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Tag: Alexander Gustafsson

Alexander Gustafsson’s Head Coach Refutes Alliance Team Split…Or Does He?


(The often scruffy, always inscrutable Alexander Gustafsson | Photo via MMAnytt.se)

Yesterday we shared a report that quoted UFC light heavyweight champion contender Alexander Gustafsson as saying that he no longer planned to train in San Diego with the Alliance team or Phil Davis before fights. “Now I’m in that stage of my career that I will compete three or four times a year, so I can not hold on and go off all the time,” Gustafsson said. “It costs too much and it takes too much time away from my family. It’s simply not worth it.”

Furthermore, Gustafsson said that he believed that he and Davis would soon fight again so, you know…awkward. “We both belong to the top, and that’s not a difficult guess that we’ll meet again soon…it feels better to not train together right now,” Gus said.

Well, Gustafsson’s head trainer Andreas Michael is now saying that the media took the fighter’s words out of context. In an interview with Kimura.se the coach says that the media interpreted Gustafsson’s statements incorrectly in order to “sell” the news. Kimura.se reports that Michael also said that “the partnership between the Alliance and Alex / Allstar Fitness that it will continue cooperation for a long time to come. Thoughts on finishing the fine relationship that the two clubs have between them does not exist and has never existed.

“Rumors of a bout between Davis and Alex is also not [accurate], it is just something the media created out of thin air.”

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Alexander Gustafsson Leaves Alliance MMA and Phil Davis Behind, Opts to Hold Future Training Camps in Sweden


(Image via Getty)

Alexander Gustafsson fought better than ever at UFC 165 in challenging light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Even though he lost on the official score cards, many observers felt that the Swede did enough to become the new champion, and the conventional wisdom was that his training with former foe Phil Davis at the Alliance MMA camp in San Diego was key to Alexander’s improvement.

Gustafsson has announced, however, that he will no longer conduct training camps with the Alliance team nor train with Phil Davis, according to a report from MMA Junkie. “Now I’m in that stage of my career that I will compete three or four times a year, so I can not hold on and go off all the time,” Gustafsson said in a recent interview with Aftonbladet. “It costs too much and it takes too much time away from my family. It’s simply not worth it.”

It may be that Gustafsson believes that he and Davis will be fighting one another again and wants to avoid the untenable situation of fighting a teammate. The two big men fought one another at UFC 112 in 2010, with Davis earning a first-round submission win. Since that time, Gustafsson has trained alongside Davis at Alliance, improving his wrestling skills by working with the former national champion out of Penn State.

“We belong to both the top, and that’s not a difficult guess that we’ll meet again soon,” Gustafsson explained. “It’s not a dream opponent because we are friends, but (if) UFC decides that we should meet…it feels better to not train together right now.”

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The 10 Greatest Light Heavyweight Title Fights In UFC History


(Photo via Getty)

By Adam Martin

That might be the greatest title fight in the history of the light heavyweight division — and I don’t even know who won! What an incredible fight!

Those are the words UFC color-commentator Joe Rogan uttered last weekend at the end of the five-round epic at UFC 165 between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and challenger Alexander Gustafsson, a fight Jones won via razor-thin unanimous decision.

Although Rogan is often known for his hyperbole, he might have been dead-on that night. Was “Bones” vs. “The Mauler” really the greatest 205-pound title fight in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship? To determine the veracity of that statement, I went back and watched the best light heavyweight fights ever held inside the Octagon, and after countless hours of tape study, I feel as though I’ve come up with a very fair list.

Below I’ve listed what in my opinion are the top 10 light heavyweight fights in UFC history based on a mixed criteria of competitiveness, excitement level, hype, how the fight played out in comparison to its expectations, and how it ended. So without any further ado, let’s get started…

10. Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua 1, UFC 104

(Photo via Getty)

Kicking off the list is the controversial first fight between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, a fight that still ranks up there with the worst-all time judging decisions in MMA history.

