Jon Jones may truly be unbreakable. The UFC light heavyweight survived the toughest challenge of his young MMA career, turning back the challenge of former champion Lyoto Machida at UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida.
Although Lyoto Machida fell into the UFC title opportunity due to an injury to Rashad Evans, most MMA pundits speculated that the Dragon could be the one man to hold the solution to the Bones Jones puzzle. He came close but in the end the young slashing elbow of Jones was just too much for the unlucky challenger.
Machida played his typical cat and mouse game, hoping to frustrate the champion. It appeared that the frustration set in by the final minutes of the round. Machida hit Jones with a flurry at one point in the first round that appeared to stun Jones for the first time in Jones’ career. Machida also hit a kick to the body which probably did more damage than any strike Jones’ has received in the UFC. Machida took the round slightly in my opinion as he did the most damage. Jones looked more flustered in his corner between rounds than I have ever seen.
Both men came out for Round 2 circling and missing with kicks and strikes. Machida finally caught Jones with a counter to a kick. Jones clinched and the tide turned immediately in the champ’s favor. Jones nails a right hand about halfway through the round and takes Machida down. Bones drops a nasty elbow that immediately opens up a nasty gash above Machida’s eye. The cut is looked at by the doctor who gives the okay to continue. Jones eventually puts Machida down with a left hand. Machida stands up into a Jones guillotine and is put to sleep. The fight is called and Machida falls down like a ton of bricks at 4:26 of the second round.
This was a super impressive performance for the champion. It is one thing to see Jones win mismatches, but it is another to come back from adversity. Jones looked confused and tentative early and regained his confidence in the second round to win the fight. Jon Jones is the real deal and I can’t think of anyone in the division right now other than maybe Dan Henderson who can beat this kid. This win was as big as it gets for Jones.
Jones will likely fight the winner of the Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis fight. Davis could be a real intriguing opponent for Jones. Davis is built a lot like Jones and could really take away that unique tall, lanky advantage he has against most opponents. Both Davis and Evans are tremendous wrestlers, which could take away Jones’ ability to take down his prey and slash them with elbows. Either fight is one I can’t wait to see in 2012.
Frank Mir also pulled off a bit of a comeback win, becoming now the first man to knock out and submit Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Nogueira looked great and dominated most of the fight. Big Nog rocked Mir with strikes and put him down on the ground fairly quickly. Nog swarmed in with shots but couldn’t finish Mir off. I think Nog’s punches to the back of Mir’s head distracted the ref from seeing Mir out, but that is just my opinion. Regardless, Mir recovered, rolled with Nogueira on the ground, and tapped him to a kimura. It was an awesome scene seeing the big man roll with Nogueira and then pop his arm. The replays (and the UFC showed plenty) were just sick. The tap came at 3:38 of the first round.
Tito Ortiz was not as lucky as Jones or Mir at UFC 140. Ortiz came in fighting but Antonio Rogerio Nogueira was too much for the former champion. This quick standup fight saw Little Nog hurt Ortiz bad on an exchange. Ortiz made a valiant effort to recover but Nogueira was all over him with strikes for the TKO win at 3:15 of the first round.
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