'Bones' and 'The Mauler' face off in Russia
On the last official summer night of 2013 a UFC light heavyweight battle for the ages will take place inside of Toronto's Air Canada Centre.
Five-time defending UFC champion Jon Jones tweeted last night that UFC President Dana White would announce the date for his upcoming title fight against Swedish 'Mauler' Alexander Gustafsson 'soon'. Soon would turn out to be this afternoon in Winnipeg. The date would turn out to be September 21st. The venue, the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The event - UFC 165.
This will be the third time in as many events held in Toronto that Jones has served as headliner. He faced some adversity against both Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort in his previous ACC stints, though the end result would still see him winning via submission. This time around he faces someone in the young Alexander Gustafsson that was brought up the ranks a lot like him. With similar victims like Shogun, Matyushenko and Hamill (let's be honest, Jones beat Hamill) these two have been on a collision course for a long time coming now. It was just a matter of time and now that the time has been announced it's our job to start breaking down what could either be a special night for Jones, or the dawn of a new era at 205.
So I'm sure you all heard the news. September 21, 2013 I will make history in Toronto Canada.. This is the most important fight of my career
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) June 13, 2013
After defeating Chael Sonnen earlier this year in Vegas Jones tied UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz's mark of five-consecutive title defenses inside of the light heavyweight division. It's a record that's been set in stone since 2002 and it's one that Jones has had his eyes on since he took the belt from Shogun back in March of 2011.
While Jones will still hold a sizeable reach advantage over Gustafsson - although both men would make former Leaf Dave Andreychuk jealous - this is the first time that speed and youth will not be a major advantage for Jones during his historic run. Jones' 84.5 inch wingspan is impossible to prepare for and for Gustafsson it'll be no different. Jones will have an eight inch reach advantage on A-Gus come fight night, which will be tied for the third smallest advantage of his Octagon career. Bonnar 80 in was the closest, Vera's 78 in second, and O'Brien and Gus both come in at third with an identical 76.5. While Bonnar did take the then very green Jones to the distance, 'Bones' would eventually utilize the tools at his disposal in their most deadliest form against fighters like O'Brien, Vera, Shogun, Hamill (albeit to the tune of a DQ), Matyushenko, and the list goes on and on. However, Gustafsson's ability to dart in and out and land his jab with pinpoint accuracy could pose problems for Jones come fight night.
Like Machida before him, Gustafsson is another great puzzle for the Jackson's MMA wunderkind to solve. And you better believe that he'll be up for the task. This is a match up years in the making that we'll have a lot of fun breaking down as the Autumnal Equinox draws near.