MMA Review: #457: UFC 172: Jones vs. Teixeira

-After being prematurely announced for both UFC 169 and UFC 171, the long-awaited Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira match was finally official for this one – the UFC’s first foray into the state of Maryland (and on a side note they’re doing tremendously in terms of breaking into new states this year). Card was bolstered by the return from a two-year absence of former Welterweight contender Anthony Johnson – at 205lbs this time! – and the first PPV appearance of former StrikeForce Middleweight champ Luke Rockhold.

UFC 172: Jones vs. Teixeira

Baltimore, Maryland

-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.

Bantamweight Fight: Chris Beal vs Patrick Williams

Beal had come into the UFC via TUF 18, where he represented Team Rousey and lost in the quarter-finals, while Williams seemed like a bit of an odd signing – 32 with a so-so record. I was leaning towards Beal despite his TUF run being a bit uninspiring.

Round One and the crowd are hot for even this match right away. Just goes to show why UFC should move around like this. Right away Williams gets caught lunging in as he appears to have a bit of a speed disadvantage. Low blow sets up a takedown for Williams but Herb Dean spots it and calls time right away. Beal recovers and they restart, with Williams landing a hard leg kick. Left hook tags Beal and sends him backwards, but he counters and they trade for a second and slip all over the place wildly. Beautiful right uppercut from Williams sets up a leg kick into a takedown and he lands in side mount. Beal reverses right away though and gets to his feet. Front headlock from Williams but Beal breaks free. Exchange sees both men land and Beal stuffs another takedown. Right hand from Beal sets up another trade, and this is a pretty crazy fight as Beal is literally just flying at Williams and swinging anything. Williams catches a leg though and gets Beal down to full guard this time. Another reversal allows Beal to stand and they break with about 1:30 remaining. Action finally slows down somewhat as I guess both guys probably blew a lot of gas early. Couple of combos land for Beal land back Williams up a little. Lunging combo misses for Williams and it allows Beal to tag him with a counter combo, but then he fires right back as the trade continues. Takedown attempt is stuffed by Beal and the round ends with him landing another combo. Tight round; probably just about 10-9 Williams but you could go either way.

Round Two and Beal stalks forward early on. Body kick lands for Williams but Beal catches him coming in with a couple of punches. Couple of shots cause Beal to back up…..right into Herb Dean who’s circling around. Ha. Combo lands for Beal and Williams looks a little wobbled. He backs up and circles out but he was definitely hurt there. Clinch is shrugged off by Beal and from there he steps back and delivers a MONSTROUS FLYING KNEE that SWITCHES THE LIGHTS OFF. Holy shit.

That was an amazing knockout. Contender for knockout of the year easily and probably the best flying knee since James Irvin over Terry Martin back in 2005, or at least Carlos Condit over Dong Hyun Kim in 2011. Crazy fight with an even crazier ending – one of the best openers of 2014.

Lightweight Fight: Danny Castillo vs Charlie Brenneman

A pair of real veterans here. Brenneman had returned to the UFC in January in unsuccessful fashion, being throttled by prospect Beneil Dariush in under a minute, while Castillo’s last fight had been a tight loss to Edson Barboza that you could argue should’ve been a draw. Due to Brenneman looking horribly past his prime in the Dariush fight I was taking Castillo.

Fight begins with Castillo landing a leg kick and a jab to the body. Looks like Brenneman wants to close the distance quickly. Sure enough he goes for a single leg and drives Castillo back into the fence. Takedown follows using a trip and Brenneman lands in side mount. Nice knees to the body connect for Charlie as he controls Castillo well. Full mount follows and it looks like Brenneman’s transitioning into an armbar. Beautiful escape from Castillo though and he stands and grabs a rear waistlock in the process. Knees to the legs land for Castillo and then he attempts a German suplex, but Brenneman grabs the fence to block (boo!) and they break shortly after. Decent right hand connects for Brenneman on the counter. Another takedown attempt follows but Castillo stuffs it. Body kick from Brenneman. Another single leg from Brenneman puts Castillo on his back for the second time. This time he transitions to take the back, slapping both hooks in as Danny stands. He loses the hooks though and Castillo spins free and takes the back himself. Seconds to go and he gets Brenneman down and goes for a choke, but the buzzer sounds before he can finish. 10-9 Brenneman.

Into the 2nd and they circle before Castillo connects on a RIGHT HAYMAKER THAT KNOCKS BRENNEMAN OUT COLD!~!

