It was a strange night in New Jersey, with injuries, eye pokes and some surprise results.
On the undercard, the ever-game Leonard Garcia fell to a dominant display by Cody McKenzie of all people and will surely be clearing out his locker as he drops to a 0-5 streak, while Steven Siler racked up another win in an exciting tussle with Kurt Holobaugh.
Bryan Caraway scored a win for technique over size with a validating submission victory over Bantamweight bully Johnny Bedford, even though he was definitely winning the fight on points. Coasting, Joe?
Sara McMann made a real statement in the UFC’s third female fight. German Shiela Gaff came out knowing her best shot was to KO to Olympic wrestler, but her haste led her into a deep double leg and several minutes of ground and pound from McMann. They were stood up and the same thing happened again, except this time McMann transitioned quickly to a mounted crucifix and secured the first round TKO victory.
I’d really like to see McMann face the winner of Alexis Davis vs. Rosi Sexton to see who gets next Spring’s title shot.
Strikeforce veterans Ovince St-Preux and Gian Villante had a tentative bout, with OSP definitely winning the first round and the second being a bit more debatable. On eye poke led to an instantaneous referee stoppage – bad call, Villante just needed a second to clear his eye and he could have continued – which led to a technical decision in favour of OSP to the general dismay of everyone in the crowd and most folks on Twitter.
Next up, lightweight prospects Rustam Khabilov and Yancy Madeiros faced off in a much anticipated bout, that ended in surprising fashion but from an anticipated route. Only a few minutes into the first round Khabilov went to the well of his sambo influenced suplexes and while Madeiros showed great defence, he caught his thumb breaking his fall and that led to a TKO loss.
It’s a shame that Madeiros lost his unbeaten streak to an unfortunate, almost freak injury but at the end of the day, he was injured by a legal offensive move and that’s a TKO all day long, no matter what some folks on the web are saying.
Into the main card and much overlooked Strikeforce veteran Pat Healy defeated UFC mainstay Jim Miller at his own game, liberally out wrestling and eventually submitting the #3 ranked fighter in what would end up earning him $130k for both Fight and Submission of the Night bonuses. Welcome to the big show Pat.
Phil Davis showed improved striking in his comprehensive decision win over Vinny Magalhaes which didn’t teach us anything all that new. Davis does seem rehabilitated from his tepid loss to Rashad Evans and can now start looking up the ranks. Maybe a fight with Glover Teixeira?
Roy Nelson made a statement with his first round KO of Cheick Kongo, although its not as if we didn’t know he had a bull neck and knockout power. Dana White says he’s looking at Daniel Cormier or Mark Hunt next for Roy. DC seems keen, and I’m good with hat because I think the winner of Hunt-JDS should be on a title shot.
In the co-main event, Michael Bisping may have failed to KO Alan Belcher in the first round, but a composed display did lead to a unanimous, albeit technical decision victory when an accidental eye poke ended the fight with about thirty seconds to go.
Not the best way to regain momentum, but back in the win column, Mike can start campaigning for a title shot. Again.
What’s that? Get on with it?
In the main event, Jon Jones showed his true quality by TKO’ing Chael Sonnen in the first round, taking him down three times in the process. Oh, and he broke his toe at one point and didn’t notice till midway through his post fight interview.
Much as I’m not a Jones fan, such a schooling of someone like Sonnen, complete with almost ignoring a SICK looking injury deserves massive respect. Jones has equalled Tito Ortiz’ record for light heavyweight title defences and said he would prefer to face Alexander Gustafsson next.
I’m pretty happy with that.
Chael was classy in defeat, putting Jones over as very impressive and only the second but to ever beat him up. However, with two such beatings in a row what’s left for Sonnen?
We know he’s got a career in broadcasting and possibly coaching to look forward to, but as for in ring action, Chael may be looking at wrapping it up. Unless he really does want to fight Wanderlei on what amounts to the UFC veterans-just-for-fun circuit, which I’d certainly pay to see…
After four events in as many weeks, the UFC go quiet for almost a month with the next event being UFC on FX 8 from Brasil, headlined by Vitor Belfort vs. Luke Rockhold on May 18th, but we’ve got two Cage Warriors events to concentrate on the meantime. They’ll be live on mmajunkie.com on 4th and 11th May so you’ve got some top quality MMA coming your way while Dana and company remember where it is that they actually live.
Jon Jones def. Chael Sonnen via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 4:33 – retains light-heavyweight title
• Michael Bisping def. Alan Belcher via technical decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
• Roy Nelson def. Cheick Kongo via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 2:03
• Phil Davis def. Vinny Magalhaes via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
• Pat Healy def. Jim Miller via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 4:02
• Rustam Khabilov def. Yancy Medeiros via TKO (thumb injury) – Round 1, 2:32
• Ovince St. Preux def. Gian Villante via majority technical decision (30-28, 30-29, 29-29) – Round 3, 0:33
• Sara McMann def. Sheila Gaff via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 4:06
• Bryan Caraway def. Johnny Bedford via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 3, 4:44
• Cody McKenzie def. Leonard Garcia via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
• Steven Siler def. Kurt Holobaugh via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)