By Jaime C. Feal
Jon Jones survived his toughest fight yet, winning one of the greatest title fights in the history of the UFC. Gustafsson was able to keep pace with the champion for most of the fight, cutting him over the right eye early in the fight, and clearly winning several stand-up exchanges. Nevertheless, “Bones” proved why he is one of the greatest, as he sets a new record for most consecutive defenses of the UFC light heavyweight title. Renan Barao was able to once again defend his interim Bantamweight title with a stunning highlight reel knockout of Eddie Wineland. With the “real” bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz now having been sidelined for two years due to a torn ACL, Barao really needs to be anointed the official champion already, but it appears Zuffa will continue to wait for Cruz to get healthy. Starting off the main card, Khabib Nurmagomedov continued his unbeaten ways by defeating Pat “Bam Bam” Healy. After the fight, Nurmagomedov asked for a title shot, and although he is 21-0, it may be a bit too early to match him up against Anthony Pettis. In a battle of rising middleweight contenders Francis “Limitless” Carmont won a decision victory over boxer Costa Philippou.
Heavyweight Division (265 lbs.):
Brendan “The Hybrid” Schaub (5-2, 1-0 UFC) vs. Matt Mitrione (8-1, 0-0 UFC)
Mitrione refuses to touch gloves to start. Both fighters feinting the first strike. Schaub grazes Mitrione with a right. Big leg kick from Mitrione. Nice right hand from Schaub. Mitrione walks forward and lands a left body kick. Nice inside leg kick from Mitrione. Schaub rushes forward with a combination of hooks and gets through with a couple, then takes Mitrione down. Schaub in half guard, working for a D’arce choke. Mitrione in deep trouble, gives the ref the thumbs up, but then goes out cold, and Yves Lavigne is forced to pull Schaub off the unconscious Mitrione.
Brendan “The Hybrid” Schaub wins by technical submission (D’arce choke) at 4:06 of Round 1.
UFC Interim Bantamweight Championship (135 lbs.):
Renan Barao (19-3, 11-3 UFC) vs. Eddie Wineland (11-1, 7-1 UFC)
Wineland begins pawing with the jab. Inside leg kick for Wineland. Nice left hook from Wineland. Inside leg kick from Barao, nice straight right counter from Wineland. Barao clinches up with Wineland, but Eddie reverse him against the cage. Ref breaks the fighters, Barao misses a high kick. Wineland lands an outside leg kick. Barao misses with a spinning kick, Wineland lands a decent combo. Good uppercut from Barao. Leg kick from the champion lands. Barao shoots for a takedown but gets stuffed. Nice counter right from Barao, then a leg kick. Good straight right from Barao. Both fighters exchange uppercuts that land. Inisde leg kick from Barao. 10-9 round for Wineland
Wineland again jabbing, Barao with a good left kick. With lightning-like speed and power, Barao lands a spinning back kick to the face of Wineland that drops him bad. Barao pounces on his downed opponent and cracks him with a right hand. Now Wineland is turtled and Barao seals the deal with three more hard left hands, ref Yves Lavigne stepping in to stop the beat down.
Renan Barao wins by TKO at 0:35 of Round 2.
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship (205 lbs.):
Jon “Bones” Jones (22-1, 4-0 UFC) vs. Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson (13-3, 3-0 UFC)
The fighters touch gloves. Inside leg kick from Gustafsson, left body kick from Jones. Gustafsson defends a clinch from Jones, goes back to the distance game. Nice spinning back kick from the champion. Front leg side kicks from Jones. Nice straight left from Jones. Gustafsson gets on his bike, then comes forward with a nice right. The fighters trade inside leg kicks, then Gustafsson with a good left hook that gets Jones’ attention. Right hand from Gustafsson glances Jones’ chin. Jones appear stop be cut. Jones gets hit with a left hand. Nice series of strikes by Gustafsson that had Jones backing up. Hard spinning back kick from Jones in reply. Good combination from Gustafsson landing the right hand consistently now. Outside leg kick from Jones. Another spinning back kick lands for Jones. Gustafsson takes Jones down! Wow, unbelievable. First time Jones ever that Jones has been taken down in his MMA career. Jones gets back up. Gustafsson looking so relaxed in there. Eye poke stops the fight. Fight resumes, Jones tries a spinning elbow, misses, then tries a takedown. Gustafsson defends well, eats an elbow on the break. 10-9 round for Gustafsson.
