ALEXANDER GUSTAFSSON (RECORD: 18-4, +235 UNDERDOG, POWER RANKING: A)
Gustafsson’s battle game begins with his length. At 6-foot-5 along with a 79-inch reach, he is second only to Jones in the division in regards to length of light heavyweight’s best fighters. Gustafsson has some of the best footwork in the branch. He uses that in conjunction with a top IQ boxing prowess. He has excellent hand speed and is the best boxer in the division with his ability to throw and join mixes. He does not have the power that the majority of the top light heavyweights have, but he makes up for it with his high work rate, landing 4.18 significant strikes per minute. His ground game is certainly not his power, but he has excellent takedown defense at 85 percent. In a joint 50 minutes in the cage together with Cormier and Jones, he was just taken down twice.
JON JONES (RECORD: 22-1-1, -255 FAVORITE, FIGHTER GRADE: A++)
The time Jackson’s MMA product is the top fighter in the world for a lot of reasons. To begin, physically he’s very talented in that his 84.5″ inch reach is right near the surface of the game. Jones uses his span very well. He lands a whopping 2.29 significant strikes a second more than that he consumes. That places him right near the very top of the UFC in that respect. He combines that with 95 percent takedown defense. He blends that defensive art having a creative striking game by means of a lot of unorthodox kicks.
On the ground, Jones has as brutal of earth and pound as anyone in MMA. He delivers vicious elbows in top control and is capable of finishing in any struggle with that position. If there’s any weakness in Jones‘ game, it’s lack of big-time power.
In a rematch of one the best battles in the history of this UFC, Jones will once more look to become the light heavyweight champion of the world as he takes on one of the main rivals in Gustafsson. Both fighters are coming from extensive layoffs, so off the bat there are some question marks on ring rust and when there has been some regression in abilities. Furthermore, the struggle being transferred from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on less than two weeks‘ notice forcing changes fight week preparation creates even more innuendo around the bout. With both fighters influenced, an individual must handicap that facet a wash and look at it strictly from a competitive perspective.
While the sample size is modest, Jones has had maybe his biggest battles with long, rangy fighters. The toughest fight of his career was his first fight with Gustafsson. The Swede landed 110 significant strikes because bout compared to the 134 acquired by the American. Bearing that in mind, Gustafsson threw 71 more important strikes throughout the fight. Gus was certainly more active, but Jones landed the bigger, more purposeful punches especially in the subsequent rounds. As Jones has added more muscle since that bout, expect electricity to be even more of a factor in this bout. Gustafsson will have optimism from that first fight, however, the X Factor is Jones‘ increased power permitting him to land devastating blows.
This should be another classic, however Gustafsson’s shortage of one punch knockout power will be his undoing as Jones is going to have the ability to take control in stretching knocking Gustafsson backwards. In the long run, anticipate this bout to go to the scorecards with Jones once again continuing his tremendous run near the top of the light heavyweight division.
Prediction: Jones by choice +225 is the best play on this fight.
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