2 Title Fights At UFC 165

TORONTO — The UFC World Tour begins tonight in Toronto at UFC 165, where the light heavyweight and interim bantamweight titles are up for grabs.

Jon Jones (18-1), the current light heavyweight champion, has had a quick rise to stardom in the UFC. In a staked light heavyweight division, Jones went on murder’s row, winning the UFC belt and defending it successfully five straight times. A win over Alexander Gustafsson (15-1) would tie the UFC record for successful title defenses in the light heavyweight division.

During his recent run, Jones has been known for having an unprecedented reach advantage. Standing 6’4, Jones owns a wingspan over 85 inches, and an unheard reach of at least 75 inches. His reach ability has created a large gap that opponents are forced to close in order to strike, and with his wrestling background, Jones can use his length to grapple and get takedowns, averaging 2.78 takedowns per fight.

Tonight at UFC 165, Jones’ reach may not be as big an advantage as he’s used to having. Gustafsson is actually taller than Jones at 6’5, and also owns a wingspan over 80 inches. It will be the first fight for Jones in recent time where his reach is not an astronomical advantage, though Jones will still own a reach advantage with Gustafsson.

With a six fight win streak entering tonight, Gustafsson climbed the rankings to number one contention. Along with winning his last two fights by unanimous decision, he also won twice by submission and two fights by KO/TKO.

One key to watch will be the grappling. Jones has defended every takedown attempt against him, while Gustafsson has defended 84 percent takedowns. With Jones and his wrestling background, who ever can land the takedown and do damage on the ground may be the fighter to walk away with the belt tonight.

Renan Barao (left) fights Eddie Wineland for the interim UFC bantamweight title at UFC 165 (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Neil Davidson)

Renan Barao (left) fights Eddie Wineland for the interim UFC bantamweight title at UFC 165 (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Neil Davidson)

In the co-main event, another UFC title fight will occur that has been overlooked. With current bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz still out due to injury, Renan Barao (32-1, 1 NC) will face Eddie Wineland (20-8-1) for the interim bantamweight title.

Unbeaten in his five UFC fights, Barao has won the interim UFC bantamweight title two straight fights, defeating Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald in doing so. Known for his ground game, Barao has earned two submission victories in the octagon, including a fourth round submission of McDonald at UFC on Fuel TV 7 in February.

After losing his first two fights in the UFC to Faber and Joseph Benavidez, Wineland has earned two straight wins over Scott Jorgenson and Brad Pickett. Landing 88 percent of his successful strikes standing, Wineland sets up a striker versus grappler showdown for the interim bantamweight title.

The three other fights on the UFC 165 main card include Brendan Schaub (10-3) against Matt Mitrione (6-2) in a heavyweight showdown, Costa Philippou (12-2, 1 NC) versus Francis Carmont (21-7) in the light heavyweight division, and Pat Healy (31-15, 1 NC) will face the unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov (20-0) in a lightweight fight.

Facebook preliminary fights for UFC 165 begin at 6:15pm ET, followed by the preliminary card on Fox Sports 1 at 8pm ET. The main card for UFC 165 on pay-per-view begins at 10pm ET.



Follow Brandon Boles on Twitter: @BrandonBoles


Twitter: @FullScaleSport

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