Jon Jones escapes Gustafsson; wins close decision.

It wasn’t easy, but it was just enough.

UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones encompassed a close decision over fellow long-limbed striker Alexander Gustafsson. Jones suffered cuts and swelling on both eyes, was wrestled to the canvas for the first time in round one, and came oh-so-close to losing in what was his hardest career challenge.

Gustafsson slowed down the distance as fatigue set in to both warriors. Jones landed a number of head kicks, leg kicks, and even a few elbows. Gustafsson mixed things up with body work and quality boxing throughout. In the end, the judges rendered a controversial verdict, claiming Jones a winner by 49-46, and more realistic tallies of 48-47×2.

Glover Teixeira was pre-listed as the mandatory opponent for the winner of this fight. Seeing the Brazilian’s appearance at cageside, it’s likely that Jones will oppose him next. Still, another tooth-and-nail fight with Gustafsson may be pending for the victor of that bout. We will find out soon enough.

Undercard results:

Renan Barao TKO 2 Eddie Wineland — Crunching spinning back kick keeps the reigning Interim Champion at ease against the dangerous Eddie Wineland.

Brenden Schaub SUB 1 Matt Mitrione — Schaub pins Mitrione to the canvas and finishes him with a Brado Choke in the opening round.

Francis Carmont UD 3 Costas Phillipou — Carmont displays his insane grappling skills in dominating Costas Phillipou to a shutout decision.

Khabib Nurmagomedov UD 3 Pat Healy — “The Eagle” stays undefeated with a decision over former Strikeforce competitor Pat Healy.

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