Machida had just knocked out Rashad Evans at UFC 98 and, in the fateful words of Joe Rogan, the “Machida Era” had commenced. However, “Shogun” had a thing or two to say about that as the former PRIDE star was coming off of two TKO wins over Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Mark Coleman, and he wanted to prove to everyone it was he, not Machida, who was the best light heavyweight in the world at the time.

For five rounds, Machida and “Shogun” went toe-to-toe in the Octagon and although Machida definitely had his moments in the match, it appeared to most observers that there would be a new light heavyweight champion crowned, as Rua landed a ton of brutal leg kicks to Machida that left the champ’s torso and thighs looking like a bruised peach.

But while “Shogun” arguably won every round of the fight, the judges somehow saw the fight in favor of Machida, with all three scoring the bout 48-47 in favor of “The Dragon” despite the volume of leg kicks thrown by Rua, leading judge Cecil People to idiotically declare that leg kicks don’t finish fights. UFC president Dana White saw things differently, however, and set up an immediate rematch at UFC 113 where Rua KO’d Machida into oblivion — a happy ending to an infamous screwjob.

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Jon Jones’s Striking Coach Mike Winkeljohn Explains Why Greg Jackson Was Kicked Out of Corner at UFC 165


(Winkeljohn says that Jackson’s absence didn’t affect their fighter’s performance too much, but “it could have ended up a lot worse.” / Photo via Getty)

By Elias Cepeda

video emerged this week showing a controversial moment during Jon Jones‘s title-defense against Alexander Gustafsson, but it was what could be heard in the video, not seen, that raised some eyebrows. In the background, the voice of what would seem to be an athletic commission official asks another man what his name is.

That man answered, “Greg Jackson.” Jackson, of course, is well known as Jones’s head coach, but he was promptly told that his name was not on the list of approved cornermen and forced to leave the area.

CagePotato spoke with Jones’s striking coach, Mike Winkeljohn — who was also in the champ’s corner that night in Toronto, but was able to stay there for the duration of the fight — and asked him what, exactly, happened.

“Normally for title fights a fighter gets four cornermen except for in Ontario where they have always just allowed three for some reason,” Winkeljohn explained. ”Heading into the fight, though, we were told that we had gotten permission to have four corners for Jon. We were all allowed to walk out and get in the corner with him and stayed there during the first round, but heading into the second round I could hear a commission inspector talking to Greg.

“I was trying to focus on the fight, on Jon, because it was a stand-up fight and I’m constantly speaking to him in code so it’s important not to have that communication disrupted. After the round, I find out that Greg was told to leave. We had permission from someone back there, but a different person — the inspector — for some reason didn’t let us. He was just doing his job as he thought he should, and you can’t blame him.

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Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira Targeted for February 2014 in New Jersey


(Don’t feel bad, Jon. There are insane, misguided women who would pay a lot of money for lips like those. / Photo via Getty)

No, there won’t be an immediate rematch of 2013′s Fight of the Year. UFC president Dana White confirmed to ESPN yesterday that Jon Jones‘s next light-heavyweight title defense will come against Brazilian contender Glover Teixeira. “That’s what the champ wants,” White said. “We’ll probably have that fight on the Super Bowl card in New Jersey.”

With Super Bowl XLVIII scheduled for February 2nd in East Rutherford, the Jones vs. Teixeira bout would go down the night before on February 1st, as per UFC tradition. Though White didn’t name a venue, it seems likely that the fight would take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, where Jones originally won his title from Mauricio “Shogun” Rua back in March 2011, and made his fifth title defense against Chael Sonnen earlier this year. (Hey, remember when we thought this event might happen at Madison Square Garden? That was pretty sweet. Let’s cross our fingers for 2015, guys.)

Undefeated for eight years and carrying a perfect 5-0 record in the UFC, Teixeira is clearly next in line on the light-heavyweight title ladder. The 33-year-old most recently TKO’d Ryan Bader in just under three minutes at UFC Fight Night 28, overwhelming Bader with strikes after being briefly staggered by the TUF 8 winner.

