It felt like forever getting here, the show switched not just venues but cities, and Jon Jones is once again in the hot seat for a drug test result. Nevertheless, UFC 232 is finally here!
UFC 232 is finally upon us, but instead of talking about the redemption of Jon Jones, we’re focused on the NSAC, CSAC, and USADA-Jon Jones drama for what seems like the millionth time. The entire card had to be relocated from Nevada to California in just under a weeks’ notice just so Jon Jones could fight — in spite of his USADA and NSAC drug test failures.
Drug talk aside, Jon Jones looks to be in fantastic shape and ready to prove he can’t be defeated inside the octagon. Can Gustaffson rise to the occasion and push his rival to his limits once again?
In the co-main event, Cris Cyborg will take on Amanda Nunes to determine who the most dominant woman in combat sports history is — but after that, the future is unclear. It appears as though Cyborg is headed for Bellator to reunite with her old boss, Scott Coker under the Viacom banner, while Amanda Nunes’ next career move always seems 8-months away.
Featherweight Bout: Chad Mendes vs. Alexander Volkanovski
Round 1: Got started on this one a little late, but anyone counting on Mendes just steamrolling Volkanovski was going to be in for a long night!
Volkanovski is keeping Mendes at bay, giving him too much to think about while simultaneously keeping him against the cage. The announcers begin to praise Volkanovski’s striking and striking defense as Mendes begins to open up – now Mendes drops Volkanovski for an instant and he’s in danger.
💥@ChadMendes LANDS!#UFC232 pic.twitter.com/WWz4nxVlgD
— UFC Aus/New Zealand (@UFC_AUSNZ) December 30, 2018
Volkanovski works his way out of trouble, but Chad Mendes lands a takedown to keep Volkanovski honest. Both men work their way back to their feet and Mendes is the one in danger now. Volkanovski keeps landing hooks to Mendes’ jaw that have Joe Rogan in a constant state of shock.
Volkanovski comes forward and lands a punch to the body and another hook to Mendes’ head and that’s it – the referee has seen enough.
Winner: Alexander Volkanovski via TKO in Round 2.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Ilir Latifi vs. Corey Anderson
Round 1: Not much action early on in this one, but Latifi shoots for a takedown on Anderson at the 2 minute mark that he doesn’t do much with.
In the middle of the round Anderson loses his mouth piece and thankfully we avoid another Frank Mir type situation that we saw earlier this month.
Latifi lands some powerful strikes to close the round.
Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Latifi.
Round 2: Latifi is able to negatve the takedowns of Corey Anderson early in the second frame, but he’s appearing to gas as Anderson starts to target the body.
Latifi can barely keep his hands up with a minute left in the second round as Anderson continues to slowly push Latifi against the cage as the strikes are starting to add up. Latifi’s face is showing damage.
Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Anderson
How we scoring this heading into round 3? #UFC232 pic.twitter.com/x5TfHpcCs0
— UFC (@ufc) December 30, 2018
Round 3: Anderson continued to push the pace in this round and Latifi didn’t really have an answer for anything. Latifi’s gas tank cost him this fight.
Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Anderson
Winner: Corey Anderson via unanimous decision.
Welterweight Bout: Carlos Condit vs. Michael Chiesa
Carlos Condit has dropped his last four fights in a row, though I’m not sure how much you can read into losses to Robbie Lawler, Damian Maia, Alex ‘Cowboy Oliviera, and Neil Magny – those guys aren’t pushovers.
Michael Chiesa lost his last two fights to Kevin Lee and Anthony Pettis, so he also desperately needs a win here.
Carlos Condit looks very loose here in the early goings as he throws a few head kicks that narrowly miss. Chiesa initiates and lands a takedown and lands it – but Carlos Condit goes for a kneebar and the pair wind up on their feet.
Chiesa winds back up on top and he’s able to keep advancing position, but Condit is constantly threatening submissions off of his back, so Chiesa isn’t really able to get comfortable.
Condit throws up a triangle and nearly finishes the fight before Chiesa breaks his arm free and narrowly escapes the submission attempt. Condit again attacks with a heel hook and eventually locks in a reverse triangle before the round ends.
Chiesa has holes in his grappling game, but he controlled most of the round.
Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Chiesa
Round 2: Chiesa gets Condit down to the ground with ease and locks in a Kimura that he wrenches as Condit squirms and taps. This one’s over.
Winner: Michael Chiesa via Submission due to a Kimura in round 2.
Women’s Featherweight Bout: Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes
Round 1: Amanda Nunes opens up with a leg kick and then tags Cyborg bad!
Cyborg is up and firing back, but she’s eating huge shots from Nunes and charging forward trying to grapple and catch Nunes. Nunes catches Cyborg again against the cage as Cris falls face first down to the Canvas.
Cyborg has fallen.
Winner: Amanda Nunes via KO to become the UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion, which will probably lead to the end of the division.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustaffson
Round 1: Gustaffson opens up charging towards Jones and is quickly stopped by a knee from ‘Bones.’
The action is halted almost immediately as Jones lands a low-blow to Gustaffson – but Gus says he’s ready to go.
Jones has tried to open up with a few hooks and punches, but Gus has had great striking defense in the opening minutes of the rounds. Jones begins to open up to the body and lands some of those dirty oblique kicks that he’s made famous.
Every time they initiate the clinch, Jones immediately grabs under hooks and has been effective in landing knees on the inside.
Jones searches for a single-leg takedown 3 ½ minutes into the round, but Gustaffson’s takedown defense is on point tonight.
Gus pushes forward now and lands a straight punch as Jones continues to circle to the right side of Gustaffson to negate his power.
The crowd boos heavily during the final 10 seconds of the first round.
Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Jones.
Round 2: Gustaffson needs to step it up here if he doesn’t want to fall behind in this fight – Jon’s pace won’t slow down unless he’s rocked.
Jones is outlanding Gus 21-10 at this point in the fight.
Gustaffson is having a hard time finding his range as Jones’ movement is superior – Gus is hitting air. In an attempt to land a punch, Alex accidentally lands an eye poke on Jones, which the crowd boos heavily.
Gus is looking loose now, as he’s finding his left hand more often. Jones is just repeatedly circling out as Gus presses forward.
Jones lands a strong leg kick that buckles Alex for a second. Jones starts to switch it up as he attacks the body, head, and legs with kicks and elbows.
Jones lands a spinning back kick to the body and taunts to close the round.
Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Jones.
Round 3: Gus’ leg is jacked heading into round 3.
Jones shoots for and achieves a double leg takedown and quickly advances to half-guard. He’s looking for a mounted crucifix – and now he’s in the process of taking Gustaffson’s back and he decides to tee off on a flattened out Gustaffson. The ground and pound is too much as referee Mike Beltran calls a stop to the action.
Winner: Jon ‘Bones’ Jones via Knockout in round 3 to once again become the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.