If you count the UFC interim bantamweight championship as a real title, then there are two belts on the line tonight at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Neither fight should be particularly competitive, but hey, blowouts can be fun too. On tonight’s menu: Jon Jones looks to clinch the longest title-defense streak in UFC light-heavyweight history against Swedish striker Alexander Gustafsson, and Renan Barao could put another footnote in the history books with a second interim belt defense against Eddie Wineland. Plus, Sir Smoke-A-Lot tries to put a dent in Khabib Nurmagomedov’s undefeated record, and Matt Mitrione vs. Brendan Schaub will slug each other into unconsciousness. Hopefully.
Round-by-round results from the UFC 165 pay-per-view broadcast will be accumulating after the jump beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT, courtesy of your old pal BG. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, drop your thoughts into the comments section, and swing by our Twitter page tonight for additional observations and yuk-yuks from CagePotato staff writer Matt Saccaro. Now let’s have some fun.
UFC 165 prelim results:
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- Myles Jury def. Mike Ricci via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
- Wilson Reis def. Ivan Menjivar via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
- Stephen Thompson def. Chris Clements via KO, 1:27 of round 2
- Mitch Gagnon def. Dustin Kimura via technical submission (guillotine choke), 4:05 of round 1
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- John Makdessi def. Renee Forte via KO, 2:01 of round 1
- Michel Prazeres def. Jesse Ronson via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
- Alex Caceres def. Roland Delorme via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
- Daniel Omielanczuk def. Nandor Guelmino via KO, 3:18 of round 3
Welcome, friends. I know you’re as tired as I am of hearing about Alexander Gustafsson’s incredible one-inch height advantage, so let’s just bury that shit right here, right now. From this point forward, I am not going to mention the UFC’s bullshit hype-line about how Gustafsson is a threat because he’s tall. That’s my promise to you.
Pat Healy vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
…and if you think I’ll be spelling out Nurmy’s full name dozens of times in this liveblog, you’re out of your damn mind. He will be referred to here as KN. Joe Rogan is still baffled by KN’s wacky wig. Mike Goldberg calmly explains that it is a traditional Russian sheepskin hat, worn to pay tribute to KN’s heritage. This marks the first time that Goldberg has ever passed along useful information. I am savoring this moment.
Round 1: Healy opens with a long lead hook. And again, as KN backpedals. KN rushes in lands a couple punches and exits. Healy still chasing with that hook. He tries a straight right to the body. Healy shoots, KN brushes him off. KN throws a hook and tries to roll out but Healy follows him, pushing him against the fence. Healy is coming forward relentlessly, and KN is playing a more elusive game. KN tries the ol’ flying knee as Healy wades in. Healy gets tagged with an uppercut walking in and he’s cut under his left eye. Healy takes a break from his march forward, then resumes throwing punches. The fight is briefly paused when KN loses his mouthpiece. Healy comes in like a zombie, swinging wide right hands. KN throws another flying knee to stop Healy’s forward progress. A punch combo from Healy lands. KN gets a takedown, but Healy is quickly up. KN drags Healy down again, but Healy gets up, and KN pops him twice as the bell rings.
Is Healy’s nose broken again, or does it seriously always look like that?
Round 2: KN lands a counter hook then an uppercut, but Healy staggers him with a punch of his own. KN ties up with Healy and drags him to the mat. Probably his best strategy, because Healy’s pressure is constant on the feet. Healy gets up. KN with a leg kick. KN lands a hook then fires a leg kick. KN is doing all of this while moving backwards. Healy lands a good shot and KN is on the run. KN throws a flying knee that doesn’t come anywhere close to landing. KN drags Healy down again, but as usual Healy is on his feet before KN can capitalize on it. Healy lands a straight right on the button. As he moves forward, KN drops and grabs onto a leg. KN lands an uppercut from the clinch, and one on the exit. Healy gets some distance and fires his own punches, KN shoots for a double and dumps Healy on his back. KN with a couple of sharp strikes from the top, and the round ends.
KN not taking his stool between rounds two and three. Crazy Russians.
