Alexander Gustaffson was the first to give Jon Jones the greatest challenge to his light heavyweight title in a reign in 2013. Now add Dominick Reyes to that list.
Reyes was aggressive early on. He pushed the pace sending Jones backpedalling early in the fight. Just like Jones did at UFC 165 in 2013, he managed to slither out with a unanimous decision victory.
Jones outpoints Reyes to retain title
The final result was unclear when the final bell sounded Saturday at UFC 247 in Houston. It was either competitor's fight up to when the final scores were announced. Two judges scored the fight for Jones 48-47 and Joe Solis scored it 49-46.
It was another controversial decision as almost everybody saw Reyes unquestionably winning the first two rounds. Jones, on the other hand clearly got the last two rounds. It all boiled down to how the judges saw the third.
Jones landed 2 of 9 takedowns while Reyes didn't attempt any. Even when Jones landed takedowns, he didn't do any damage as Reyes managed to pop back up.
The fight was mostly a kickboxing match which made scoring the fight tough. Jones believed that the difference in the fight was the takedowns he was able to land.
Reyes gasses outReyes closed the distance on Jones and was able to contro the action early into the fight. He mixed it up and pushed a fast pace, throwing his hands, using his kicks to put Jones at bay.
Pushing a pace he couldn't sustain cost him the fight as Reyes almost ran out which was evident by the middle part of the third round. He was no longer as quick enough to throw good combinations.
Jones barely wins
Jones went on a tear since winning the light heavyweight title in 2011. He ran over MMA legends such as Mauricio Rua, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Vitor Belfort, Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida early in his nine years as champion.
One of his greatest rivalries was with former friend Daniel Cormier, who he decisively beat twice. The bitter rivalry wasn't even a challenge for Jones who was even tested positive for cocaine at the time of those wins.
The last closest fight was against Gustafsson, who Jones admitted he didn’t train for and got way behind. Reyes now holds the honor of being the closest to dethroning Jones.
“That’s the game we play,” Reyes said of the judging. “I took an L.”
It was Reyes' first loss in 13 fights. Despite that, he was able to silence doubters who judged him for his lackluster opposition on his way to the title.
Reyes can now say that he went toe-to-toe with arguably the greatest MMA fighter who ever lived and nearly beat him.
Should Reyes have won the fight? How did you score each round? Comment down below your opinions.