Jon Jones Will Crush Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165
With all of the holes in Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson's fighting style, there's no question that Jon "Bones" Jones will crush him in UFC 165 on Saturday, Sept. 21.
Should Gustafsson miss often enough, he will leave himself wide open to one or more of Jones' devastating blows. Such a misstep could lead to an instant and early knockout at the hands of one of the most dangerous strikers in the sport today.
If Jones isn't successful in landing that killer blow to end this fight, he can use his elite wrestling skills to his advantage when the opportunity presents itself as a result of an ill-conceived blow. Once Jones takes this fight to the ground, it will only be a matter of time before Gustafsson is pummeled into submission or simply taps out.
Gustafsson's wrestling has improved over the years, and he is more than capable of holding his own on the ground against a normal fighter. But earning a takedown won't be easy against Jones, as the light heavyweight champion has successfully defended 100 percent of takedown attempts against him.
It might be a developing strength of his, but trying to take this fight to the mat would be a foolish mistake on the challenger's part. Gustafsson may not even have a choice, though, as Jones' incredible reach advantage will keep The Mauler at a safe distance until Bones decides to move forward.
Anything Gustafsson can do, Jones can do better. It's impossible to match up well with Jones because of all he can do in the Octagon, and that's why Gustafsson doesn't stand a chance at dethroning the king of the light heavyweight division.
Alexander Gustafsson: Strategically Sound, Defensively Flawed
In the fight world you are only ever as good as your last fight, in fact the last fight on Gustafsson's record reads as a massive step up in competition despite the declining athleticism of Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua. Today we will briefly examine that bout.
Of course plenty of fighters have had mediocre showings and gone on to look incredible in their next bout so don't put too much stock in Alexander Gustafsson not having a chance of defeating Jon Jones. I shall try to point out the habits which Gustafsson has shown before and which were still evident in his most recent bout.
Something to notice throughout is that Gustafsson has just never learned to keep his hands up and defend himself well at all because of the height advantage he enjoys in many of his bouts. In the intercepting knee at the top of the article you can see that if Shogun weren't so disadvantaged in height against Gustafsson he could have flattened the Swede.
It is unlikely that Gustafsson's sloppy defense during strikes has gone unnoticed by Team Jackson/Winkeljohn. Let us remember that it was only Rashad Evans' decent defensive form that stopped him from being put to sleep by the counter elbows which Jones was chucking at him every time he stepped in.
it's easy to think a leg kick or a hook is the automatic answer to circling but if he's already moving laterally then by default it usually means you too have to turn to throw your strikes with proper leverage, and presumably this is even harder with kicks where you stand planted on one leg during the strike. It's also a dual edged sword. Even if you're faster on the turn than he is on the circle he could lure you into a turn and then suddenly cut you in half down the center when you initiate the movement. And if you swing and miss while he's on the circle that's even worse because now you're standing there with your pants down rolling down toilet paper with a confused look on your face as some dude kicks down the door with a machete in his hand. Ideally thus you should move him into a trap via your own movement so you can time his movement, but it's largely this dance that separates the good striker from the so-so ones.
So it all depends on what type of work effort Alex can put into this and if he can keep it up for 5 rounds, and conversely how good Jon has prepared for the boxing dance and if he too has the cardio to keep it up for 5 rounds. It's a different matter all together striking at a stationary target and striking against someone who moves like Alex usually does. You may think you have the best cardio in the world but until someone has put you through the grind of having to reposition and stay alert throughout then you don't know how you'll react to that type of striking pressure. It's both physically and mentally exhausting. Frustrating. Like doing ballet on roller skates standing in a feet of water as some dude pokes your face with a jab. And there are not a ton of big guys out there that could prepare you for this movement in combination with the size and power, the talent just isn't there unless we're talking a few rare exceptions at top level boxing. Alex is as much of a freak as Jon is in this sense, a big guy that can move more and better than most WWs.
We could either see Jon dominating as usual with a bit more resistance from his opponent than normally is the case, but we could also have a scenario where he's looking like Penn trying to catch Edgar. In my mind it all depends on Alex's preparations. You can't hit (or wrestle) what's not in front of you.
Hilarious flip flopping mirroring my own PRE-fight thoughts (I wont call my thoughts an "analysis" because I'm not a pretentious c**t):
Originally Posted by JACK HACK
Alexander Gustafsson: Coming of Age in a Dog Fight
I'm here to add my voice to the rabble and give—hopefully—a little insight into just why Gustafsson did so well and why he looked nothing like his usual self.
The Importance of Movement
Jon Jones has an easy day when his opponents come straight at him, but his brilliant leg attack made me skeptical of Gustafsson's chances to use his footwork. Gustafsson enjoys circling laterally and the way to counter that is to meet that with a circular strike from the side he is circling to.
A nice example is Frankie Edgar being slowed down and forced to stand in front of Benson Henderson because of Bendo's constant threat of the low kick.
Jones, however, does not use round kicks nearly so much as he used to. Looking almost exclusively for his straight kicks to the front of the leg.
Front kicks are a wonderful means of using one's height and keeping the distance, but missing one can leave an aggressive kicker very off balance. One need only review the Nandor Guelmino vs. Daniel Omielanczuk finish from the prelims to be reminded of that.
And this guy, yet another TMA fool who takes a few classes and considers himself Moses on the mountain:
Originally Posted by CONNOR RUEBUSCH aka Discipulus
UFC 165 Judo Chop: Jon Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, and the myth of fighting tall
Gustafsson frequently attacks without a dominant angle, tries to counter without angling or adjusting range, and moves backward in straight lines standing bolt upright. I find it hard to blame his lowered right hand for his defensive liabilities, even though that hand might do something to stop a punch getting through (a mere raised hand is a less-than-bullet-proof vest, in any case). And just to emphasize the relative unimportance of hand position, note that Gustafsson's left hand was quite high in the first image above, and yet he ate a clean right hand.
I don't mean to get too down on Alexander Gustafsson. I think he's a tough guy with moments of brilliance. His footwork has improved over time (he's no longer the fighter who ate dozens of punches from Matt Hamill), and he has incorporated an effective jab into his game, which is worlds better than the endless lead right uppercuts he used to throw.
Still, for a striker he does not possess the stylistic complexity of a fighter like Jon Jones, who somehow keeps improving in every aspect of the MMA game. Keep an eye on both fighters this weekend and notice how each of them uses his height. I guarantee that Jon Jones will be changing levels, putting himself in strong positions under Gustafsson's center of gravity and baiting him to come in by standing up tall. By fighting long rather than tall, Jones will open up countless opportunities to get under Gustafsson's hips and catch him with punches and takedowns.
We'll have to see if Gustafsson has made any improvements to his own tall guy faults during his long layoff.