UFC 232 Recap: Jon Jones’ Dominating Return; Nunes Demolishes Cyborg

With a long layoff and troubled past still in the equation, UFC fighter Jon “Bones” Jones showed exactly why he’s widely considered the greatest combatant ever.

Updated: Dec. 30, 2018 • 9:50 AM ET


Inglewood, Calif. was the site of UFC 232.

The long-awaited rematch of the best light heavyweight fight in UFC history went down on Saturday night at UFC 232. The same fighter that won the first encounter took the second, but the outcome was much different this time.

Jon Jones once again defeated Alexander Gustafsson to become light heavyweight champion for the third time in his dominant career. He controlled the first two rounds of the fight by creating distance with leg kicks and takedown attempts; and in the third round, he took Gustafsson down, outworked him on the ground, took the 6-foot-5 Swede’s back and finished the fight with punches.

Gustafsson pushed Jones to the limit in their first fight at UFC 165 in 2013, going all five rounds in a close contest. At UFC 232, though, Jones completely changed his approach, showing patience that helped him slowly pick apart the three-time title challenger and out-land him in strikes by a 2-1 ratio.

Jones improved his record to 23-1 (1 NC) and once again reminded everyone that he belongs in the conversation of the greatest fighter of all time. With every new or repeat challenge, he displays a new game plan and level of intelligence that no fighter has been able to match.

During Jones’ Octagon interview after the fight, UFC commentator Joe Rogan asked him, “What would you like to do next?”

Possibly predictably, Jones said, ”I know there’s a guy (Daniel Cormier) who’s been calling himself champ-champ. I mean, what guy just gives up his belt because somebody else made it home? Daddy’s home D.C.”

Jones has had a long and hateful rivalry with Cormier, who relinquished the light heavyweight belt just before Saturday’s fight, and defeated him twice (the second of which eventually being ruled a no contest). A trilogy fight between the two seems like the fight to make, although both fighters have expressed little interest in a third confrontation.

Maybe Jones will move up to heavyweight and challenge Cormier for a second belt; after all, what’s left for him to prove in the light heavyweight division?

With the loss, Gustafsson dropped to 18-5 and unsuccessfully challenged for the light heavyweight title for the third time. He’s still one of the most dangerous fighters in the division, but challenging for the title again as long as Jones is the champ would be a hard sell. The 31-year-old now has to go back to the drawing board after coming up short in another big moment.


Co-main event

In Saturday’s co-main event, Amanda Nunes shocked the world by absolutely dominating women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg. Nunes knocked out Cris “Cyborg” Justino just 51 seconds into the first round, landing pulverizing blows one after another that completely shocked Justino and everyone watching.

During the lead up to the fight, many considered Justino as the greatest and most feared female fighter in MMA history. Repeatedly before the fight, Nunes said that she wasn’t at all intimidated by Justino and wasted no time proving it in the Octagon.

With the win, Nunes became just the third UFC fighter to simultaneously hold titles in two weight classes and the first female to do so. She has now put herself in a position to be considered the greatest female fighter of all time. The victory is easily the biggest upset of the year and possibly the greatest upset of all time.

Michael Chiesa (15-4) had a successful welterweight debut, defeating former interim champion Carlos Condit (30-13) by second round submission. Chiesa completely controlled the fight on the ground, impressively working his way to a submission via Kimura.




The rest of the main card

Light heavyweight bout - No. 10 Corey Anderson defeated No. 5 Ilir Latifi by unanimous decision


Featherweight bout - No. 10 Alexander Volkanovski defeated No. 5 Chad Mendes by second-round TKO




The rest of the card

Heavyweight bout - Walt Harris defeated No. 13 Andrei Arlovski by split-decision

Women’s featherweight bout - Megan Anderson defeated Cat Zingano by first-round TKO

Bantamweight bout - Petr Yan defeated No. 14 Douglas Silva de Andrade by second-round TKO


Lightweight bout - Ryan Hall defeated BJ Penn by first-round submission

Bantamweight bout - Nathaniel Wood defeated Andre Ewell by third-round submission

Middleweight bout - No. 14 Uriah Hall defeated Bevon Lewis by third-round TKO

Welterweight bout - Curtis Millender defeated Siyar Bahadurzada by unanimous decision

Bantamweight bout - Montel Jackson defeated Brian Kelleher by first-round submission

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