective in. Combine that with Gus’ superior speed and technical boxing ability and we suddenly had ourselves a fight. This wasn’t a shock though as both these attributes of “The Mauler” were known going into the fight. What was surprising was the vast improvement in his wrestling both defensively and offensively. In the first round, Gus was able to take Jones down -which is something that no one has been able to do in the Champion’s UFC career, despite having fought world-class wrestlers like Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen.
After losing the first round, Jones adapted and began relying heavily on his kicks -to the legs and head mostly. The head kicks, despite being accurate, didn’t have a lot of power behind them and many were blocked or partially blocked by the challenger. But for the second and third rounds, Gustafsson was repeatedly landing his punches and busting Jones up.
So heading into the fourth round, I have Mr. Mauler up all three rounds. However, the second round was tough to score. If I remember correctly, I think the Champ landed more but Gus was landing with more power and doing more damage as evidenced by Jones’ face which was a battered pastiche of swollen lips and a nearly shut right eye that was weeping blood like some kind of stigmata-like Christian iconography.
In the fourth round, the momentum was continuing to go the Swede’s way and he was handily winning the round until the end when Bones used one of his best weapons –unpredictability in the form of a spinning back elbow that stunned Gustafsson and was followed up by a knee and punches and short elbows. Gus looked to be in big trouble before the bell. Was that enough to steal the round for the Champ? I think so but an argument could be made that while Alexander was taking hard shots and was certainly ROCKED as Rogan likes to say, he never dropped. Still, I think it was significant enough to give Bones the fourth.
The fifth round showed both men exhausted and beaten up. Gus wilted quite suddenly mid-round and if Bones wasn’t so spent himself he might’ve been able to get the finish. While Alex is pushing forward on fumes and heart alone, Jones lands his first takedown of the fight. And though the challenger is able to scoot to the cage and get back up, this was quite clearly Jones’ round.
What an amazing fight! As I waited for the decision, I thought that The Swede had done more damage overall and I felt he had taken the first three rounds even the admittedly very close second. But really, the only rounds I was overwhelmingly certain of were the first for Gus and the fifth for Jones. I thought we may have a split with 48-47 scores going either way.
Official scores 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 all for Jones with only judge Chris Lee giving the third round to the Champion. Okay… That round was kinda close but clearly Gus’ in my opinion. So Chris Lee may’ve been wondering what was gonna happen on Breaking Bad during that round, who knows? But either way, certainly not a “robbery”… right?
Wow WTF judges u suck something that I can’t say. You suck. You are the reason im scared to NOT have a second job. U suck. #BULLSHIT
— Kenny Robertson (@170Kenny) September 22, 2013
3 rounds to 2. There’s nothing worse than leaving it to the judges. F*ckn idiots
— Chris Leben (@cripplerufc) September 22, 2013
I’m sorry but that’s bullshit.
— michael (@bisping) September 22, 2013
#UFC165 That was BS! Gustaffson won that fight!!
— Martin Kampmann (@MartinKampmann) September 22, 2013
Wow. Okay, then…
And there were people on the other side as well saying that anyone who thought Gustafsson won was an idiot that didn’t understand the scoring system and so on… But C’MON! It was a close fight -as evidenced by the differing opinions. Just because you don’t agree with a decision does not automatically make it “A ROBBERY!”
I went back and watched the fight again. Since I was watching on UFC.TV, I was able to watch it from the blue and red corner cameras offering different angles than the broadcasted fight. I sat there looking analytically at each strike, trying to add them up in my head, factoring how much weight to give to a hard jab vs a not so hard head kick and so on and so on… and, y’know what? It didn’t become any clearer. All said and done, I was still just left with the “feeling” that Gustafsson won the fight. But I have my bias too. I picked Jones to win but was so impressed with the Swede giving the man many consider the pound for pound best the fight of his life that I really wanted him to win. So who knows? Jones was given the W. in a close and fucking awesome fight. Gus’ stock has risen immensely and a rematch is all but inevitable. So, look forward to that and please shut the fuck up about robberies. ‘Kay? Thanks.
I apologize that this column wasn’t as funny as most but hey, enjoy this picture of a very happy John Makdessi celebrating his win.
Til next time, icemigos…