Jon Jones – a formidable foe to any opponent – goes into UFC 165 with an 8” reach advantage over rival Alexander Gustafsson. What can the Swede do to ruin Bones’ sixth title defense on Saturday, September 21?
Odds Shift towards Jones
UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones is the -832* heavy favourite to defend his title for a sixth time. Jones (18-1-0) is undefeated in open combat, with his only loss coming via disqualification against Matt Hamill. Despite dominating the fight, Jones was disqualified for a downward elbow strike.
Challenger Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson has drifted to +659* after opening at +600 to become the first fighter to beat Jones in open combat.
Both fighters enter the bout in great form. Jones has won his last 9 fights, while ‘The Mauler’ has beaten six men since losing to Phil Davis via submission at UFC 112.
Jones has the physical advantage
Both fighters are 26, employ orthodox stances and will make the 205lbs weight limit, but that is were the similarities end.
Gustafsson has a 1″ height advantage over Jones standing at 6’5″, however it is the champion’s superhuman reach that could prove decisive – as it has in most of his other fights. At 84.5″, Jones’ reach is an incredible 8″ longer than his opponent’s.
Another important factor is that Gustafsson has not fought since December 8th 2012 after withdrawing just days before fighting Gegard Mousasi because of a cut suffered in training. Will the Swede be undercooked for the biggest fight of his career?
With a 60% (9 KO wins) knockout percentage, ‘The Mauler’ has considerable striking power. Since joining the UFC he has improved his technique, becoming a dangerous prospect rather than a wild brawler. Importantly, the Swede’s aggression has not wilted – much to the fans delight.
Gustafsson may be at a reach disadvantage, but he’ll still attempt to keep the fight off the mat. Jones’ forte is as a wrestler, however he’s still developed into a premiere striker.
With a reach that gives him a natural advantage over any opponent, and the intelligence to employ it properly, he continues to make more accomplished standup fighters look average. His athletic approach ensures he delivers quick powerful blows, resulting in a 44% (9 KO wins) knockout percentage.
Stats wise both men land around 4 strikes per minute, while Jones has a 53% success rate compared to 36% for the challenger.
Wrestling, Grappling & Submissions
|Strikes landed per/min||3.94||3.98|
|Strikes absorbed per/min||1.44||-2.29|
As a wrestler, Jones is amongst the best in the business. He is still yet to be taken down in the Octagon and has an impressive 62% takedown success rate himself. He unsettles his opponents by alternating between striking and wrestling attacks, which keeps his opponents guessing – and off balance.
Gustafsson’s wrestling used to be considered a weakness, but since his defeat to Phil Davis, he sought council from the man who upstaged him, which has helped him greatly. However, he uses his wrestling in reverse – to keep the action standing – which is why he has a lowly 50% success rate.
Like wrestling, grappling is an area the challenger has really developed. In eight UFC wins he has two submissions, just one less than the number of knockouts he’s scored. Furthermore, since losing to Davis in 2010, Gustafsson has never really been in trouble on the mat – which includes his fight against Mauricio Rua.
With that said, Jones is a monster. Since becoming UFC champion, three of Jones’ five victories have come via submission. With his gangly limbs and a varied arsenal, he is becoming regarded as one of the most dangerous submission fighters in the division. Jones has submitted six fighters in his 19 fights and attempts on average 0.86 submissions per 15 minutes.
– Article courtesy of Pinnacle Sports