WOW. Unbelievable knockout. Brenneman looked dead as he hit the floor, seriously. Horrifying stuff. Replay shows the punch landed cleanly on the jaw and switched off Charlie’s lights instantly. Two fights, two highlight reel knockouts – what’s not to love?

Women’s Bantamweight Fight: Bethe Correia vs Jessamyn Duke

This one was an interesting fight between two of the recently-signed prospects in the division – Brazil’s Correia, who had beaten Julie Kedzie in a tight decision in her UFC debut, and Duke – a member of Ronda Rousey’s ‘Four Horsewomen’, who had come out of her TUF run to beat Peggy Morgan in her official debut. Tough fight to call for sure but I decided to take Duke based on her training with Rousey.

Round One and Duke pushes forward looking to work a jab, but Correia counters with leg kicks. Not sure why Duke’s stalking forward like that when she’s got a massive reach advantage. Couple of glancing rights land for Correia. Good left hand follows for the Brazilian. Plum clinch from Duke and she tries to throw knees, but Correia breaks off without taking much damage. Stiff jab lands for Duke and she follows with a right hand in a brief exchange. Spinning backfist glances for Correia. More leg kicks land for Correia as Duke continues to try to work the jab. They clinch up and Correia forces her into the fence, but Duke actually gets a takedown before they pop up immediately. Good combo lands for Correia. Duke answers with an overhand right. Pair of leg kicks land for the Brazilian. Seconds to go and Duke lands a jumping knee to the body. Correia answers with a couple of shots and that’s the round. 10-9 Correia but a pretty crap round to be honest.

Round Two and they exchange punches to begin with Correia getting the better of it, and she throws in the leg kick too for good measure. Takedown attempt from Correia is stuffed by Duke and they wind up clinched on the fence where Duke looks to land knees. Trip takedown from Duke and she tries a Peruvian necktie, but misses it and Correia ends up on top in side mount. Correia can’t do much with the position and Duke keeps squirming, eventually giving her back in order to get to her feet. SICK judo throw follows from Duke, evidently she’s been learning from Ronda! Correia reverses to her feet right away though and they separate. Jabs from Duke but she eats a combo from Correia and the Brazilian follows with a nasty left hook. Good leg kick lands too. Correia’s pretty much outstriking Duke here. More of the same follows with Correia landing leg kicks, but Duke does catch her with a jab that snaps her head back. Round ends shortly after following another exchange. 10-9 Correia for the better strikes.

Round Three and Correia opens with a solid combo. Leg kicks continue to land for Bethe too. Spinning backfist glances for Correia. Duke just seems to be walking right into Correia’s range rather than striking her from outside using the reach advantage. Another combo lands for Correia. More of the same follows as Correia continues to wade in and land combos. Takedown from Duke and she hops right onto the back and looks for a possible armbar, but Correia escapes and winds up on top in guard. Action slows down from there as Duke tries to establish the rubber guard. Ref calls a stand-up and Correia continues to wade forward and land the better shots. Clinch follows and Duke almost hits a trip, but Correia pops up and lands another combo. Round ends just after. 30-27 Correia for me.

Judges have it 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27 for Bethe Correia. Fight was fine but got slow in parts, as Duke really didn’t seem to have any idea how to use her reach advantage and kept pushing forward right into Correia’s wheelhouse, allowing her to rush in and land leg kicks as well as hooks in combinations, and she just wasn’t able to answer despite hitting a couple of flashy takedowns. Post-fight Correia holds four fingers up to the camera before folding one down – basically calling out Ronda and her Horsewomen, and if she manages to get past Shayna Baszler in a couple of weeks I guess that a fight between her and Ronda in the future is a possibility. I think right now Ronda kills her, but then Ronda kills everyone basically.

Lightweight Fight: Takanori Gomi vs Isaac Vallie-Flagg

To me this was a super-odd fight to make for Gomi – I mean at this point in his career, largely the twilight, you expect him to be matched with bigger names than a dude like Vallie-Flagg, and especially not be buried on a random undercard of a PPV. Maybe he took the fight late, I forget. Anyway despite Gomi’s prime being arguably ten years ago (!) now, I still figured he had enough in the tank left to take out a journeyman like IVF.

