Jon Jones taken down, still wins

Originally Published: September 17, 2013
By Franklin McNeil and Brett Okamoto | ESPN.com

TORONTO -- Jon Jones retained his UFC light heavyweight championship Saturday night, defending his title for a record sixth consecutive time at UFC 165 with a hard-fought, five-round unanimous decision over Alexander Gustafsson.

The judges scored the fight 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46, but it could have easily gone the other way at Air Canada Centre.

Gustafsson gave Jones what the champion called the most difficult fight of his career. And when the two finished going at it for 25 minutes, Jones (19-1), not Gustafsson (15-2), was the bloodier combatant.

"I've been asking for a tough fight like this and I got it," said Jones, who set the UFC light heavyweight record for successful title defenses with six. "I have a lot of work to do in the gym. I felt really sloppy tonight. He was just a tough fighter. That was by far my toughest fight."

Both fighters went to the hospital afterward, according to UFC president Dana White.

Jones' agent, Malki Kawa, said Sunday: "Jon was treated and released from a local hospital in Toronto last night. He suffered a left leg injury in the bout that will be examined further this week. More information will be released in the days to come."

Despite his dominating reign as light heavyweight champion, Jones had something to prove entering the cage.

Though he's regarded as the best mixed martial artist in the world, his critics claim he has benefited from being bigger and stronger than other 205-pound fighters.

Well, based on what Gustafsson accomplished, size has played a role in Jones' Octagon success.

Gustafsson hit Jones with left uppercuts, straight punches and kicks. The "Stockholm Shoot" even became the first man to take him down.

Jones, on Twitter afterward, said he learned something from the win.

White, speaking during the postfight news conference, said a rematch would indeed be what everyone wanted but remained non-committal at the prospect of Jones and Gustafsson fighting again soon.

"We've got to see how these guys both feel -- if anything's wrong with them," White said. "When you see two guys busted up like they were tonight, they don't want to talk about fighting.

"Yes, people will want to see it. It would make sense if it happens. But I'm not even remotely saying that is what's next."

The loser in that scenario would be Glover Teixeira (22-2), who was in attendance and has been promised a title shot after he recorded a first-round TKO win against Ryan Bader earlier this month.

Teixeira remained hopeful he wouldn't lose his spot in line.

"I don't know. We'll see about that," the Brazilian told ESPN.com. "I don't think so. I'm next in line. I should fight Jon Jones."

After three rounds, the feeling inside the arena was Jones' title might be slipping away.

Sensing he might be down a round heading into the fourth, Jones popped Gustafsson with several hard right hands. But it was early in the fourth and Gustafsson was just getting started. He snapped Jones' head back with stiff right hands and drew blood from his right eye.

With his title slipping away, Jones showed exactly the type of fighter he is, catching Gustafsson with spinning elbows and sharp knees to the chin.

The strikes opened a cut on Gustafsson's head that caused blood to flow.

Each fighter was bloody in the fifth, but Jones' face was much worse.

Gustafsson's length did come into play early. He hit Jones more often than any other fighter. But Gustafsson was also in the unfamiliar position of facing an opponent as tall as him.

As a result, Gustafsson ate quite a few strikes. Jones delivered spinning back kicks and some elbows.

But Jones gave Gustafsson a reason not to get too confident -- a front kick to the jaw briefly wobbled the challenger.

Gustafsson landed a right uppercut in the second round that momentarily stopped Jones in his tracks. And Gustafsson made the night even tougher for the champion as he continuously stuffed Jones' takedown attempts.

But whenever Jones felt the momentum swing in Gustafsson's favor he connected with spinning back kicks. Each one sent Gustafsson reeling slightly. But none managed to discourage Gustafsson, who kept coming forward.

By the end of the third round, Jones' right eye was noticeably puffy.

When the final horn sounded, the crowd showed its appreciation for the performance by giving each fighter a thunderous roar.

Barao retains 135 title to set up showdown with Cruz

The days of Renan Barao carrying around the interim bantamweight champion tag soon will come to an end; either lineal titleholder Dominick Cruz will fight him or he'll be stripped of the belt.

[+] EnlargeRenan Barao
Ed Mulholland for ESPNRenan Barao continued his tear through the UFC's bantamweight contenders by knocking out Eddie Wineland.

Cruz is recovering from a knee injury. He has not fought since October 2011.

