Dominick Reyes handles controversial Jon Jones defeat with remarkable grace
One referee scored a razor-tight contest as 49-46 to the champion. Outrageous goings on.
Jon Jones has retained his light heavyweight title after a unanimous yet controversial decision win over Dominick Reyes.
The Californian challenger started like a freight train and, to most observers, took the opening two rounds with some punishing left-hand punches and combinations that lit Jones up. There was a knock-down for Reyes in the first round and a moment that told us 'Bones' was in for his toughest fight in years.
The champion was on the defensive more the opening stanzas but the third was more evenly matched. Ultimately, this was the round that decided Reyes' fate.
Knowing that his belt was in jeopardy, Jones upped the ante in the championship rounds. He stalked Reyes around the Octagon and scored a few take-downs that won him favour with the judges. At the end of a gruelling five-round battle, both fighters raised their arms and took the acclaim.
Jones' only ever UFC defeat came when he was disqualified for illegal elbow strikes. He looked perilously close to seeing Reyes' arm raised but it was not to be for the challenger. Two judges scored the fight 48-47 to Jones while one, Joe Solis, went so far [too far!] as to score it 49-46.
The Jones-Reyes scorecards pic.twitter.com/KuHLIix78R
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) February 9, 2020
A relieved Jones told UFC commentator Joe Rogan "I knew it was a really close right and I turned it on in the fifth round. That fifth round won me the fight. Those takedowns won me the fight."
Jones said Reyes had earned his respect and he was open to an immediate rematch for the man that pushed him to the brink. As for Dominick Reyes, his reaction to the gutting defeat was as graceful as they come.
"I thought I won [rounds] one through three. He was on me four and five. He's a champion, he got those takedowns at the end, but I popped right back up, I didn't think they'd be a factor... it is what it is, I'll get better. This just proves I'm the real deal.
"This is the game we play and I took an L."
An hour later, as the loss soaked in, Reyes had words for the judge that awarded the fight to Jones 49-46.
"I do feel disrespected. One of the judges had it 49-46," he stated. "Who are you? I might want to have a word with you.
"I know I won that fight. I know I won that fight. I was in there."