Round One begins and IVF lands a couple of kicks early on and avoids a wild right haymaker from Gomi. Good right hand catches IVF coming in and then they clinch up with Gomi forcing him back into the fence. IVF breaks off quickly and eats another right hand counter. Body kick answers. Couple of jabs connect for Gomi and IVF slips to the ground off one but pops back up. Big one-two lands for Gomi but IVF takes it well and fires back with a right hand and a hard leg kick. Into the clinch and IVF looks to secure the plum, but Gomi quickly breaks. Combo glances for Gomi. Single leg is blocked by the Japanese legend but he takes a pair of heavy rights that put him on the retreat. Looks like Gomi’s getting tired already. Pair of stiff jabs land for him though. Isaac continues to push the pace though and Gomi has a bloody nose. Slip from IVF puts him on his back and Gomi steps down into half-guard. Couple of shots get through for Gomi as IVF moves back to full guard and responds with some elbows. IVF tries to scramble to his feet, but gives his back and Gomi gets both hooks in and looks for the choke. Vallie-Flagg manages to avoid it but there’s over a minute to go here. Good scramble from IVF allows him to escape to his feet, where he lands a front kick to the body. Gomi fires back with a couple of low kicks of his own, and follows with a hard right hand. Beautiful combo connects for Gomi. IVF swings right back and that’s the round. Close round to score but probably 10-9 IVF by a hair for the better strikes.

Round Two and IVF pushes forward and throws kicks before landing a hard right hand. Referee Herb Dean steps in for a second to cut some loose tape from Gomi’s glove and they continue. Striking exchange continues and IVF’s really swinging. Counter right hand connects hard for Gomi though and knocks IVF backwards. Hard leg kick from IVF but he eats another right hand counter. Gomi’s timing on the counter rights seems to be getting better now. Big right hand lands for Vallie-Flagg though. Brutal leg kick from Gomi. Combo follows. Into the clinch and Gomi muscles him into the fence for a second before IVF breaks. Jabs connect for Gomi and now IVF is all marked up. Big combo from Gomi. IVF is pushing forward but he’s taking more shots now. Left to the body hurts him and Gomi opens up with some more punches. IVF comes back with haymakers of his own and this is degenerating swiftly into a dirty brawl. Gomi looks exhausted. Beautifully timed right hand from Vallie-Flagg. Gomi comes back with a combo. Front kick to the body from IVF. Back into the clinch but nothing happens there and they break off. Gomi is swinging WILD now. Leg kick from Gomi. Vallie-Flagg’s right eye looks fucked up. Brutal right hand over the top from Gomi. IVF’s face is a mess. He’s still swinging but getting the worse of the exchanges now. Vicious left hand lands for Gomi as IVF tries to clinch to land a knee. Round ends in the clinch and IVF has blood pouring from his face. 10-9 Gomi.

Round Three and IVF’s right eye is swollen shut. Crowd are way into this now. Both men come out swinging and it’s Gomi landing the better shots early on. Gomi’s just overwhelming him with punches now. IVF clinches and Gomi surprisingly goes for a takedown but IVF avoids. He pushes forward and manages to get Gomi down face-first, where he lands some really heavy ground-and-pound, but Gomi survives and explodes to his feet to a big pop. They clinch up and the crowd are chanting for Gomi as they muscle for position and exchange some knees. Good knees land inside for Gomi before they break. Couple of rights connect for IVF and he presses forward as they exchange in a pretty wild trade. Back to the clinch and again Gomi lands with some hard knees to the body. Two minutes to go now and they break off. Stiff jab from Gomi sets up a HEAVY COMBO and IVF looks hurt. His face is an absolute state. More shots land for Gomi and good lord does IVF have a good chin. Gomi’s nose is all busted up now too. They clinch again and IVF’s blood is running down Gomi’s back. Gomi takes the back standing and then looks like he’s dropping for a takedown. IVF reverses position and manages to trip him down though, where he lands a knee to the body with Gomi turtled up. Seconds to go and he tries to slap in the hooks, but Gomi slips free and ends the fight on top. 10-9 Gomi for a 29-28.

Judges all have it 29-28 for Gomi. Close fight to call in a lot of respects but I think Gomi definitely deserved the nod due to the sheer damage he did as IVF looked like he’d had impromptu plastic surgery after the fight was over. Really dirty brawl that won’t be winning any awards from a technical standpoint, as it looked like Gomi was tired after about two minutes while IVF didn’t especially put together any massive chains of offense, but it was a ton of fun to watch and there’s always a place for stuff like this in the UFC in my mind.

