UFC 165 takes place Saturday night from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The main event features UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones defending his title against Alexander Gustafsson. Gustafsson sports a 15-1 record and has six straight wins in the UFC. He also presents an interesting style matchup for Jones, as his height and reach negates what has been one of Jones' greatest advantages at 205 pounds. In the semi-main event, Renan Barao defends his UFC interim bantamweight championship against Eddie Wineland. Wineland's calling card is his striking but Barao is a prohibitive favorite with the oddsmakers. FS1 preliminary action begins at 5PM Pacific, with the pay-per-view portion of the card commencing at 7PM Pacific.
In preliminary action, Daniel Omielanczuk scored a third round knockout of Nandor Guelmino in a heavyweight bout. Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres utilized superior striking to earn a split judges’ decision over Rolando Delorme. Michel Prazeres overcame a late surge by Jesse Ronson to win a split decision from the judges. And Canadian favorite John Makdessi knocked out Renee Forte with punches in the first round of their contest.
Mitch Gagnon vs. Dustin Kimura
Mitch Gagnon is a Canadian bantamweight who sports a 1-1 UFC record. Dustin Kimura is an undefeated Hawaiian who has finished 9 of 10 opponents in his young MMA career.
Round 1. Kimura lands a nice punch and Gagnon clinches. Gagnon looks for a takedown briefly but gives that up and connects with a solid knee. Kimura is bleeding from the nose. They exchange kicks to the body. Gagnon lands some heavy punches that back Kimura against the cage but Kimura answers with a punch to the body. Kimura lands a hard punch to the body and Gagnon leans down to clutch the spot he was punched. Kimura moves in and Gagnon uses the opportunity to take him down. Kimura looks for a heel hook from the bottom but can't get it and Gagnon lands a few punches from top position. They return to the feet. Gagnon grabs a guillotine choke from the standing position and drops to the ground. Kimura fights it but goes unconscious and the fight is stopped. That was a tremendous one round fight.
Winner: Mitch Gagnon, submission, round 1.
Chris Clements vs. Stephen Thompson
Clements is on the older side for a fighter at age 37, making his UFC debut in 2012. His career record stands at 11-4 with 1 no contest. Thompson is rather unique in his own right, with an unconventional karate background and distinct striking style. He is 2-1 in the UFC.
Round 1. Thompson comes out in a sideways stance and goes to work with kicks from different angles. Clements takes advantage of the unique posture with a leg sweep and then looks for a takedown. Thompson blocks it and gets a takedown of his own. Clements gets up and they trade kicks. Clements clinches and pushes Thompson against the cage. Thompson gets Clements down but Clements stands up when Thompson attempts to pass guard and secure a better offensive position. On the feet, Clements appears a little tired while Thompson continues to move briskly. Thompson steps in with a punch and takes Clements down again at the end of the round. 10-9 Thompson.
Round 2. Thompson drops Clements with a four punch combination and looks to finish the fight on the ground. When he can't, he takes half guard position and looks to move into side control. In the process, Clements just gets up like in the first round. Thompson staggers Clements with a right hand and the referee stops the bout as Thompson moves in looking to land additional blows.
Winner: Stephen Thompson, TKO, round 2.
Ivan Menjivar vs. Wilson Reis
Ivan Menjivar is a veteran of the sport who commands a lot of respect among fellow fighters. He first fought in the UFC in 2004 and has won four of his last six fights. Wilson Reis was once considered an elite bantamweight fighter based on his performances in EliteXC and Bellator but four Bellator losses severely lessened his hype. Now 16-4 with four straight wins, he makes his UFC debut.
Round 1. Reis is the aggressor early, pushing forward and looking to land power punches. Menjivar peppers him with kicks from the outside. They clinch and Menjivar lands some heavy knees with the Thai plum. They separate and the action slows down. Reis shoots for a takedown in the final minute and gets it. Reis lands a few blows to close out the round. 10-9 Menjivar.