So where does this leave Alexander Gustafsson? Funny you should ask…

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Jon Jones Opens as -400 Favorite in Future Rematch With Alexander Gustafsson


(Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

Three months before their title fight at UFC 165, Jon Jones opened up as a massive -800 favorite against Alexander Gustafsson, who was slated as a +500 underdog. In other words, the oddsmakers felt that Jones/Gustafsson would be an even bigger squash match than Jones/Sonnen. Of course, this was back when everybody assumed that Bones could walk through the Swedish challenger with no trouble whatsoever. As it turned out, Gustafsson was the toughest test of Jones’s career, and might have stolen the belt if he hadn’t started to fade in the championship rounds.

We’re still not certain when Jones and Gustafsson will meet up for an encore performance, but that shouldn’t stop you from betting on the hypothetical fight. The opening line for Jones vs. Gustafsson 2 was recently released, establishing Jones as a still-hefty -400 favorite, compared to a +300 mark for Gustafsson. Since then, the line has slightly widened out, suggesting that the early money is coming in on Jones. (i.e., the oddsmakers are making Jones less profitable and Gustafsson more profitable, in an attempt to lure more wagers in Gustafsson’s direction.)

And why wouldn’t people be betting on Jones? Gustafsson may have made the champ look vulnerable during their five-round war, but the reality is that Gustafsson still wasn’t able to come away with a victory, despite putting in the greatest performance of his career. So if you were thinking of laying some cash on Gus in the rematch, here’s what you need to ask yourself: Does it really makes sense to wager on Gustafsson now that he’s significantly less profitable than he was for the first fight? Do you expect Gustafsson to do even better against Jones the second time? Really? Why?

In my opinion, the only logical reason for betting on Gustafsson in the rematch is that the fight could easily turn into another evenly-matched five-round war of attrition — and when a fight like that goes to the judges, you might as well be flipping a coin.

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UFC 165 Medical Suspensions: Jones, Gustafsson Somehow Come Out of Their War Relatively Unscathed


(Something something Jon Jones looks like a California Raisin in this photo. Via @AlexTheMauler.) 

The Ontario Athletic Commission released their official list of medical suspensions for UFC 165 earlier today, and in direct defiance of everything we know about the human body’s ability to absorb damage, neither Jon Jones or Alexander Gustafsson suffered major injuries in their five round war at UFC 165. Yes, despite early reports that Jones was fighting through “a shattered foot” on Saturday night, both the champ and his Swedish counterpart received just two month suspensions pending a CT or MRI scan. Jones will additionally require an x-ray of said foot before it can be broken off in Phil Davis’ insolent ass.

The full list of medical suspensions is below. There aren’t many surprises other than the main eventers, but what the hell else am I going to write about: The Gracie Breakdown of Brendan Schaub’s D’arce choke that takes place on a hotel room bed? Bob Arum would not approve, you guys.

-Jon Jones: Suspended 60 days. Additionally, needs CT scan or MRI, plus x-ray before return.
-Alexander Gustafsson: Suspended 60 days. Additionally, needs CT scan or MRI before return.
-Eddie Wineland: Suspended 60 days. Additionally, needs CT scan or MRI before return.

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Five Lessons for Jon Jones in the Wake of UFC 165


(Clearly, Jones needs to start training with Chael Sonnen. / Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

By Elias Cepeda

On Saturday before UFC 165, a friend who is relatively new to watching MMA asked me a simple question that I would have felt like a jerk answering honestly. “What are Jon Jones’ weaknesses?,” she asked.

Given his near flawless career, even MMA neophytes had gotten the feeling that Jones was supposed to be something, well, what’s the term…“not quite human”? Yeah, that’s the phrase I was looking for.

So, if “Bones” was such a great fighter, did he have any weaknesses? That’s what our buddy wanted to know. I ducked the question then but won’t today. Call me a coward twice; it was and is the easy thing to do.