Flyweight Fight: Joseph Benavidez vs Tim Elliott

With both guys being in the top ten at 125lbs – even if they’re not in title contention outright due to a couple of losses – I would’ve had this on the main card of the PPV, but c’est la vie. Anyway I saw this as a nice rebound fight for Benavidez following the shock KO loss to Mighty Mouse, as to me Elliott’s herky-jerky style is more flash than substance and I thought Benavidez would ground and probably submit him with little problem.

Fight begins and Elliott comes charging out and looks for a takedown. He gets it and Benavidez goes for a guillotine right away, but Elliott avoids and pops up to his feet before landing a knee to break. Elliott’s lunging in as per usual for him but he takes a couple of counters right away. Back to the clinch and Elliott hits a nice hip throw and then rolls into a crucifix position, trapping both arms, and they roll around wildly with Benavidez trying to escape. Benavidez manages to get free, but almost winds up in a banana split submission before Elliott works into top position inside the guard. Benavidez kicks him off though and stands back up. Right hand and a front kick land for Elliott. Hard counter combo connects for Benavidez. Body kick follows. Another nice takedown from Elliott puts him on top in half-guard and he lands a couple of elbows. Benavidez scrambles and manages to get a front headlock, and from there he begins to work on locking up a guillotine. Elliott falls to his back but Benavidez keeps hold of the neck while he lands in half-guard. From there he passes into side mount and then locks up the guillotine fully. Elliott is in deep trouble and he manages to free his neck for a second, but Benavidez keeps hold of it and keeps looking for it. Full mount follows and the choke is sunk. Elliott tries to hold on for a second and then TAPS OUT WITH HIS FEET. Awesome.

That’s only the second time I’ve seen the foot tapout, after Spencer Fisher tapped to Joe Stevenson with his feet back at UFC 104. Elliott was actually looking good to that point too, putting a lot of pressure on Benavidez, but Joe-B-Wan never really looked like he was concerned with Elliott’s offense and when he got hold of the neck it was OVER, baby. One of the best submissions of the year thus far for sure.

Featherweight Fight: Max Holloway vs Andre Fili

This would’ve been the fight I’d have headlined the prelims with – switching it with Benavidez/Elliott – but I guess Zuffa felt that these two young prospects guaranteed some fireworks and went with it instead. Despite Fili coming in as the betting favourite due to his stellar reputation and exciting debut win over Jeremy Larsen, I felt the styles favoured Holloway as he’s a very clean kickboxer while Fili seemed more wild in that afore-mentioned debut.

First round and Fili comes out aggressively, throwing a lot of shots, but he walks into a crisp counter from Holloway. Good leg kick from Fili. Holloway answers right away with a nasty spinning back kick to the body. Fili is being really aggressive. Couple more chopping leg kicks connect for him. Left hand from Fili backs Holloway up and seems to have him hurt, but he recovers quickly. Nice pair of jabs from Holloway. Bodyshot from Fili. Pair of stiff jabs set up a body kick for Fili. One-two fires back for Holloway. Spinning back kick from Holloway as the exchange continues. Right hand lands cleanly twice for Max and Fili finally seems to be slowing down a bit. He decides to change things up with a takedown, but Holloway immediately reverses to his feet and separates. Uppercut from Fili. Exchange ends with a big knee from Holloway and Fili has to clinch. He tries to get Holloway down, but eats a couple of elbows to end the round. 10-9 Fili for the better strikes, just about.

Second round and the exchange picks up again with Holloway landing a hard front kick to the body. Spin kick to the body hurts Fili and he ends up forced into the fence where Holloway smashes him with a trio of knees. Fili might be in trouble here. He manages to break off but you can see right away he’s not quite recovered. Head kick from Fili is caught and Holloway sweeps the leg from under him before letting him back up. Fili’s output is totally slowed down after that kick to the body. Right hand lands for Holloway and he shrugs off a takedown attempt. Good kick to the body from Fili but he’s still being sniped at by Holloway at the minute. Takedown from Fili into the full guard. Holloway controls him from the guard and little happens as referee Kevin Mulhall demands action. Stand-up is called just after with a minute to go. Deep breaths from Fili. They exchange some jabs before Holloway cracks him with the spin kick to the body again. Takedown attempt from Fili but Holloway stuffs it. Fili looks exhausted. Seconds to go and he tries the takedown again, but Holloway stuffs it once more and the round ends there. 10-9 Holloway.