Round 3: Healy coming out walking forward and throwing heat. KN drops and shoots, Healy breaks free. Another clinch, Healy works in a knee to the body. KN scores a takedown, fires a hard left hand from the top. KN grinding down on Healy, sneaking in punches where he can. KN hanging on tight as Healy tries to get to his feet. Healy’s up. KN picks him up and fireman-carries him across the cage for a Hughes/Trigg-style slam. That’ll make an impression with the judges, for sure. KN gets some distance and starts upping the intensity of his ground and pound. KN works the ribs and ear of Healy. KN on Healy like glue as Healy tries to make it to his feet before the last bell. It ain’t happening; Healy looks exhausted. KN transitions to back control as the last horn sounds. KN jumps up on the cage and calls for his funny hat, celebrating before the decision is actually read. Let’s hope the judges don’t mess it up, because he’d look like a real asshole.
Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Pat healy via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3). Nurmagomedov puts his hat on Joe Rogan, reminds everybody of his 21-0 record (5-0 in the UFC), and asks for a title shot. “I am legend,” he says, I think.
Costa Philippou vs. Francis Carmont
Man, the Air Canada Centre doesn’t mess around with their security staff. Philippou comes out to the cage escorted by five 400-pound bald white guys who are all a head taller than him.
Round 1: Front kick Carmont. Carmont throws another kick to the body. Philippou tries to return a kick of his own, but Carmont rips one into Philippou’s leg, then scores a takedown. Carmont has Philippou against the fence, hanging off his legs. Philippou tries to work to his feet, Carmont takes his back and starts throwing in punches from behind. Philippou rolls to escape the position, and Carmont is on top of him in guard. Carmont throws down an elbow. Philippou looks for an armbar, but Carmont defends. Philippou stuck on bottom. Philippou working his guard, looking to attack. Carmont is stifling him. Carmont gets some space and fires down a punch. Philippou looks for the armbar again but time runs out in the round. 10-9 Carmont.
Round 2: Carmont pops the jab. Carmont ducks under a punch from Philippou, shoots and puts Philippou on his back again. Carmont pushes Philippou against the fence. Carmont with a knee to the body, a punch from the top. Philippou tries to roll out, Carmont stays on him. Big John stands them up. Carmont drops to his knees and muscles Philippou to the mat. Carmont sneaks in a few punches to Philippou’s face. Carmont gets some space and tees off, then returns to the grind. He briefly transitions to mount, but Philippou establishes half guard as the round ends. Philippou looks utterly defeated, taking a moment before getting to his feet and shame-walking back to his corner. 10-9 Carmont.
Round 3: Philippou tries the jab. Carmont brushes him back with a wide head kick. Carmont shoots for the takedown and scores. Carmont grunting like a female tennis player as he swings down punches from above. Carmont lands a knee to the body. Philippou tries a guillotine choke from half-guard, and Carmont slips out with ease. The crowd boos, Carmont grunts and punches. Carmont just bullying Philippou now. Philippou stuck on his back, eating punches and elbows. Carmont gets mount and fires down a hammer-fist, and a double-hammerfist. The round ends. Carmont won every round. It wasn’t a particularly entertaining fight, but Carmont’s utter dominance of Philippou on the mat was very unexpected, and quite impressive.
Francis Carmont def. Costa Philippou via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 30-26). No time for an interview. The fans are restless.
Brendan Schaub vs. Matt Mitrione
Really hoping for a quick KO here to speed things along. Mitrione does some walk-out karaoke, singing along to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.” Chris Lytle showing support in Mitrione’s corner. Always great to see that guy. Schaub rips off two cartwheels when he gets into the Octagon. This ain’t Ultimate Tumbling, son.