Outside leg kick from Gustafsson, inside leg kick from Bones. Gustafsson pawing with the jab, catches a kick and sweeps Bones down. Gustafsson shrugs off another takedown attempt. Really hard jab lands for the champion that draws some “oooos” from the crowd. Gustafsson just misses with a haymaker right, but then lands a good left hook. Nice left body kick from Jones. Nice head kick from Jones, briefly stuns Gustafsson. Good right hand from Gustafsson, Jones goes back to the spinning back kick to the body. Jones throw a head kick, but Gustafsson catches it, then shrugs off a takedown attempt. Gustafsson has looked so impressive in all facets of the game, now lands a right hand. Good inside leg kick from Jones. Right hand from Gustafsson towards the end of the round. 10-9 round for Jones.
Outside leg kick lands for Bones. Gustafsson with a solid right uppercut. Inside leg kick from Jones. They both trade leg kicks now. Jones just misses with a spinning back kick to the face. Gustafsson shrugs off another takedown, then lands two jabs. Good counter right from Gustafsson. Nice left high kick from Jones, uppercut in response from Gustafsson. Phenomenal title fight thus far. Outside leg kick by Jones. Jab from Gustafsson. Inside leg kick from the Swede, then a light jab. Nice uppercut-right hand combo from the challenger. Another straight right finds the mark for Gustafsson, Hard left body kick from Jones, who has slowed Gustafsson down bad now. Gustafsson tries to fire back but his punches don’t have the same sting on them. Nice jabs from Gustafsson. Left body kick from Jones, caught by Gustafsson. Good jabs, then an elbow from Gustafsson. Jones easily defends a takedown by Gustafsson. Round ends with the champion landing a jab. 10-9 round for Gustafsson.
Nice left hook from Bones Jones. Right hand partially lands for Gustafsson, then an outside leg kick. Very nice right hand from Jones. Gustafsson fires back with a straight right of his own. Good jab from Jones, catches Gustafsson while he was moving forward. Inside leg kick from Jones. Both fighters land some jabs, inside leg kick for Jones. Nasty left hook lands for Gustafsson, then a right body kick. A right uppercut hits Jones clean. Jones clinches with Gustafsson. Jones trying to a takedown. Gustafsson defending well, shrugs it off. Good jab from Gustafsson. Nice left hook from Gustafsson, winning the round with his boxing. Straight right form Gustafsson, stuffs a takedown again! Jon Jones is a bloody mess right now. Good jab from Gustafsson, then steps in with an elbow. Jon Jones looks for the spinning back elbow, catches Gustafsson cleans. Gustafsson is hurt bad, backing up now. Jones swarms with clinch-knees, Gustafsson literally runs away, then stuffs a takedown. Gustafsson is busted up too now, barely survives the round. Bones steals the round. 10-9 round for Jones
Nice right hand from Gustafsson. Both fighters look weary. Left body kick lands for Jones. Gustafsson lands some nice uppercuts. Good left hook from Gustafsson, but eats a superman punch. Nice elbow from the champion. Gustafsson looking for a takedown, can’t get it. Good right hand from Jones. Finally, on the 10th attempt, Jones takes Gustafsson down. Gustafsson scoots back to the cage and gets up to his feet. Jones take several deep breaths as we are halfway through the final round. Nice left head kick from Jones, but Gustafsson just eats it no problem. Another head kick from Jones. Gustafsson looks like he’s in trouble. Gustafsson with a spinning back fist. Inside leg kick from Jones. Big left body kick from Jones. Jab from Gustafsson, who is on his bike, still recovering from the huge head kicks he’s eaten this round. One minute to go. Another head kick from Jones. Gustafsson survives it. Jones takes a look at the clock, the fighters trade jabs with 35 seconds left. Yet another head kick for Jones. Standing elbow lands for Bones. Flying knee lands for the champion to end the fight. 10-9 round for Jones.
The judges score the fight 48-47, 48-47, and 49-46 for the winner by unanimous decision, and still the UFC light heavyweight champion of the world, Jon “Bones” Jones.