Round 2. The fighters trade leg kicks. Reis then catches a leg kick and takes Menjivar to the ground. Reis lands some punches and elbows from top position and Menjivar isn't able to do much from the bottom to threaten Reis. Menjivar finally stands up at the very end of the round. 10-9 Reis.
Round 3. Reis lands a kick to the body and goes for another takedown. Menjivar grabs his neck and looks to set up a guillotine choke so Reis makes sure to get out of danger before grabbing a waistlock and throwing Menjivar back down. This time, Reis is able to secure the dominant full mount position. Menjivar is forced to simply hold on. Reis lands some punches from the top and works to retain control. Eventually, Menjivar is able to get out of mount and has Reis in his guard as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Reis, 29-28 Reis. There's no way Reis doesn't win the fight because the last two rounds were obvious.
Winner: Wilson Reis, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Mike Ricci vs. Myles Jury
Ricci, a veteran of the Canadian MMA scene, gained notoriety from his tenure on the Ultimate Fighter TV show. He hasn't thrived in the UFC thus far, going 1-1 with neither performance standing out. Myles Jury is undefeated at 12-0 with three straight UFC wins including a knockout of Ramsey Nijem and a decision win over the talented Michael Johnson.
Round 1. The fighters start the round a little bit hesitantly. Jury lands a pair of kicks and a right punch. Jury gets a takedown three minutes into the round, utilizing a powerful double leg to dump Ricci on the canvas. Ricci moves over by the cage and looks to wall walk back up to the standing position. Jury just focuses on holding Ricci down but Ricci finally gets up with 10 seconds left. Very dull round. 10-9 Jury.
Round 2. Ricci and Jury are more active at the start of the second round, throwing significantly more than in the first. However, not a lot of punches are getting through as both fighters have good standing defense. The crowd begins to boo what has been a lackluster affair. Ricci connects with a couple nice body kicks. Jury shoots for a takedown in the final thirty seconds. Ricci blocks it. 10-9 Ricci.
Round 3. Jury takes Ricci down. Ricci tries to get back up. Jury takes him back down. The crowd boos. Ricci reverses and takes top position. Jury reverses and takes top position himself. Ricci then gets top position back. Jury reverses again and the fight mercifully comes to an end. This was a dreadful, dreadful fight. 10-10, 29-29 draw.
Winner: Myles Jury, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Pat Healy vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Healy, a grinding and hardworking veteran of the sport, is coming off a demoralizing experience at UFC 159. Making his UFC debut, he looked tremendous in upsetting Jim Miller and won $130,000 in bonuses for the best submission and fight of the night. However, he had his win overturned for a marijuana drug test failure and lost all that money in the process. Nurmagomedov is 20-0 in MMA and has looked spectacular in his first four fights with great takedowns in particular. This is an important lightweight confrontation.
Round 1. Healy moves in with a hook but gets caught with a counterhook by Khabib. Healy continues to press in with winging punches but isn't landing. As Khabib moves in with a punch, Healy changes levels and looks for a takedown but he quickly gives it up. Healy lands a body punch and clinches. Khabib reverses against the cage and backs off. Khabib looks for a flying knee and then goes for another. Neither lands flush. Khabib lands a nice uppercut as Healy is coming in. Khabib looks for a high kick but it is blocked. Healy comes throwing looping punches but few are landing. Khabib goes for another flying knee. Healy connects with a few straight punches and Khabib goes for a takedown. He gets Healy down but Healy stands right back up. Khabib goes for another takedown and gets it at the close of the round. As Healy gets up, he eats a heavy right hook. 10-9 Nurmagomedov.
Round 2. Healy pushes forward again to start the round. Khabib goes for a takedown and lands some hard punches as Healy gets back up. Khabib lands a solid head kick on Healy. He is taking this fight over, consistently avoiding Healy's attacks and landing counters. Healy does land a pair of nice hooks. Khabib answers with a knee and looks for another takedown. Healy tries a trip takedown of his own but can't get it. Khabib tries for another takedown but Healy defends well. Unfortunately for Healy, as they finally separate Khabib switches levels and lands a clean takedown that puts Healy on his back right in the middle of the Octagon. 10-9 Nurmagomedov.
