Jones’ legs have always been a bit scrawny, even by his own admission. They should also be a primary target early in this evening’s effort. Gustafsson’s kickboxing is good and he should be more than familiar with how to deliver a variety of attacks to an adversary’s legs. Taking Jones’ wheels out from under him would drastically reduce his takedown ability and make him more vulnerable to offense than he normally is. It would also open the door for Gustafsson to mix things up and go high with some kicks, possibly landing a shot serving as the beginning of the end for Jones’ night. Jones is technically sound and poses a lot of problems for opponents but he’s not particularly fast. Making him move around would be an excellent way to test his cardio in addition to seeing if there is any residual damage from the gruesome dislocated toe he suffered in late April during a showdown with Chael Sonnen. Granted, Gustafsson isn’t a barnyard cat by any means, but he has solid footwork and should be able to pick some advantageous angles if forcing Jones to pursue him in order to engage. Fans all saw Vitor Belfort come within seconds of shocking the world by locking Jones up in an Armbar last September. Since there’s a good chance Gustafsson will spend some time on his back in his bout with Jones he needs to be ready to attempt the same, preferably on the arm Belfort damaged. Triangle Chokes are also an option he needs to consider or maybe even some sort of leg/ankle attack. Jones’ limbs are lanky and thus prime for picking apart. When the time is right, Gustafsson needs to make sure he’s within range of Jones to deliver the necessary shots. He’s got an excellent reach but everyone knows “Bones” has the best. Also, testing the champ’s chin is important since he’s only been blasted a few times in his career. Trying to land some elbows when clinched might be a good idea as well based on the possibility of opening up a cut that changes the bout’s dynamics. All those things require the need to be close. In that regard Gustafsson shouldn’t be afraid to push the pace at times and take Jones out of his comfort zone along the way. Jones has only gone the distance one time as champion. While his cardio wasn’t necessarily suspect, it’s clear he’s used to ending action early. Meanwhile, Gustafsson has yet to fight in a five-rounder. He needs to be 100% ready to go hard hard for 25 minutes. Though it may not be likely, Gustafsson could even catch a break in that Jones’ conditioning may not be as good as usual based on the potential effect his injured foot had when it came to certain drills in the gym. However, it won’t mean anything if Gustafsson isn’t prepared to dig deep in the championship frames.
There aren’t a lot of people outside of Sweden picking
UFC light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson tonight in his main event match-up with champion at Jon Jones . Though “The Mauler” is definitely a top shelf 205er, Jones has been virtually untouchable since showing up on the scene and defeating a number of highly-touted adversaries. However, no outcome is guaranteed in the Octagon, and Gustafsson could definitely bring home a win if he approaches Jones with the right gameplan. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) UFC 165