HOLY SH*T! Sorry about that, but this fight deserved the sentiment. This Light Heavyweight championship bout between champion, Jon Jones and challenger, Alexander Gustafsson turned into one of best MMA fights of all time. Gustafsson not only proved to be the absolute toughest test of Jones’ career, he also did what no man has yet to do, take Jones down. In a bloddy (literally bloddy) war, Gustafsson showed amazing takedown defense, only being taken down once by Jones. This fight was a stand-up battle, where both men traded a plethora of punches and kicks. Gustafsson showed his superior boxing by landing solid punches throughout and although he has the shorter reach, I believe he was able to use his reach to his advantage even more so than Jones. However, Jones was able to land consistently throughout with many kicks and spinning attacks. Jones used his elbows and knees to badly hurt Gustafsson very late in round four where he almost finished the fight, however, the round would come to a close. In the fifth and final round, most had it even on their scorecards. Jones would come out in round five as the fresher fighter and would land multiple head kicks that would have put most other fighters away, but not Gustafsson. Once, the final bell rang, Jones would be declared the winner and would now hold the Light Heavyweight record for consecutive title defenses at six. Both men proved just how tough they are in this one and yes, Gustafsson did lose the fight, but he truly put on the best performance to date in his MMA career. I definitely see a rematch between these two men in the very near future.
Co-Main Event: #1 Renan Barao def. Eddie Wineland via TKO (Round 2):
For the second time, Renan Barao has successfully defended his interim UFC Bantamweight championship. Round one was a fairly even striking match between the two men. Wineland was having success defending the takedown attempts of Barao and using his feints to create openings. However, very early in round two, Barao would land a very unorthodox spinning back kick to the face of Wineland. The kick would knock Wineland down and Barao would pounce on Wineland with punches until the ref peeled him off, giving him the TKO victory. Barao should be meeting Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz in his next bout to unify the title, and that one will be a barnburner.
Brendan Schaub proved to be the better of the “TUF 10” fighters, making this one short and sweet. The first few minutes of the fight took place on the feet where Schaub landed some clean hooks, one which cut Mitrione. The only offense Mitrione was able to accumulate was a few hard leg kicks. Nonetheless, Schaub would take Mitrione down towards the end of the round and while Mitrione was attempting to get back to his feet, the jiu-jitsu brown belt Schaub would lock up a tight d’arce choke. Mitrione would show resiliency, refusing to tap out and would go unconscious, ending the fight.
Francis Carmont def. #7 Costa Philippou via Unanimous Decision:
Well… this one clearly didn’t go the way I expected it to at all. In the first round Carmont would come straight out of the gate and take Philippou down. Camont would keep top position for the whole round and while Philippou attacked with submissions off his back, Carmont clearly dominated round one. Nothing changed at all in rounds two and three. While it’s obvious that Philippou clearly has a lot of work to do in the wrestling department, Francis Carmont proved himself and I will most definitely not sleep on him again.
Khabib Nurmagomedov def. #10 Pat Healy via Unanimous Decision:
21-0, the streak of Khabib Nurmagomedov continues. The tale in this one was the explosive takedowns of Nurmagomedov. While Healy was able to come forward and land some shots in round one, Khabib was able to land big uppercuts and flying knees when Healy would do so. In rounds two and three it would be all Khabib, as he would continue pressing for the takedown and would ultimately smother Healy in round three. At the end of this one it was clear that Nurmagomedov is a top ten Lightweight in the UFC and could be one, possibly two big wins away from a title shot.
Preliminary Card Results:
Myles Jury def. Mike Ricci via Split-Decision
Wilson Reis def. (#10) Ivan Menjivar via Unanimous Decision
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson def. Chris Clements via KO (Round 2)
Mitch Gagnon def. Dustin Kimura via Submssion (Guillotine/Round 1)
John Makdessi def. Renee Forte via KO (Round 1)
Michel Prazeres def. Jesse Ronson via Split-Decision
Alex Caceres def. Roland Delorme via Split-Decision
Daniel Omielanczuk def. Nandor Guelmino via TKO (Round 3)
My Prediction Results (This Year): 12-7
* Predictions began as of UFC Fight Night 28
My Prediction Results (This Event): 7-6
Correct Picks: Jon Jones, Renan Barao, Brendan Schaub, Myles Jury, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, John Makdessi, Daniel Omielanczuk
Photos Courtesy of Ester Lin/MMA Fighting