Round 3. They exchange hooks as the round starts. Khabib gets the takedown and is in Healy's guard. Healy needs to make something happen in a hurry or he is going to lose this fight. Healy tries to get up but Khabib slams him right back down ala Matt Hughes/Frank Trigg II and goes back to work with ground and pound. Khabib really pours it on with hammerfists in the final two minutes of the fight, forcing Healy to simply play defense. The round finally comes to an end for Healy. Very impressive performance by Nurmagomedov against a high quality opponent. 10-9 Nurmagomedov, 30-27 Nurmagomedov.
Winner: Khabib Nurmagomedov, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Costa Philippou vs. Francis Carmont
Philippou is a top contender at 185 pounds, having won five straight fights in the UFC. Carmont isn't as highly regarded because he hasn't performed as impressively, but he has won ten straight and more importantly his striking presents a tricky style matchup for Philippou.
Round 1. Carmont shoots for a takedown and gets it 30 seconds in. Philippou attempts to stand up but is pinned next to the cage and Carmont lands a few punches. Carmont looks for a rear naked choke but Philippou rolls out of danger. In the process, he ends up flat on his back on the ground. Carmont takes North/South position and then shifts into side control. Philippou gets Carmont in his guard. Philippou attacks Carmont's arm but can't apply an armbar or reverse position with an omoplata. Carmont, however, is doing next to nothing from the top, just lying on top. He does throw one hard punch towards the end. Philippou goes for a rear naked choke as the round concludes. 10-9 Carmont.
Round 2. Carmont takes Philippou down again and they're back up against the cage. Carmont lands a couple punches but mostly just holds Philippou down. Referee John McCarthy stands the fight back up. Carmont goes for another takedown and gets it. Carmont looks for a kimura but gives it up. Carmont lands some punches and then goes back to the holding. Carmont opens up with some punches and takes mount position. 10-9 Carmont. Better round for Carmont in taking advantage of his takedowns.
Round 3. They exchange a little to start the round. Philippou lands a nice leg kick but is taken back down. Carmont takes top position and lands a few punches. He opens up more as the round progresses. He works into full mount and lands a few more punches to close the round. 10-9 Carmont, 30-27 Carmont.
Winner: Francis Carmont, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27).
Brendan Schaub vs. Matt Mitrione
Schaub and Mitrione were friends on the Ultimate Fighter TV show and after, but their relationship has deteriorated recently in a war of words over this bout. Mitrione is a heavy handed striker and Schaub is a solid striker in his own right but possesses a questionable chin. Schaub's wrestling game thus could be the key to this contest.
Round 1. Schaub looks to close the distance and Mitrione fires off some heavy punches looking to finish early. Schaub moves in with a nice straight right punch. Mitrione lands an uppercut. Both men are bleeding - Mitrione near the eye and Schaub on the forehead. Mitrione lands a low kick and Schaub looks for a takedown. He doesn't get it. Schaub moves forward with a series of nice punches and then slams Mitrione to the mat with 90 seconds left in the round. Mitrione looks to stand up but Schaub grabs a D'Arce choke and chokes Mitrione out.
Winner: Brendan Schaub, submission, round 1.
UFC Interim Bantamweight Title: Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland
Barao sports a 30-1 record (1 NC), not having lost a fight since his MMA debut in 2005. He has wins over the likes of Urijah Faber, Brad Pickett and Michael McDonald. He's effectively the full UFC bantamweight champ at this point, given Dominick Cruz hasn't been able to fight due to injuries since the fall of 2011. Wineland has some of the best boxing in the division and two straight wins over Brad Pickett and Scott Jorgensen.