Of course Jones was never a perfect fighter. Perfect doesn’t exist. Certainly not in fighting.

Still, saying a guy is over-reliant on his one-strike power, speed and wrestling, and opts to fight flat footed too often sounds like nit-picking as long as said fighter’s one-strike power, speed and wrestling have proved dominant. Up until his meeting with Alexander Gustafsson, they had been for Jon Jones.

Before Gustafsson, Jones never had to fear anyone having quicker feet or hands than him, taking him down or surviving the power of his nasty elbows, kicks and knees. So, as he usually does, Jones fought flat-footed and mostly threw one strike at a time in quick bursts at UFC 165.

Sure, Jones got the decision win (thanks in part to a ludicrous 49-46 score in his favor from one judge) but he was far from dominant, and even the greatest light heavyweight of all time can take a few lessons away from his performance.

He got booed big time by the Toronto crowd Saturday when the decision in his favor was announced but I stand by my previous assertion that Jon Jones deserves none of our hate. So, as a documented and steadfast non-hater of Jones, here are a few unsolicited tips for the champ…

1) Stop assuming that you are the fastest, most dynamic fighter in the division. Heading into the fight, you laughed off the idea that Gustafsson had better foot work and hand speed than you. Guess what? Alexander Gustafsson has better foot work and hand speed than you.

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Armchair Matchmaker: ‘UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson’ Edition


(Photo of the Year. Hands Down. Via Esther Lin/MMAFighting.) 

Like our esteemed colleague George Shunick, I have never been happier to admit that I was completely wrong in all but writing off Alexander Gustafsson in the weeks leading up to his battle with Jon Jones at UFC 165. And like most of you, I’m still reeling from what was one of the greatest light heavyweight title fights in MMA History and quite possibly the fight of the year, which makes this Armchair Matchmaker piece all the more difficult to construct.

Did Gustafsson get screwed, like Phil Davis would have you believe? Should an immediate rematch be booked between the Swede and the champ? Follow us below to find out what lies in store for Jon Jones and the rest of UFC 165′s biggest winners.

Jon Jones: I might be in the minority here, but I’m going to suggest that the UFC should hold off on booking an immediate Jones/Gustafsson rematch. Here’s why:

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Phil Davis Was Not Too Happy About the Jones/Gustafsson Decision [VIDEO]


(Props: Christian Wong via Reddit/MMA)

So much of Alexander Gustafsson‘s recent success can be attributed to his decision to move his training home-base to Alliance MMA in Chula Vista, California, and work alongside Phil Davis, the man responsible for the Mauler’s first UFC loss, back in April 2010. Davis’s influence could clearly be seen on Saturday night in Gustafsson’s markedly-improved wrestling game, as he became the first person to successfully take Jon Jones down in the UFC, and stuffed several of Bones’s own takedown attempts.

In short, Davis and Gustafsson are bros, and Mr. Wonderful took it very personally when Gustafsson came out on the wrong end of the scorecards after the five-round dogfight in UFC 165‘s main event. Davis wasn’t just disappointed by the result — he seemed genuinely shocked that the judges saw the fight for Jones. Of course, Davis isn’t exactly an unbiased observer. But he wasn’t the only one to cry “robbery” after watching the fight.

So what did you think? We have a new poll on our homepage sidebar, over there on the right: Was Alexander Gustafsson robbed at UFC 165? Submit your opinion and we’ll see how the MMA fanosphere really feels about this one. For the record, FightMetric scored it 49-48 for Jones based on striking and grappling performance totals, giving the first round to Gustafsson, scoring rounds two and three dead-even, and giving the championship rounds to Jones. Makes sense to me. That being said, if you’re an MMA judge and you submit two 10-10 rounds for the same fight, you would be put on administrative leave faster than C.J. Ross. That’s just the stupid, counter-productive way things work in the fight game. And that’s why we sometimes get scorecards that don’t reflect the reality of the fight.

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