Following a controversial, drama-filled week, the UFC closed out 2018 with a light heavyweight title rematch between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Unlike their first fight, which ended in a debated decision in Jones’ favor, “Bones” was able to chop away at Gustafsson’s legs, which set up the pivotal third-round takedown and the eventual TKO finish by ground-and-pound from back mount.
So Jones is the UFC’s 205 lbs king again, while Gustafsson’s third attempt at becoming champion was not the charm as he’d hoped. We now await the drug test results to see if Jones has passed them before figuring out what’s next for one of the sport’s most dominant fighters.
Jones immediately went for a takedown, which was stuffed, but he landed a knee on the exit. Gustafsson was kneed in the groin in the clinch, but he was quick to get back into the fight. Jones connected on a hard leg kick but absorbed a knee to the body shortly thereafter. Gustafsson got cracked with a terrific elbow from the outside, then took a front kick up the middle. Jones was in on a single let takedown, turned to a high crotch, but Gustafsson did well to stuff it and throw another knee to the body. Gustafsson caught Jones with a right hand on the end of his punch, but round one was largely dictated by Jon.
Gustafsson started round two on the front foot and looking to get his strikes off first. Jones patiently went after Gustafsson with kicks to the body and leg. Another takedown by Jones was unsuccessful, but he once again scored a knee to the body on the break. It was Jones on the ironic receiving end of a Gustafsson eye poke, so he took some time to recover. The doctor came in, Jones was fine, and the fight began anew. Gustafsson let his hands go and landed some good punches upstairs. The pace slowed through the midway point of the frame, with Gustafsson pressuring but not throwing much of consequence. A leg kick by Jones buckled the Swede as he backed up. The kicks to the calf were bothereing Gustafsson noticeably. A spinning back kick to the body by Jones was one of his better strikes as the round drew to a close.
Round three started with a Gustafsson left hook, but not follow-up. A strong entry led to Jones’ first takedown, and he unleashed a couple of elbows. Jones was in half guard. He stepped over to side control and dropped down another couple of elbows, had a brief crucifix, and then took Gustafsson’s back flawlessly. From there, he uncorked devastating punches, as Gustafsson was defenseless. Referee Mike Beltran swooped in for the stoppage, confirming Jones as champion again.
Official Result: Jon Jones def. Alexander Gustafsson by TKO (punches) at 2:02 of round 3 to win the UFC light heavyweight title