Bantamweights Alex Caceres and Roland Delorme turned in a competitive effort in the evening’s second showdown. Their bout ended in a Split Decision with “Bruce Leeroy” getting the nod, but it definitely wasn’t a controversial conclusion considering each man did an excellent job showcasing skills in the scrap. Going into UFC 165, highly-touted prospect Dustin Kimura was undefeated and seen by many as a submission ace in the making. Of course, opponent Mitch Gagnon’s grappling was no joke either, and he made it clear Kimura still has a lot to learn when the two locked horns. Gagnon latched on to a Guillotine Choke in the first frame of action and held on until the referee intervened once Kimura went out cold. Stephen Thompson came into the UFC as a decorated kickboxer but didn’t have much else to offer outside of his stand-up. UFC 165 ultimately ended up as a coming out party of sorts for “Wonderboy” who out-grappled Chris Clements at numerous times en route to a TKO win in the end. John Makdessi didn’t need long to finish opponent Renee Forte when the two met on the preliminary portion of the card. Two minutes into the match-up Makdessi landed an awkward blow leaving Forte staggered, then pounced and put his foe away. Ivan Menjivar is no joke. However, he had little to offer against Wilson Reis who made his UFC debut after a career dotted with success in smaller organizations. The Brazilian grappler was clearly superior on the ground and picked up a Unanimous Decision based primarily on takedowns/top control. Pat Healy is as tough as they come in MMA, but he looked like a fish out of water against phenomal prospect Khabib Nurmagomedov. One of the bout’s best moves came in the third round when Nurmagomedov lifted Healy up over his shoulder, ran across the Octagon, and slammed him down to the mat in a moment reminiscent of welterweight great Matt Hughes’ prime. The ensuing decision win improved Nurmagomedov’s overall record to 21-0, but more importantly proved he’s prepared to face the best 155ers the sport has to offer. There was no question Brendan Schaub did not want to have his chin tested by Matt Mitrione in their match-up based on past issues with durability. While he stood with Mitrione for a bit, the bout’s end came when Schaub was able to manuever into position for a Brabo Choke that put Mitrione to sleep seconds after “Meathead” indicated he was fine with a thumbs up to the referee. Nobody expected Eddie Wineland to beat Renan Barao. Of course, nobody expected Barao to win in the manner he did either. The brilliant Brazilian landed a beautiful spinning kick to Wineland’s face, sending him down to the mat, and then jumped on his fallen prey to pick up a TKO victory. The remarkable performance was one more on the impressive resume of one of MMA’s best and brightest. UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones was viewed as the superior wrestler/grappler going into the main event match-up with Alexander Gustafsson. Surprisingly, “Bones” was actually unable to take Gustafsson down for the most part. Even more shocking, “The Mauler” actually ended up putting Jones on the canvas early in their effort, marking the first time any opponent had ever put Jones on his back. The move was one of many reasons respect levels for Gustafsson increased exponentially after the outing. From early on in the headlining fight it was obvious champ Jon Jones wanted to land kicks. He threw a variety of techniques, though few were as successful as his head-kicks. Jones scored numerous times with the strike. However, to Gustafsson’s credit he never gave in, showing his beard goes way beyond the blonde stubble on his chin.
It was an eventful night in Toronto at
with truly memorable performances and jaw-dropping finishes. The evening was highlighted by the instant classic between UFC 165 UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones and top contender Alexander Gustafsson. Their tilt went five full rounds with “Bones” being truly tested, even losing a few frames along the way before ultimately gritting it out and bringing home a gutsy decision win. While their bout was by far the best of the show, it wasn’t the only fight worth taking a look back at. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)