Third round and they pick up where they left off and continue to exchange shots on the feet. Takedown attempt is stuffed easily by Holloway. Another takedown attempt follows but Holloway again blocks and breaks with a knee this time. Spin kick to the body glances for Holloway. Another takedown from Fili is stuffed. A third attempt is successful, but Holloway again controls him from the guard, shutting down Fili’s offense. Reversal allows him to his feet easily. Trip attempt goes a bit wrong for Holloway and Fili remains standing. Right hand lands for Max and sets up the clinch. They break quickly and Fili shoots again, but Holloway again stuffs it. This time he grabs a guillotine and snaps Fili to the ground, but Fili avoids it and pops back up. He forces Holloway into the fence and drops for the takedown again, but Holloway blocks and lands some clean punches. Fili looks badly rocked and drops for the takedown again, but this time Holloway grabs the guillotine cleanly and rolls into top position, twisting the neck for the tapout!

Wow, didn’t expect Holloway to win by submission even if I was favouring him in the fight overall. Fili started very brightly in this fight but in the end – and it sounds odd because the guy is only 22 – but Holloway was able to use his experience to weather the storm and once he’d settled into a rhythm he completely took over. Holloway’s really come into his own this year – winning three in a row now after a really difficult beginning to his UFC career (facing Dennis Bermudez, Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier at 21 is insane!) and I could definitely see him developing into a legit contender in the next couple of years. Really fun fight overall as was expected.

Lightweight Fight: Jim Miller vs Yancy Medeiros

Miller was initially pegged to fight rising star Bobby Green here, but when Green pulled out with an injury, Hawaiian Medeiros – originally set to fight Joe Ellenberger in a prelim – stepped up the card to take the fight. Despite Medeiros looking excellent in his last fight – a knockout win over Yves Edwards – I figured Miller would be a big step too far for him.

Round One and they circle and exchange some strikes from distance with neither man really landing cleanly in the first minute. Good right-left combo lands for Miller and backs Medeiros up a bit. Big body kick connects for Miller. Medeiros is coming up a little short on his strikes thus far. He does land with a couple of front kicks to the body though. Big left hand to the body from Miller and Medeiros is hurt. Miller quickly flurries on him and clinches, forcing him into the fence with a nasty knee to the body. Takedown from Miller using a whizzer and as Medeiros scrambles he quickly dives onto a TIGHT GUILLOTINE. Medeiros tries to hang on, but Miller REALLY cranks on it and the Hawaiian goes to sleep rather than tap.

Fight went pretty much exactly how I thought it would. Medeiros tried but he was hugely outclassed by Miller and Miller isn’t the type of guy to play with his food at this point in his career. Fantastic submission win for the veteran.

Middleweight Fight: Luke Rockhold vs Tim Boetsch

I was super-excited for this one as Rockhold to me is probably the biggest threat to Chris Weidman’s title right now (well, him or Gegard Mousasi….) and this felt like a great showcase match for him as despite his toughness and a really impressive run a year or so ago, I didn’t really think Boetsch would have anything for the former StrikeForce champ. As it goes I think Boetsch should’ve been 0-3 coming into this one as I thought he clearly lost the CB Dollaway fight and got a total gift from the judges.

Fight begins and they circle before Boetsch catches a kick and gets a takedown. Rockhold scrambles as soon as they hit the deck though and winds up on top, then slaps on an inverted triangle with Boetsch on all fours. He locks it up tightly and grabs hold of Boetsch’s left leg for control, then starts to elbow the body. Boetsch manages to hold on, but he’s in big trouble. Rockhold begins to isolate the right arm, and with the left arm trapped by the triangle he cranks up a kimura and forces it back for the tapout. Incredible stuff.

That was a seriously impressive performance from Luke Rockhold. I don’t think Boetsch is top ten or anything at this point but he’s still a super-tough guy and Rockhold ran right through him like he was nothing. I think Weidman vs. Rockhold is going to be *the* big title fight at 185lbs pretty soon, so I like Michael Bisping as Rockhold’s next opponent – forget this silly idea of Rockhold/Machida; Rockhold and Bisping have been sniping at one another for months, it’ll sell better and Rockhold matches well with Bisping and I think he’d beat him. Then do Rockhold/Weidman. Seriously, what’s not to love about Rockhold? Guy is the total package. Best submission of the night, which is crazy considering how good Benavidez’s guillotine was.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Anthony Johnson vs Phil Davis

