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Monday, 09/23/2013, 12:35 pm

Opposing View | Why Jon Jones Beat Alexander Gustafsson

At UFC 165, we witnessed one of the greatest title fights in the history of the sport.

Jon Jones stepped into the octagon ready to defend his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, but “Bones” did not expect the challenge that was about to cross his path to victory. Alexander Gustafsson left his all in the octagon and went five full rounds with the champion and he had the momentum of the crowd behind him. Those watching at home and in attendance had expected a title change, but once the decision was announced the live audience booed in protest; Jon Jones had retained by way of unanimous decision.

Within seconds, there were posts on message boards and Twitter claiming the judges had been paid off to award the decision to Jon Jones. While the judge who scored the fight 49-46 in favor of the champion needs a new prescription for their glasses, the other two judges that scored the fight 48-47 do not deserve any of the flack that they are getting. Sure, it was a close bout. Gustafsson may have dealt early damage to Jones and gave him a severe enough cut to almost stop the fight, but the contest inside the octagon is not judged by who lost the most blood and a winner is not decided by who got carried out on a stretcher.

Fights are judged by a round-by-round basis. What that essentially means is that judges “Delete History” on their brains at the start of each round so there is no influence from what happened in Round 1 at the start of Round 2.

Going back to Twitter, fans and fighters alike seem to agree that Gustafsson took home rounds one and three while Jones easily won four and five. In this case the round that decided who took home the championship, ironically, laid within round two.

The solution to this dispute should be simple enough: Pull up the UFC’s Judging Criteria within the Rules and Regulations Book and look at FightMetric’s stats of Round 2.

If a casual mixed martial arts fan missed the fight on Saturday and simply looked at the stats above, they would assume that Jon Jones should be awarded the round. However, numbers don’t always tell the entire tale. Certain variables come into play such as aggressiveness and octagon control so let’s give Gustafsson the benefit of the doubt and break it down move by move.

C) Judges shall evaluate mixed martial arts techniques, such as effective striking, effective grappling, control of the ring/fighting area, effective aggressiveness and defense.
D) Evaluations shall be made in the order in which the techniques appear in (c) above, giving the most weight in scoring to effective striking, effective grappling, control of the fighting area and effective aggressiveness and defense.
E) Effective striking is judged by determining the total number of legal strikes landed by a contestant.

STRIKING: What’s stated above gives the nod to Jones in terms of effective striking. Gustafsson landed eleven less significant strikes than his opponent and the film provides further proof that Jones landed the more powerful shots. He found success with his head kicks, body shots and leg kicks. Jones’ ability to repeatedly land the oblique kicks helped him out a lot. The only time that Gustafsson was really able to land anything powerful was with thirty seconds left in the round where he landed a short uppercut and a open-palm hook (Pancrase style).

G) Fighting area control is judged by determining who is dictating the pace, location and position of the bout. Examples of factors to consider are countering a grappler’s attempt at takedown by remaining standing and legally striking, taking down an opponent to force a ground fight, creating threatening submission attempts, passing the guard to achieve mount, and creating striking opportunities.

OCTAGON CONTROL: The defending champion dictated where the fight went 75% of the round. He was constantly pushing the pace and the only time Gustafsson was in the middle of the octagon was when he walked away from the action and reset in the center after being too close to the fence or throwing a combination. Even then, Jones was quick to push him away from there and continue to dictate the action. Like I had previously mentioned, Gustafsson finally got the upper hand with only thirty seconds left in the round. While that was the momentum he needed to win round three, it was nowhere near enough time for him to claim round two.

H) Effective aggressiveness means moving forward and landing a legal strike.
I) Effective defense means avoiding being struck, taken down or reversed while countering with offensive attacks.

EFFECTIVE OFFENSE/DEFENSE: Neither man took their opponent down this round, but Gustafsson defended two more takedowns than Jones. That’s where the good news ends for Gustafsson, though. Jones did a fantastic job at effective defense, only letting 29% of Gustafsson’s strikes land (15 of 51). Jones’ success rate was 62% (26 of 42).

Should Gustafsson have walked out with the championship slung over his shoulder? Did Jones deserve the victory? Did the judges make the right call? Those are all hypothetical questions that have no effect on the outcome of the fight. It’s fun to make arguments for both sides and I hope the two meet again so we can have another exciting contest. I’m just trying to provide the facts.


0 Responses to “Opposing View | Why Jon Jones Beat Alexander Gustafsson”

  1. ufc sucks says:

    this fight shouldn’t take a break down to see who won. how could they score significant strike for jones. I guess significant means blocked kicks and less damage! gustafsson won the more effective striking, ( just look at jones’s face) grappling you could score even cause there was non, take down defense went 3 to 1 for gustafsson, cage control should have went gustafsson’s way because he came forward more and stuffed every take down. jones had to constantly throw the spinning kick just to keep him away.

