Last night (Sat., April 26, 2014), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hit Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Md., with UFC 172: "Jones vs. Teixeira." The pay-per-view (PPV) was hyped by UFC President Dana White as one of the deepest in the promotion's history (seriously ... I think).
The mixed martial arts (MMA) card was headlined with a title fight between Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira for Jones' Light Heavyweight championship. Jones was dominant in his victory and set a record with seven straight 205-pound title defenses.
The co-main event featured the return of Anthony "Rumble" Johnson, who was released from the promotion after failing to make weight at UFC 142 against Vitor Belfort. "Rumble" was successful in his return, taking a unanimous decision over Phil Davis.
UFC 172 ended up being extremely entertaining, with several early candidates for "Knockout of the Year" considerations. So without any further ado, let's talk about last night ...
Can anyone beat Jon Jones?
The main event bout between Jones and Teixeira didn't have the feel of a championship fight. It seemed like Jones went out there and wanted to make a statement that Teixeira didn't belong to share the cage with him. For five rounds, he picked apart the Brazilian with surgical precision (watch highlights here).
Mind you, the narrative for the past few years has been that Teixeira possesses the skills to be the man who could finally defeat Jones. He hits hard and is a legitimate world class grappler on the mat. None of that mattered because he had absolutely nothing for Jones.
If there was one negative to take away, it's that Jones was unable to put away Teixeira. He was so thoroughly outclassed that a finish would have really put a stamp on the night. But, that's just being a stickler and not an actual criticism.
And while it was easy to appreciate what Jones was doing last night, it just fell kind of flat in my eyes. It was a one sided beating. Or as Omar Little from "The Wire" once said, "you come at the king, you best not miss."
So why didn't we get Jones vs. Gustafsson 2?
I'll be the first to admit that I usually hate rematches. Or more specifically, I hate rematches when the first bout was an absolute classic. In my mind, there's just no way for the second bout to live up to the first. Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar's first fight was incredible. Their second? Not so much.
But, last night made one thing clear: The only person who can truly challenge Jon Jones is Alexander Gustafsson.
Outside of an accidental broken toe against Chael Sonnen at UFC 159, the only real time that Jones was in danger of losing his UFC Light Heavyweight title was when he faced "The Mauler" at UFC 165 in Sept. 2013. A champion needs to be constantly tested and the stiffest test in the division is most definitely the Swede.
The rivals are expected to rematch later this year. Here's hoping for another classic fight.
"Rumble" young man, rumble ...
Friday night, my buddy asked me if there were any underdogs on the card worth making a play on. The first person who came to mind was Anthony "Rumble" Johnson. The former Welterweight looked scary in his three fights in World Series of Fighting (WSOF) and possesses the skills to be a contender at Light Heavyweight.
That gut feeling turned out to be correct as Johnson made Phil Davis look like an amateur for 15 minutes. At no point was the bout competitive. Johnson was just the better all-around fighter. It was actually pretty remarkable all things considered (watch highlights here).
With how much trash Davis was talking during fight week, it was nice to see Johnson put in the work to walk away victorious. He's still relatively young and will definitely be in the title picture if he can pick up another big win or two in the near future.
- While I commend Teixeira's heart, I have to question the match up. Even before the two fighters met inside the Octagon, I doubted Teixeira's legitimacy as a challenger. His most impressive win in UFC was over Ryan Bader. I get that the promotion needs to make fights, but this just felt rushed.
- There has got to be some serious re-evaluation going on inside Davis' head right now. He talked a huge game during the week leading up to the fight. Unfortunately, he couldn't deliver on any of those promises. No idea where he goes from here.
- So Tim Boetsch fought last night. I can't remember him doing anything besides getting tapped out to an inverted triangle kimura.
- It may be time to pump the breaks on the Andre Fili hype train. He's very talented and a great prospect, but the loss last night brings up a lot questions. Yes, it was Max Holloway's best fight, but Fili is the guy everyone talks about. You have to deliver in that position.
- Joseph Benavidez did well to rebound after getting dominated in the first few minutes of the fight. He forced Tim Elliot tap out with his feet. He's in a weird position now in the Flyweight division. He's the guy you have to beat if you hope for a title shot. Unfortunately for him, unless Demetrious Johnson loses, he won't sniff another chance at fighting for the belt.
- Hats off to Isaac Vallie-Flagg. It sucks to lose, but he pushed forward the entire "Fight of the Night" against Takanori Gomi, demonstrating an immensely large amount of heart. No way he gets cut.
- So we're done with the Four Horsewomen thing, right, thanks to Bethe Correia's win over Jessamyn Duke? Probably not. Then again, even Paul Roma was a Horseman at one time.
- Danny Castillo and Chris Beal scored two savage knockouts that will be in consideration for best of the year. I'm not sure which I enjoyed more. But, I know that I enjoyed them.