It's all up to Cruz now, after Barao retained his 135-pound belt with a second-round technical knockout of hard-hitting Eddie Wineland in the co-main event.

Barao finished Wineland with a spinning right back kick to the face. When the strike landed, Wineland went down immediately and Barao jumped in to apply the finishing touches -- several punches. Referee Yves Lavigne stepped in to halt the assault at the 4:06 mark.

"I've always tried that, but this is the first time that it has worked," Barao said.

Wineland's punching power must be respected, and Barao did just that in the early minutes of the opening round. He kept distance between himself and the challenger, while delivering kicks to score points.

But Wineland didn't stand around and watch the champion's handywork. Instead, he threw and connected with at least two heavy right hands. Barao got the message and continued to keep his distance -- at least for a few more minutes.

With less than a minute remaining in the first round, however, Barao began opening up his attack. He tossed more kicks at Wineland and connected with right hands and left leads.

Comfortable with his work at the end of the first, Barao no longer stayed away. He stood in the pocket with Wineland and exchanged punches.

Then he delivered the strike that put Wineland away -- a spinning backkick to the face. It was the first time in UFC history that a fight has ended in that manner.

Schaub submits TUF friend Mitrione in first round

In a heavyweight bout between friends that quickly turned into a grudge match, Brendan Schaub left the cage with bragging rights after submitting Matt Mitrione in the first round.

[+] EnlargeBrendan Schaub
Ed Mulholland for ESPNBy getting the fight to the ground, Brendan Schaub was able to disarm and eventually choke out Matt Mitrione.

"This is the happiest I've ever been," said Schaub, who won for the second time in a row. "I trained so hard -- that's why I'm so happy."

The fighters built their friendship while participating on Season 10 of "The Ultimate Fighter" series. But after exchanging some harsh words on Twitter, the two put the friendship on hold. They even exchange obscenities during the weigh-ins on Friday.

Schaub used his speed early to keep Mitrione off balance. He landed right hands to Mitrione's face several times in the first round. Mitrione answered with a kick to the body, but Schaub walked right through it.

Schaub took further control by lifting Mitrione and tossing him to the canvas. That was the beginning of the end for Mitrione.

An arm triangle applied by Schaub was locked in tight, and Mitrione couldn't escape.

Referee Dan Miragliotta ended the fight at 4:06. After the fight, Schaub and Mitrione hugged and made up.

Carmont gets the better of fellow middleweight Philippou

Constantinos Philippou hadn't fought in nine months because a cut to his left eye during a sparring session forced him out of a May 18 bout with Ronald Souza. But he was eager to return to the cage and take a step up the middleweight contender list.

[+] EnlargeFrancis Carmont
Ed Mulholland for ESPNFrancis Carmont, top, kept matters on his terms en route to a decision win over Costa Philippou.

There was one problem -- opponent Francis Carmont had intentions of remaining unbeaten in the UFC and wanted to make his claim for contender consideration.

And Carmont got what he wanted, dominating Philippou for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision win. The fight was scored 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26.

Carmont grabbed the advantage quickly with a takedown. Philippou scooted toward the cage for leverage, but Carmont got his back and began delivering left hands to the face.

Shortly thereafter, Carmont would get on top of Philippou and land elbows and right hands. Philippou, a solid defender off his back, tried to lock in an armbar, but Carmont was having none of that and escaped.

It was an impressive start for Carmont, who was facing the most skilled and highest-ranked middleweight of his UFC career.

"When a guy is in the top five it's not easy to finish a fight," Carmont said. "I tried to finish Costa twice, but he's a tough guy."

If there was one thing Philippou didn't want it was a repeat of the first round, when Carmont kept him on his back. But that's exactly what Carmont wanted, and he got it by putting Philippou on his back seconds into Round 2.

Philippou had no answer for Carmont's ground attack. But the crowd inside the arena had made its point during early bouts that ground action was not to its liking.

The crowd began booing after several minutes of Carmont being on top of Philippou, and referee John McCarthy stood the fighters up. Carmont, however, easily took Philippou back down.

It was more of the same in the final round as Carmon sealed the win by keeping Philippou on his back while landing mostly left hands.

Nurmagomedov dominates Healy en route to victory

This was the type of fight, against the type of opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov had been asking for to prove he should be mentioned among the lightweight contenders.