  2. UFC 84 Forever says:

    Definitely side with this, Gus did a good job but he didn’t win. Doing well against a good guy doesn’t merit the win automatically.

    • ufc sucks says:

      one sided fight Gus beat the the shit out of him! out of the 25mins jones might have won 4mins of the fight. now we get to see the ufc try to sell jones loss like are eyes were wrong. I’ve watched mma for over ten years that was one of the worst decisions i have ever seen. (it was has bad has Hammel vs Bisping). If you think jones won its because you wish Dana was you daddy and never go against daddy!

    • GRT 3000 says:

      Exactly – Gus came to fight, made it a war, but he didn’t win. Now b/c Jones didn’t absolutely murder him the decision is full of controversy. That plus allot of people hates Jones just b/c.

  3. matias says:

    Gustafsson won the first 3 , at the end of round 4 (before the spinning elbow and rush that followed)the head strikes were 88 to 12, Gustafsson had 70 more strikes connected, it was a striking war, he took jones down in the first rounds and stuffed the takedowns how did he not win the first 3 ??????

    jones won the 5th definitely and won the last minute of the fourth, because up to the spinning elbow that had been the most uuncompetitive round by jones

    • jdog says:


      Look at the stats and watch the fight again, the cut was caused by an almost missed punch, it barely touched Jones when it hit him. Hell it didn’t even make his head turn or move back that is how it barely landed. Then look at the rest of the fight again. Round 1 was close the only major thing was the takedown throughout the ENTIRE fight Jones was landing head kicks. Alex was trying to counter most of the fight. If Alex had pushed the fight instead of countered in round 2 I would agree he won the fight but being on your bicycle the entire fight meant he was not as aggressive as the Champ accept for in the first round. In the 3rd round he was a bit more aggressive but that is only because he caught a kick and dumped the champ. He didn’t take him down that round he dumped him and Jones got back up. Again most of the entire fight Ales was going backwards trying to counter. If the do a rematch and he moves forward he will probably take the belt but on his bicycle he never will

      • duncan says:

        first thing, fight metric says jones landed 28 significant strikes out of 28 total strikes landed round 1 and 26 significant strikes out of 26 total strikes landed round 2. i re-watched the fight and some of those strikes landed are in no way shape or form significant. secondly, they gave both round 1 and 2 to gustafsson. sometimes i think fight metric is off. thirdly, gus had the better ring generalship which you can’t really give aggressiveness to jones from. alexanders plan was to move around and jones mostly stiff armed and threw push kicks at the knee to keep his distance. round 4 is debatable because jones only landed those 6 significant strikes in the last 30 seconds which gus recovered from. in no way was he saved by the bell so if you are judging jones on volume and gustafsson on damage and give the nod to jones you can’t not give gus that round. like i said it’s debatable. instead of focusing on the fighter you like, watch the opposing fighter the whole fight and you will see a completely different fight. first time around i had alexander, second time i watched i had jones but thats a fight everybody should watch at least 3 times.

  4. Big Daddy says:

    The Judges were definitely paid off! They don’t publish explanations for other fighters that get robbed of a fight but this, no this needs an explanation.

    • Even if the judges were paid.. says:

      what the hell are you gonna do, big guy? ban the UFC? start a petition? NO, you gonna just cry about here on the internet.
      go get some Kleenex, boy.

  5. Yo says:

    At matias. Great analysis. Agreed. I don’t hate on any fighter but jones lost. Plain and simple. Either way it really showed that he’s nowhere near being the p4p best. His reach and size always influenced in his wins. And Gustaffson exposed that.

  6. pk9grrr says:

    load of crap we all know that gus won and if it wasnt for his recklessness in round 4 ,he would have put no doubts in everyones mind.Props to both ,theres more holes in jones game then in gusses ,it only took someone whos just as big to show that ..hint hint

  7. Taimanglo says:

    If you ask me who won this fight. I would tell you it was a draw. Jones did just enough in the closing rounds to even out this bitch.

  8. Dan says:

    Well, I might have accepted a close split decision, but all three judges scoring it in favour of Jones… nah.

    Also, why did they change the stats after the fight if not to justify an unjust decision?

  9. Hahaha What A Joke says:

    LOL! Stats were changed. Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg watch fight-metrics as the fight proceeds and Mike Goldberg STATED at the end of the 5th round, “It is gustuffson ahead on the score cards”.

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