Grappling sensation Craig Jones defeated Brazilian wunderkind Felipe Pena by escape time at the UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4 event on Thurs. night (June 29, 2023), which aired on the UFC Fight Pass digital network from inside APEX in Las Vegas.
Jones considers that victory to rank him atop the world’s best.
“Given that Felipe Pena is the pound-for-pound best grappler alive right now, taking him out I believe firmly puts me at number one,” Jones said. “It’s hard for me to see anything else to do in this sport. What else is there to accomplish when you’re the number one grappler? Are we gonna take on Santa Claus or we gonna drink some beers?”
The “Santa Claus” comment was no doubt a dig at longtime rival Gordon Ryan, who bleaches his hair and beard. Not surprisingly, the 27 year-old “King” was underwhelmed by the main event matchup between Jones and Pena.
Ryan holds multiple submission wins over Jones.
“It was really surprising that both guys are guard players but neither guy wanted to play guard,” Ryan said. “I think that Felipe had a pretty good strategy coming out and trying to pull on the head and get Craig tired because Craig notoriously has a pretty terrible gas tank, but the round was only 12 minutes as Craig purposely negotiated a shorter time, so it’s kind of hard to completely exhaust a guy in 12 minutes if your wrestling and hand-fighting isn’t high level. Craig is very experienced in EBI rules so not really much happened in regulation, Craig picked up a few singles and not much happened, neither guy could play bottom position so it’s kind of just a boring wrestling match and then a tightly-contested overtime match which Craig edged on ride time.”
Full results from UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4:
Craig Jones def. Felipe Pena by escape time
Glover Teixeira def. Anthony Smith by unanimous decision (watch)
Nicholas Meregali def. Roberto Abreu by armbar in overtime
Roman Bravo-Young and Alex Perez fought to a time limit draw
Helena Crevar def. Emily Fernandez by rear naked choke at 7:26
Nick Rodriguez def. Dan Manasoiu by rear-naked choke in overtime
Nick Rodriguez def. Vagner Rocha by rear naked choke in overtime
Dan Manasoiu def. Fedor Nikolov by inverted kneebar at 0:38
Nick Rodriguez def. Roberto Jimenez by escape time
Vagner Rocha def. Fellipe Andrew by inside heel hook at 6:18
Fedor Nikolov def. Haisam Rida by escape time
Dan Manasoiu def. Gabriel Arges by outside heel hook at 3:20
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