When Rumble Johnson was cut in 2012 due to the issues with his weight rearing their head again (remember, he moved to 185lbs because he couldn’t make 170lbs and then failed miserably to make that weight too) I honestly didn’t think we’d see him back, as to me his skill-set didn’t really translate to moving up as far as 205lbs. Well, I was totally proven wrong when he went on a nasty run outside of the UFC, knocking out the likes of Jake Rosholt and Mike Kyle in vicious fashion and generally looking better than he’d ever done before. After a great run in WSOF he was brought back here to face Davis – coming off the biggest win of his career, over Lyoto Machida. Despite all the hype around Johnson I actually thought Davis matched up well with him due to his insane wrestling skill, and took Mr Wonderful to win via decision.

Round One and Rumble takes the center of the cage as Davis circles around on the outside. Couple of kicks and a left hand miss for Davis. He tries the takedown but Johnson shows a ton of power to shrug it off. Big uppercut from Johnson and Davis looks a bit wobbled. He tries to lean in for a takedown but Johnson cracks him with the right again and shrugs it off. Right hand answers for Davis. Leg kick from Rumble. Couple of jabs from Rumble peg Davis back. Uppercut connects again for him and Davis is beginning to look slightly rattled. He’s struggling to close the distance on Rumble. Big right hand from Johnson and an uppercut has Davis hurt. He dives in for the takedown but Johnson stuffs it and OPENS UP with a flurry, busting Davis up! Davis gets to his feet but he’s in trouble. Kick from Johnson and he avoids the takedown easily again. Another hard leg kick lands for Rumble and he continues to stalk Mr Wonderful. Big head kick glances for Davis but Rumble seems unfazed. Another big combo lands for Rumble and puts Davis on the run. Davis tries to fire back but he can’t get any big strikes off. Round ends shortly after. Shockingly one-sided round in favour of Anthony Johnson.

Round Two and Davis circles on the outside again as they exchange a couple of leg kicks. Left jab lands for Johnson and sends Davis reeling back. Davis looks really gun-shy at this point after that first round. Head kick glances for Rumble. He stuffs another takedown and lands a right hand again. Right uppercut lands hard for Johnson. Combo follows and Davis just looks out of his depth. Right hand comes crashing over the top and backs Davis up. Davis tries to fire back but eats another stiff jab. Body kick from Davis fires back but he has to dodge a big combination just after. Head kick from Davis is countered by a brutal right uppercut from Rumble that has Mr Wonderful hurt again. Johnson’s just owning Davis standing here. Takedown attempt from Davis but Johnson sprawls and avoids it again before pegging Davis back with more punches. Round ends on the feet with the firm advantage going again to Rumble Johnson. I’ve got him 20-18 up easily.

Round Three and Johnson wastes no time this round, coming right out and stalking Davis and landing a right to the body. Few stiff jabs land for Rumble to again back Davis up. Davis is just eating shots every time he gets into range. Takedown is stuffed again by Rumble with shocking ease. Head kick glances for Davis. He manages to land a right hand and gets deep on a bodylock, but somehow Rumble manages to defend it again. Davis gets him against the fence, but a brutal right breaks for Johnson. Leg kick follows. Another takedown is stuffed to follow. Push kick to the body from Johnson. Davis is still trying to close the distance but he just can’t seem to manage it. Another takedown is stuffed and this time Rumble narrowly misses with a big kick. They tie up with about a minute and half to go and Davis drops for a single leg, but he still can’t get Rumble off his feet. Head kick from Davis is blocked. They trade some punches for a moment but Davis can’t get off anything major. Seconds to go now and Rumble stalks forward and goes for a single leg of his own, but Davis counters by going for a kimura and landing some elbows to the head. Round ends there. 10-9 Johnson for a 30-27 shutout.

Judges all score it 30-27 for Rumble Johnson. Incredible stuff as I honestly expected Davis to be able to get him to the ground easily and then run a grappling clinic on him. Instead he didn’t come close to taking Rumble down and on the feet he was painfully outgunned as Johnson looked patient, measured, and picked his shots in clinical fashion, basically doing everything but get the finish. Talk about returning to the UFC with a bang. Not only did Rumble knock off a guy who was ranked in the top five here, but he also made himself into a potential title contender. Jaw-dropping performance and it’s nice to see a former prospect finally living up to his potential!

