Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion Jon Jones made his awaited return to the Octagon in the main event of UFC 172 last night (Sat. April 26, 2014) from Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland.
"Bones" was on the hunt for his record-setting seventh consecutive title defense, but his aura of invincibility had been ripped away during his classic UFC 165 tilt against Alexander Gustafsson, a fight after which many felt the champ was lucky to hold onto the belt.
Instead of instantly rematching "Mauler," Jones decided to instead give the shot to Teixeira, the Brazilian slugger who had won his last 20 mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts, including all five since his Octagon debut in May 2012.
Last seen knocking out Ryan Bader with a come-from-behind performance at UFC Fight Night 28, Teixeira had by far his biggest-ever challenge in the world's No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound fighter.
It turned out to be a one-sided affair, as "Bones" showed reminded us why he's quickly becoming one of the best fighters to ever set foot in the Octagon.
Tensions were high as the championship fight kicked off. Teixeira ate a body kick but threw some hard punches. Jones scored a good knee from the clinch and shot for a takedown that was unsuccessful. Teixeira cracked a right hand and grabbed a Jones kick to clinch. Jones ate a big right, and then a left, following with a hard body kick. Teixeira missed on a single leg and Jones snapped a high kick that utilized his insane range.
Action was briefly halted as Teixeira unleashed a flurry, but Jones weathered to work his jab and a left hook. Jones grabbed a Teixeira kick and tripped him to the mat, but the fight immediately returned to the feet. Teixeira threw some glancing hooks and Jones landed a straight right. "Bones" landed a big spinning back kick to the body, and Teixeira swung wild with a flurry that missed. The exciting first round came to a close with Jones surprising Teixeira with an axe kick.
Teixeira stuffed a takedown to start the second, and Jones continued to land some sharp kicks. Jones threw his left hand, always staying just out of Teixeira's power range. He threw another axe kick and a jumping push kick. Jones landed one of his trademark elbows that may have had Teixeira hurt, but Jones received a warning for poking the eye.
The restart saw Jones throw another spinning kick, and Teixeira finally landed some of his punches with a body shot and a hook. Jones fought back a good kick and more elbows, but Teixeira went to work with a big body shot. Jones blasted Teixeira with a brutal series of elbows and a left hook. More oblique and spinning kicks followed from "Bones," and the round came to a close with Jones narrowly missing on a massive wheel kick.
The fighters exchanged to start the third. Jones sought some knees from a tie-up, but Teixeira threw some hard shots that barely missed. Jones landed a big uppercut that knocked out Teixeira's mouthpiece, looking for a double leg takedown. A clinch along the cage saw some big uppercuts from Teixeira that had Jones hurt a bit, but the champion responded with elbows and punches from the clinch. Teixeira was bloodied, eating a huge left hook off a break. "Bones" snapped a kick to the body, and then some body punches and uppercuts to finish the round strong.
Jones took Teixeira into uncharted territory in the fourth. The champ kept the challenger consistently at range, landing a good straight and an elbow. "Bones" missed with a big spinning backfist and avoided a takedown attempt. He landed more elbows up against the cage wall. Jones continued to pick apart Teixeira as was expected, landing his body and inside leg kicks seemingly at will.
Elbows and an uppercut landed, and Teixeira's power seemed to be sapping. Jones' patented spinning back elbow came, and Teixeira's face was in bad shape. Jones began teeing off with a barrage of Muay Thai strikes, landing countless body shots, elbows, and a knee before securing a takedown as the fourth round wound down.
Jones got a takedown to start the first, transitioning to a clinch to land another spinning elbow. Teixeira landed an uppercut, but Jones responded with more body shots and a war erupted to loud cheers from the crowd. The fans booed when Teixeira's mouthpiece fell out one more time. Teixeira cracked Jones with a good right hand and another, but Jones taunted him to unleash more strikes. Jones looked at the clock from a clinch, scoring more elbows on a wobbled Teixeira. The final minute saw Jones miss on a spinning elbow and a wheel kick, throwing his hands in the air as a clear-cut unanimous decision was sealed for the champion.
Jones is now headed for his long-awaited rematch with Gustafsson, a fight that "Mauler" earned by defeating Jimi Manuwa at UFC Fight Night 37 back in March. Many feel that Gustafsson is the man to take Jones' belt, but the champion silenced his detractors in Baltimore tonight, earning the record for most wins in UFC light heavyweight history with 14.
Teixeira showed the heart of a lion, but he just couldn't get inside the range of Jones, nor deal with the diverse Muay Thai strikes of the champ. After the fight, he said that he may have injured his shoulder and broken his rib, giving credit to Jones for taking his best shots.
If he can return in a timely fashion, Teixeira would provide a great test for the surging Anthony Johnson. More than likely, he'll face a lengthy medical suspension as he recovers from only the third loss of his career, but the hard-nosed brawler will undoubtedly bounce back strong.
Jon Jones proved his critics wrong with a thoroughly dominant win over a tough challenger in Glover Teixeira. Will ‘Bones' hand ‘Mauler' a second loss when they meet in the next UFC 205-pound title bout?