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Jon Jones reclaims light heavyweight title at UFC 232

Updated December 30, 2018 - 12:39 am

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Jon Jones restored order to the light heavyweight division after one of the the most chaotic weeks in UFC history.

His calm and measured approach in picking apart Alexander Gustafsson before finishing him with a flurry on the mat in the main event of UFC 232 at The Forum on Saturday night marked a stark contrast from all of the controversy and drama he has created outside the cage, having been stripped of the belt twice and causing this event to be moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on six days’ notice.

Also on the card, Amanda Nunes became the first female fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold the belt in two divisions when she knocked out featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino to end a 20-fight winning streak that dated back to 2005.

Jones claimed the belt for the third time with his second win over Gustafsson, who gave him all he could handle in a narrow decision victory in 2013.

“It was always about being the champion again. It was never about the opponent, nothing personal,” Jones said. “I’m just happy with my belt and for now I want to go back to the gym and improve my game.”

Jones peppered Gustafsson with kicks to the leg and body to keep him off balance and mixed in some takedown attempts in the first two rounds that kept Gustafsson guessing even though they weren’t successful.

Jones finally got the fight to the ground in the third and methodically improved position before unleashing a barrage of punches and elbows to force the referee to step in at 2:02 of the round.

“The first time I fought him I stayed in his punching range,” Jones said. “The main thing I did tonight was I was aware of how far away he was at all times. If you watch the fight again, he really didn’t punch me in the face very often.”

Nunes, the bantamweight champion who was moving up in weight for the fight, came out swinging for the fences from the opening bell and landed several crushing right hands to end Justino’s reign in just 57 seconds.

“I was so well prepared for this fight, I kept calm the whole time,” Nunes said. “I knew this was happening, I told you all. I’m taking care of myself, working hard physically and mentally. I felt stronger in this division, more powerful and continued to be very fast.”

Nunes now has wins over Justino, Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko.

Michael Chiesa made his welterweight debut a success when he submitted Carlos Condit with a kimura 58 seconds into the second round.

Chiesa, who spent his career at 155 pounds, said he felt much better after not going through a brutal weight cut for this fight.

“(Welterweight) is my new home,” said Chiesa, who lost his last two fights at lightweight. “I feel very comfortable. I feel strong. I feel in my element.”

Light heavyweight Corey Anderson outlasted Ilir Latifi on his way to a unanimous decision in a matchup of wrestlers that turned into a mostly standup affair.

Anderson weathered an early storm and wore down Latifi on his way to a third consecutive win.

Alexander Volkanovski improved to 6-0 in the UFC and won his 16th straight fight overall when he knocked out featherweight contender Chad Mendes late in the second round of the first bout on the main card.

Volkanovski worked through several big shots and got back to his feet after a pair of takedowns before eventually turning the tide with some big punches and a stinging right elbow along the fence to put him away.

He hopes his biggest win to date is enough to earn him a title shot.

“A lot of people are saying that there is not much left for (champion) Max Holloway in this division,” Volkanovski said. “I think I’m next in line. There is one more test for Max Holloway.”

Walt Harris edged former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski by split decision in the headlining bout of the preliminary card on Fox Sports 1, which will go down as the final fight on UFC’s deal with Fox.

ESPN takes over the television rights Jan. 1, marking the end of a seven-year partnership between Fox and the UFC.

A women’s featherweight bout between Cat Zingano and newcomer Megan Anderson came to an unfulfilling conclusion after just 61 seconds when Anderson’s toe caught Zingano’s eye on a glancing head kick and she turned to the cage momentarily to cover up until the referee instructed the fighters to continue and Anderson landed two punches, prompting a stoppage.

“I know this stoppage was a little strange, and if people think I need to prove my position in the top of this division I’m happy to give Cat a rematch,” Anderson said. “If not, I’m ready (for a title shot).”

Lightweight legend B.J. Penn suffered his sixth straight loss — and third since ending his retirement, when he was submitted by Ryan Hall in the first round.

Hall dove into a beautiful heel hook and forced a quick tap from Penn, who had never been submitted.

Bantamweight Petr Yan earned a TKO victory over Douglas Silva de Adrade when Silva de Andrade’s corner chose not to send the fighter back out after the second round.

Also on the card, Nathaniel Wood and Montel Jackson earned submission wins. Curtis Millender scored a unanimous decision over welterweight Siyar Bahadurzada and Uriah Hall knocked out middleweight Bevon Lewis in the third round after losing the first two on the scorecards.

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHIllLVRJ on Twitter.

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