UFC World Light-Heavyweight Title: Jon Jones vs Glover Teixeira

Although some were questioning Teixeira being given a title shot off wins over Rampage Jackson, James Te Huna and Ryan Bader, I was firmly behind it – after all, it was too early for a Gustafsson rematch in my opinion and shit, Teixeira hadn’t lost since 2004! And personally I prefer fresh contenders rather than constant rematches, even if the new contender might not be as good as the previous one. I couldn’t see Teixeira defeating Jones, though – while he’s well-rounded in all areas and I was giving him a slight grappling advantage over Jones (dude tapped Dean Lister at ADCC which makes him legit…) as well as perhaps in punching power, I just thought Jones had too many tools to win and would use his reach advantage to abuse Glover from distance.

Round One and Jones opens with a body kick. Another one follows quickly. Glover comes back with a right hand. You can see right away that Teixeira wants to close the distance. Another body kick lands for Jones. Combo from Glover but Jones grabs the plum and lands a knee. Takedown attempt by Jones is stuffed. Oblique kick to the knee from Jones. Big right hand to the body from Glover but he eats a jab. Kick is caught and Glover tries to get Jones down, but the champ blocks and clinches, where he wraps up the right arm of the Brazilian and WRENCHES it in a shoulder crank! Nasty, nasty move. Teixeira breaks free and lands a big overhand right, and then wings some heavy hooks before landing a kick to the body. Takedown is stuffed by Jones though, who steps in with an elbow strike. Left hook from Jones. Jumping head kick glances for the champion and a jab lands flush. BLATANT eye poke follows and Dan Miragliotta has to call time. That didn’t look unintentional to me. Glover decides to continue right away and stalks in with a combo using big hooks, but he eats a jab and a stinging left hook. Pair of leg kicks from Jones and he lands a left hook again. Leg sweep from Jones plants Teixeira on his back, but he quickly pops back up, avoiding a guillotine in the process. Glover is really swinging the hooks. Clinch sees Jones attempt the shoulder crank again. They break off and Teixeira lands a left hook. Spinning back kick lands flush to the body for Jones and he avoids a big rush from the challenger. Another wild rush misses for him and the round ends with an axe kick from Jones. 10-9 Jones in a fun opening round.

Round Two and Teixeira comes out pawing with the jab, but Jones tackles him to the ground. Glover pops right back up again though and they separate. Couple more jabs from Glover but Jones fires back with kicks. Jones avoids a big combo and lands with a straight left. Body kick from Jones. Glover avoids a combo but can’t get hold of Jones. Axe kick from the champ and he follows with an oblique kick. HARD ELBOW lands for Jones and Teixeira tries to get a takedown. Jones shrugs it off…and promptly pokes the challenger in the eye again. This time he gets a strong warning from Miragliotta. They restart and Jones misses with a spinning back kick. Teixeira stalks forward but he’s struggling to get into range. Suddenly though he manages to close Jones down into the fence and opens up with a heavy combo. Jones takes it though and circles out, where he lands a stiff left hand. Head kick from Jones and he follows with an elbow. Couple of really obvious eye gouge attempts follow and I’ve got no idea how Big Dan missed them. Glover manages to land with a pair of hard left hands though. VICIOUS elbow strikes land for Jones to set up the clinch, and he breaks with a nasty left hook. Oblique kick from Jones and he stuffs a takedown attempt. Spinning back kick from Jones sets up a clinch where he lands a shoulder strike. Jones is looking awesome here outside of the eye attacks. Seconds to go and he tries a wheel kick that misses. Single leg fails for Glover and that’s the round. 10-9 Jones.

Round Three and Glover opens with the overhand right. Front kick from Jones sets up a quick double jab. Good right to the body from Teixeira but Jones comes back with a right hook. Hard body kick from Jones and he grabs a guillotine as Glover leans in, before separating with a knee. Wild combo misses for Glover as Jones shows masterful range. Oblique kick from the clinch for Jones and he follows with an elbow and an uppercut that knocks Teixeira’s mouthpiece out. Takedown attempt follows but Glover stuffs it. Jones grabs a rear waistlock and forces the challenger into the fence, where they exchange uppercuts. Jones eats a big one and has to back up, but he seems recovered quickly. Right elbow from Jones sets up the clinch again and he lands a hard knee to the body. Left elbow breaks and then Jones lands a nasty combination from really close range. Teixeira is firing off with uppercuts in answer, but he’s taking some really nasty elbows here and he looks busted up. HARD left hook from Jones and he slides out of the way of the counter. Teixeira’s face is a mess. Right elbow and a left hook land for Jones and he follows that with a hard body kick which sets up the clinch again. Some vicious clinch work follows with Jones landing shots to the body and slashing elbows to the face. Teixeira fires back with some shots of his own to end the round. 10-9 Jones and Teixeira needs a finish to win now.