[+] EnlargePat Healy
Ed Mulholland for ESPN Khabib Nurmagomedov's aggression and wrestling ability helped him seal the deal over Pat Healy.

He won't have to concern himself with that anymore. Nurmagomedov proved his point with a lopsided unanimous decision victory over Pat Healy.

All three judges scored the fight 30-27. And it wasn't really that close.

Nurmagomedov controlled Healy for the full 15 minutes. He punched Healy, kicked him and took him to the ground, all while avoiding powerful right hands.

"UFC please listen, I am worthy," Nurmagomedov said. "The reason I win is because of God. I have a lot of faith."

They might have weighed the same Friday during weigh-ins, but inside the cage Healy looked significantly larger. But Nurmagomedov countered with speed and he popped Healy regularly with left uppercuts.

He also used his footwork to avoid Healy's powerful right hands. Three minutes into the fight, Healy's face was red from the strikes.

Making matters worse, Nurmagomedov tossed in several flying knees that found Healy's chin. He even took Healy to the ground in the final minute.

Nurmagomedov continued to embarrass the slow-footed Healy in the second round, torturing him with that left uppercut and peppering him with right hands and kicks.

To his credit, Healy continued to move forward in an attempt to land a power punch. Each time Healy missed wildly, Nurmagomedov made him pay with counterstrikes. Nurmagomedov again took Healy to the ground to cap the second round.

Jury unimpressive during split-decision victory

Myles Jury put his unbeaten UFC mark on the line in a lightweight bout against Mike Ricci. And while Jury walked away with another win inside the Octagon -- via split decision -- he didn't earn any fans with his performance.

[+] EnlargeMike Ricci
Ed Mulholland for ESPNThink again: Mike Ricci thought he did enough to earn the decision over Myles Jury.

Two judges scored the fight 29-28 for Jury, while the third had Ricci on top 29-28.

Jury improved to 4-0 in UFC, but he might want to alter his fighting approach the next time he steps in the cage.

It seemed to take a while, but Jury began finding his range midway through the opening round. He landed a solid right kick to the chin of Ricci and, seconds later, followed with an overhand right in the same spot.

Jury then showed there is more to his game than striking, taking Ricci to the ground. He didn't, however, do any damage, and the crowd began booing. The booing was short-lived as Ricci returned to his feet with seconds remaining before the horn sounded.

Ricci came out a bit more aggressive to start the second, landing some kicks to the midsection and a handful of right jabs to the chin. But nothing he threw seemed to bother Jury.

Each fighter played it safe throughout the bout; neither wanted to commit fully to opening up offensively. And the crowd grew restless. The booing, however, did not rattle the fighters, who refused to pick up their attacks.

Reis earns unanimous decision in UFC debut

Bantamweight Wilson Reis is well-known among diehard MMA fans, especially those on the East Coast, where he has fought mostly in small shows. But for many UFC followers, Reis was a mystery as he walked toward the Octagon for his promotional debut.

[+] Enlarge Ivan Menjivar
Ed Mulholland for ESPNIvan Menjivar, left, seemed to fight Wilson Reis on even terms, despite dropping a three-round decision.

He won't be unknown the next time he steps in the UFC cage, after defeating veteran Ivan Menjivar by unanimous decision.

All three judges scored the bout 29-28. The crowd, however, had a differing view of the action, as the majority booed the decision.

Reis didn't endear himself to the folks inside the arena as he spent the majority of the fight taking Menjivar to the ground and keeping him there.

After feeling one another out early with kicks, Menjivar landed the first significant strike of the bout with a left hand that sent Reis to the canvas. Reis got up quickly and sought to answer with a powerful punch of his own. But his punches were wild and he caught nothing but air.

Menjivar remained calm during Reis' aggressive stint and delivered a few knees to the chin. Reis finally gained some momentum with a takedown in the final minute of the first round, but he was unable to do any damage.

Reis never found his range in this fight, which is difficult to do when being too aggressive. While striking skills proved to be lacking, Reis was able to turn to his takedown ability. He took Menjivar down in the final round and kept him there for nearly all of it.

That didn't sit well with the crowd, and Reis was booed loudly when the horn sounded. Reis dismissed the booing, and jumped up screaming excitedly.

"I thought I put on a great fight," Reis said. "I felt awesome and I'm really happy. I came from a long way and I think I deserved to be here. I just proved that I deserve to be in the top 10 and it couldn't be more special."

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