Round 1: Mitrione doesn’t feel like touching gloves. He pops a straight left. Schaub lands a right hand that gets Mitrione’s attention. They clash in a striking exchange. Very tense opening. Schaub dashes forward with a long-distance straight right. Big right hand from Schaub. Mitrione tries a kick. He’s cut near his left eye, and that thing is bleedin’. Inside leg kick from Mitrione. Lead hook from Schaub. Schaub storms forward with power punches. Mitrione eats them and smiles. Schaub body slams him and Mitrione isn’t smiling anymore. Schaub wraps up Mitrione’s neck as Mitrione tries to stand up, and drags him to the mat with a D’arce choke. Schaub squeezes. He shouts to the ref that Mitrione is out, but Mitrione gives the ref the thumbs-up. Schaub squeezes harder and…yep, Mitrione is out. The ref stops the fight, and Mitrione lays there, limp.
Brendan Schaub def. Matt Mitrione via submission (D’arce choke), 4:06 of round 1. Schaub is elated with the win, and shouts out all his training partners and instructors, including Rener Gracie. He also invites Joe Rogan onto his podcast, The Fighter and the Kid.
Alright, time for some title fights…
Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland
Round 1: Wineland runs out to the center of the cage and refuses the glove tap. Wineland flashing his hands, going for the body. He misses some punches but lands a straight to Barao’s face. He’s trying to set the pace early. They clinch briefly against the fence, the crowd immediately starts booing, and Yves Lavigne immediately separates them. Attaboy. Barao slips to the mat after an exchange but pops right back up. Barao fires a turning side kick but hits air. Wineland trying to find his distance, throwing from long range, not hitting much. Barao charges in with a pair of hooks. Wineland brushes off a takedown attempt. Barao lands a punch combo. Both men land heavy in a punching exchange. Barao swings over Wineland’s head, and the round ends. Pretty close, but Wineland was the aggressor for most of it.
Round 2: Wineland power-walks out to the center once again. Barao with a wide haymaker, Wineland returns fire. Barao tries the turning side kick again and it’s a direct hit to Wineland’s jaw. Wineland falls backwards to the mat, and Barao swarms with punches. The ref is on top of it and stops the action before Wineland can take too much additional abuse.
Renan Barao def. Eddie Wineland via TKO, 0:35 of round 2. Well, it was competitive while it lasted, but when a Brazilian starts throws spinning shit at you, duck. Barao calls out Dominick Cruz, of course. I guess that’s a fight that needs to happen, but with Cruz out of action so long, it almost doesn’t seem fair.
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Jones’s shorts sport the Nike swoosh and Gatorade ‘G’. Your move, Condom Depot. He slaps his body a few times, just to feel what that would be like.
Round 1: Gustafsson and Jones both using their range right away, throwing out some long kicks and punches. Jones fires a kick up top. Jones with those inside kicks to the knees. Jones throws a quick superman punch. Jones returns a nice leg kick, and lands a left hand. Body kick Jones. Leg kick Gustafsson. Jones lands a hard right hand, Gustafsson counters. Gus throws a pair of straight punches, and Jones is cut open. Jones with the knee kick. Gustafsson lands more punches. They trade low kicks. Gustafsson reaches for a superman punch over the top. And Gustafsson becomes the first man to take Jones to the mat! He lets Jones up. Point proven. Jones spins for an elbow. Gustafsson gets poked in the eye, and Big John warns both of them for letting their fingers hang out. Jones rushes forward and lands his spinning elbow, trying to steal the round with a final burst of aggression. They clinch against the fence as time expires. Gustafsson may have earned that opening round, 10-9.
Round 2: Inside leg kick Jones. Gustafsson catches his leg when Jones tries it again and shoves him to the mat. Jones bounces back up, Gustafsson dodges out of the way as Jones tries to make him pay. Jones lands a lead elbow. Gustafsson with a left hook. Hard body kick from Jones, Gustafsson returns a knee. Jones misses a turning side kick. And again. Then he lands a high roundhouse. Jones stuffs a takedown. Gustafsson whips some sharp punches. Jones lands a lead hook. He whiffs an overhand right. Gustafsson catches a kick from Jones and dumps him, Jones springs up and tries to put together a takedown of his own but can’t do it. Inside leg kick Jones. Jones scores dead-on with a head kick but Gustafsson walks through it. Gustafsson scores with punches. That’s the round. It’s another close one, though the champ did a little better this time.
Jones’s right eyebrow looks ragged.