Round Four and Jones opens with a side kick to the body. Takedown is blocked by Teixeira but he can’t seem to close the distance. Right hand into an elbow from Jones and he clinches and forces the Brazilian into the fence. Spinning backfist misses for the champ. Teixeira tries to answer back with a combo but Jones backs out and then clinches again, tying up the wrists for good measure. He’s abusing Glover in the clinch badly. An exchange sees Glover lose his mouthpiece and Dan Miragliotta has to call time to replace it. Replay shows it was a stiff jab that knocked it out. Body kick from Jones as Teixeira comes forward. Another stiff jab lands for Jones as he stays just out of range, perfect dictation. Nasty standing elbow from the champ. Axe kick into an oblique kick follows and then he lands another elbow. Uppercut lands cleanly for Jones. It’s incredible to see Jones just tooling Glover standing like this. Back into the clinch and Jones nails him with a knee to the body, then lands a spinning elbow. Another elbow connects hard and Teixeira has no answer. More elbows land for Jones and Teixeira’s face is cut to shreds. They separate and Teixeira looks hurt at this point badly. Round ends with a takedown from Jones and some ground-and-pound. This is a whitewash. 10-9 and 40-36 for Jones.

Round Five and this time Jones switches it up and takes Teixeira down right away. Glover tries to reverse to his feet and manages it, but Jones keeps him firmly against the fence. Spinning backfist again for Jones and he continues to maul the Brazilian from close range. Uppercut answers for Glover but Jones wades back into the clinch with jabs and a brutal combination. Glover’s mouthpiece is out again and once more Miragliotta has to call time. They restart and Jones continues to keep his distance as Glover swings. Jones is still reaching out with an open hand to keep out of range though. Again the champ nails Teixeira with elbows from close range. Vicious left hook lands for Jones but Teixeira connects on an uppercut. Two minutes to go and Jones connects on a stabbing back elbow. They separate and Glover keeps coming forward, but walks into a flying knee and still can’t get into range. Clinch from Jones and he eats a big uppercut and right hook but doesn’t seem to care. They break and the champ manages to stay just out of range again. Seconds to go and Teixeira still can’t close him down, and Jones casually jogs out of range before throwing a wheel kick to end the fight. Got to be 50-45 for Jon Jones. Don’t know how you’d give Teixeira a round.

Official scorecards are 50-45 all round for Jon Jones to retain the title. Well, even incompetent judges couldn’t have screwed that one up, surely? Virtuoso performance from Jones even if the fight went the distance and wasn’t as overall exciting as some of his previous defences. The feeling coming in was that Jones should probably take Glover down and pound him from the top, but post-fight Jones explains that he decided to clinch and look to work him over there because he noticed him winding up on his punches a lot and clinching would prevent that. Pretty brilliant to pick up on that during a fight, and throw in the fact that he used that shoulder crank to take Glover’s biggest weapon (the right hook) away from him and you’ve got to admire his fighting instincts – even if they seem on the dirty side sometimes with all the open-hand pawing. His clinch work here in particular was incredible, as he just sliced Glover to ribbons using his elbows from phone booth range while somehow still sliding back out of range to avoid the majority of Glover’s uppercuts and hooks on the counter. Overall a one-sided main event that was also pretty entertaining to watch due to the fighting genius of Jon Jones. Dude is a questionable personality but as a fighter you cannot question him at all.

-Show ends with Joe and Goldie discussing the main event in awe of Jon Jones.

Final Thoughts….

This was a pretty great show overall, with a bunch of fun finishes including brutal knockouts (Beal and Castillo) and slick submissions (Benavidez, Holloway, Miller, Rockhold). The two main events were a bit one-sided to be considered classics or anything and it’s for that reason that I don’t think this will be labelled a contender for the show of the year, but still, one dull fight (Correia/Duke) out of ten is pretty good going. Thumbs way up for UFC 172.

Best Fight: Holloway vs. Fili
Worst Fight: Correia vs. Duke

Overall Rating: ****1/4

Until next time,

Scott Newman: