The UFC moved mountains to accommodate Jon Jones, and the fighter returned the favor on Saturday night in Los Angeles.
Jones (23-1, 1 no-contest), who has been twice suspended for anti-doping violations in the past three years, wasn’t going to be licensed by the Nevada Athletic Commission for his UFC 232 main event against Alexander Gustafsson scheduled for T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas after another test showed what was termed “abnormalities.”
The UFC responded by moving the show to The Forum after the California commission signed off on the move.
There, Jones regained the UFC light heavyweight title he held from 2011-15. The Albuquerque native pummeled Stockholm’s Gustafsson to claim the vacant title, winning via TKO at 2:02 of the third round.
Jones, in his first appearance in 17 months, used punching leg kicks to slow Gustafsson’s roll, then used a takedown in the third to set up a vicious finish via punches from back mount.
“God this is great,” Jones said. “This is a great feeling.”
Jones won his 15th consecutive fight with his 16th career finish. Gustafsson (18-5) has now lost three career attempts at winning the 205-pound belt, losing decisions to Jones in 2012 and Daniel Cormier in 2015.
The evening’s co-feature bout featured an electrifying upset. UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes (18-4) of Coconut Creek, Fla., by way of Brazil, defeated fellow Brazilian and featherweight champ Cris Cyborg (20-2, 1 NC) via knockout in just 51 seconds to claim the latter’s title.
A swarming series of punches left to a gigantic overhand right for the finish.
The win makes Nunes the first woman to simultaneously hold two UFC weight-class belts, joining Conor McGregor and Cormier as the company’s only double champs regardless of gender.
It also marked the first defeat since 2005 for Cyborg, who came into the bout widely acknowledged as the greatest women’s fighter of all-time.
—Field Level Media