Round 1. Wineland comes in confidently, establishing his jab and leg kicks. Barao looks for a takedown but Wineland blocks it easily. Barao throws a high kick but Wineland catches it. Wineland throws a combination with three punches and a leg kick to close. Barao looks for a takedown but is blocked easily again. Barao hits Wineland with a nice hook and another moments later. He lands a third after that. 10-9 Wineland.
Round 2. Barao drops Wineland with a spinning back kick to the head and follows with a few punches on the ground. The referee stops the fight. That was a spectacular finish.
Winner: Renan Barao, TKO, round 2.
UFC Light Heavyweight Title: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson
If Jones wins this fight, he will break Tito Ortiz's record for most successful light heavyweight title defenses. It's the biggest fight of Gustafsson's career by far and one of the biggest fights for a European in UFC history. Physically, the two men match up pretty evenly, a rarity for both.
Round 1. Gustafsson connects with a leg kick to start the round. Gustafsson lands an uppercut and avoids a takedown attempt. Jones throws a high kick that Gustafsson avoids. Jones throws a series of straight kicks to the knee. They exchange leg kicks. Gustafsson lands a nice hook. Jones connects with an elbow from close range. Gustafsson cuts Jones near the eye with a punch. Jones lands a spinning back kick to the body. Gustafsson throws a few punches from close range. Gustafsson takes Jones down. Jones gets up moments later. Jones lands a spinning back elbow and looks for a takedown. Gustafsson stuffs it but eats an elbow. Gustafsson did very well that round, almost shockingly so given expectations going in. 10-9 Gustafsson.
Round 2. Jones slips and a scramble ensues. Jones looks for a takedown but can't get it. Jones tries again and Gustafsson blocks it again. Gustafsson lands a heavy hook. Jones responds with a few low kicks. Jones lands his best shot of the fight - a high kick right to Gustafsson. Gustafsson catches a Jones high kick. He looks to take Jones down but Jones is up and goes for a takedown of his own. Gustafsson blocks that, his sixth successful defense of a Jones takedown. 10-9 Gustafsson.
Round 3. Gustafsson lands a nice uppercut. They throw low kicks at the same time and their shins collide. Jones lands a nice spinning back kick. He grabs a clinch and throws a knee. Jones lands a high kick. Gustafsson answers with a punch low and then a punch high. Jones throws a series of kicks. He lands some kicks to the leg but misses an axe kick. Jones lands a few more leg kicks and stuffs a takedown attempt. Gustafsson goes for another takedown but can't get it. 10-9 Jones.
Round 4. They exchange punches to start the round. Gustafsson connects with a straight right punch. Gustafsson is doing a better job of establishing his jab. Jones throws a lot of low kicks to try to keep range but they aren't giving Gustafsson that much trouble. Gustafsson really opens up with punches and is landing consistently in this round. Jones clinches and tries for a takedown but Jones cannot get it. Jones is now bleeding from the eye badly. Jones lands a spinning back elbow that dazes Gustafsson. Gustafsson is in big danger and he has to back away and try to cover up. He clutches his ribs and has to limp back to his corner. He was very close to being finished. 10-9 Jones. Dramatic round.
Round 5. Gustafsson seems okay again after being in bad shape at the close of the previous round. He is aggressive with punches and lands a solid uppercut. He lands a few more moments later. Gustafsson goes for a takedown but Jones stops it. Jones goes for a takedown and gets it. Gustafsson gets back up within 30 seconds without having taken any damage. Jones throws a series of head kicks and Gustafsson looks really tired. Gustafsson throws a spinning elbow of his own. Jones lands a kick to the body. Jones throws another head kick. Jones throws a flying knee at the close. 10-9 Jones, 48-47 Jones.
That was a classic bout, both in terms of excitement and in terms of a very memorable and noteworthy contest. It was the toughest challenge of Jones' career thus far and one that will be well remembered when his career ends.
Winner: Jon Jones, unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 48-47).
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