Everyone wants Jones vs Cormier, seems we are sleeping on Gustafsson
Admittedly I was not giving Alexander the credit of being a serious threat to Jon’s reign as champion. After looking at some of his career stats, and watching some of his fights again, I have to say I may have to re-think my stance on this fight.
Now I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I think that this is his fight to win, but I do think he deserves better than a 5-1 underdog. This should be a more competitive fight than I had originally thought.
One of the major elements to this fight is going to be Gustafsson’s ability to keep the fight standing. To Gustafsson’s credit he has been very good at preventing takedowns 84% of them to be exact. So Jones may have more trouble getting it to the ground than he is used to.
Gustafsson has never been in the octagon with someone like Jon Jones, and he is very hard to prepare for; his athleticism allows him to do unorthodox things that a lot of other guys his size are unable to do; his strength and huge wingspan make his wrestling very effective and his top game very good. His elbows from the top may be the best in the business they are just nasty.
In turn Jon Jones has never been in there with someone like Gustafsson. It is the first time that Jones will look someone eye to eye in the octagon. Usually Jones enjoys a fairly large size advantage over his opponents. He will still have a reach advantage but not as big as he is used to.
With Gustafsson size and striking ability he could create a lot of problems for Jones in the striking department. His striking percentage while standing is an impressive 66%, well Jones sports a much less impressive 48%. I would have to imagine that Gustafsson knows, Jones is far less dangerous when he is standing. So If he can keep the fight standing, he may actually have the advantage in this fight.
Jones has been very affective at getting the fight to the ground in his career completing 62% of his takedowns. This means that at a few points in this fight we will see Gustafsson on his back, and that is where Jon shines there are not too many people who have been taken down and have not been either finished, seriously hurt or badly cut. When Gustafsson winds up on his back, it is going to be imperative that he gets up. Because if not, he will most likely suffer the same fate as all the others before him.
If Gustafsson can keep the fight standing he may just leave the octagon with the belt, but if he is unable to scramble back to his feet before feeling the wrath of Jones’ ground game, well—Jonny “Bones” Jones will be leaving Toronto with his belt and one more in the win column.
By Jason Sutcliffe