Round 3: Leg kick Jones. Gustafsson pops Jones with an uppercut as the champ rushes in. They clash shins as Jones tries another leg kick. Gustafsson stuffs a takedown. He lands jabs to the body and head. Knee kick Jones. Gustafsson landing from different angles. Leg kick from Jones is checked. Front kick to the body from Jones. Jones isn’t really putting strikes together…it’s one kick at a time, for the most part. Gustafsson lands another solid uppercut in a flurry. Jones brushes him back with a head kick. Jones with a hook and a knee-kick. Jones fires an axe kick and Gustafsson dodges. Body kick from Jones, who’s getting some momentum back. Knee kick and jab from Jones. Gustafsson advancing with punches, jabbing low and high. Jones stuffs a takedown attempt. Gustafsson catches a kick from Jones, but fails to dump him down this time. Jones dashes forward and lands his spinning elbow.1-2 from Gus. Jones lands a hard jab at the bell. Another close one. Gustafsson was doing great in the first half, but Jones did his best to even things out.
Round 4: Time to see what Gustafsson’s made of. He’s never seen the championship rounds before. 1-2 from Gustafsson lands. Leg kick Gustafsson. Jones tries a front kick to the body, a knee kick, a head-kick. Jones fires a right hand. Gustafsson catches his leg and tries to push him down, but can’t. Gustafsson lands hard with his right cross. Hard inside leg kick from Jones. Gus pops the jab. More inside leg kicks from Jones. Gustafsson stuffs a takedown. Gustafsson lands punches and a body kick. Jones dumps down, clinches, and pushes Gustafsson against the fence. Gustafsson slips out. Blood pouring down the right side of Jones’s face. Gustafsson lands his 1-2 cleanly, and stuffs a takedown. A turning side kick from Jones glances of Gus’s shoulder, but he lands a head kick. Gustafsson shakes out of a clinch. Gustafsson avoids one spinning elbow but gets hit cleanly with another, and he’s on his heels as Jones throws in a knee and pours on punches. Jones attacking ferociously, trying to seize the moment. Gustafsson still manages to defend a takedown, but he’s getting lit up as the round ends. Jones might have stolen that round after being outgunned for the first four minutes of it. Gustafsson is now as bloody as Jones is.
Round 5: Gustafsson with a jab to the body, leg kick from Jones. Gustafsson lands a right hand. Another jab downstairs. Jones lands a body kick. Leg kick Jones. Gustafsson lands hard with his uppercut as Jones tries to clinch. Jones slams a led elbow into Gustafsson’s face. Jones lands a counter-right. He takes Gustafsson down, and Gustafsson scoots back to the cage and stands. Gustafsson circles out of Jones’s grasp. Jones lands a head-kick point blank. Gustafsson takes it. He takes *another* head kick. And *again*. Kid’s got a chin, but this isn’t looking good for him. Jones with a body kick. Gustafsson is exhausted but still game. Jones lands another head kick. My God, Gustafsson’s poor brain. Gustafsson dropping his hands out of fatigue, and Jones fires the head-kick upstairs. Jones lands an uppercut. Gustafsson stuffs a takedown and eats a knee, and the round ends. That was clearly a 10-9 for Jones, but it might have been the only round where the score was obvious. Scorecards might be all over the map, here. Prepare for heartbreak.
Jon Jones def. Alexander Gustafsson via unanimous decision (48-47 x 2, 49-46). The crowd boos. Jones says he got that dog-fight he was looking for. Jones says he got to test his warrior spirit, and that means more than getting the win. Gustafsson says he’s just starting his career, and he’ll come back stronger. Gustafsson and Jones shake hands and bow to each other in the cage. Jones needs help walking out of the cage and back to the locker room.
Maybe the only thing we didn’t expect out of this fight was a brutal war of attrition. Gustafsson performed far beyond our expectations, but the champ started taking control in round 4. No matter how the rounds were scored, or how they could have been scored, Jones won that fight. Gustafsson was the walking dead in round five, held up only by heart and will.
Take care, Potato Nation. We’ll talk more tomorrow.