September 25, 2011
Jon Jones easily retains his title at UFC 135
By NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency
Jon (Bones) Jones put on a masterpiece, dominating Quinton (Rampage) Jackson before sealing the deal with a rear-naked choke in the main event of UFC 135.
The combination of Jones' diverse striking and freakish reach frustrated the former light-heavyweight champion early. Jones delivered a torrent of straight punches, elbows, spinning back kicks, leg kicks and knees to keep Jackson guessing.
Once the bout hit the championship rounds, Jones immediately took Jackson to the mat and secured the choke for the stunning submission victory.
"The game plan was to prove I could strike with Quinton Jackson," Jones said to Joe Rogan following the bout. "He kind of insulted me and said I have no punching power.
"My coaches told me going into the fourth round that he was breaking a little bit. They said if there was a way to finish it, that was it."
A disappointed Jackson said Jones is unbeatable.
"I was in the best shape in my life," Jackson began. "I expected to come in here, close the distance and put Jon Jones away. I have to take my hat off to him."
"This is the best I've ever been in. I'm telling you, he's here to stay. I don't know who's going to beat him," Jackson said before challenging Mauricio (Shogun) Rua to a fight when the UFC returns to Japan in February.
It's hard to argue with Jackson's assessment of Jones following such a one-sided affair. But if anyone disagrees, it's Rashad Evans, who's in next in line for a shot.
"I thought it was a good fight," Evans told Rogan. "Rampage brought it as best he could and Jon Jones looked impressive.
"(Fighting Jones for the title) is a good opportunity. I'm glad the UFC put it together."
Face-to-face with his next challenger, Jones refused to comment on the upcoming bout.
"I promise I'm not going to say much in the lead up to the fight," Jones said. "He's ruined my special night twice now."
Josh Koscheck earned the biggest win of his career, knocking out Matt Hughes in the first round of the co-main event.
Hughes looked sharp in the early going, landing his jab with ease and avoiding Koscheck's power shots.
But Koscheck tracked him down, wobbling with with hard punches. Towards the end of the round Hughes hit the ground, allowing Koscheck to deliver numerous unanswered hammerfists for the victory.
"I just want to say thanks to Mat Hughes for taking this fight," Koscheck said. "He 's a legend and I'm really proud to have had the opportunity to fight a legend like Matt Hughes."
Prior to the bout, many speculated this could be Hughes last trip to the octagon. Despite suffering his second first-round knockout in a row, Hughes said he isn't hanging them up.
"I'm not retiring," an emotional Hughes said. "I'm going to tell the UFC to put me up on a shelf and we'll leave it at that."
Mark Hunt won a gruelling unanimous decision over Ben Rothwell.
The 2001 K-1 world grand prix winner showed off some improved takedown defence as he battered Rothwell during the stand-up exchanges and avoided getting put on his back.
Both men ran out of gas early, but Hunt remained the fresher of the two, opening the door to bloody Rothwell with stiff punches. Despite blasting Rothwell countless times, Hunt simply couldn't put him away.
After three rounds, the judges unanimously awarded the contest to Hunt, who has now won two in a row.
Travis Browne took a workmanlike unanimous decision over Rob Broughton.
Browne was noticeably tentative throughout the fight, but was able to keep Broughton at a distance with leg kicks and hard punches. With momentum in his corner, Browne exploited Broughton's poor takedown defence to ride out a decision on the ground.
Nate Diaz made it look easy against Takanori Gomi, submitting the former PRIDE champion in the first round.
Gomi simply couldn't get past Diaz's six-inch reach advantage, eating a slew of straight punches. Out of desperation Gomi took it to the mat, but fell victim to a slick armbar.
"I'm happy to get the win," Diaz said. "He's dangerous. Takanori Gomi was the PRIDE champion for years and years. He's one of my favourite fighters and is still is. Thanks, Gomi."
The preliminary bout between Tony Ferguson and Aaron Riley was waved off after Riley suffered a broken jaw courtesy a nasty uppercut from Ferguson.
The Ultimate Fighter season 13 winner utilized his reach advantage to continually tag Riley with hard uppercuts and straights. Riley showed a ton of heart, but couldn't mount much offence. After five minutes of fighting the doctor was forced to call the bout.
Ferguson said he was happy with the win, but was disappointed it ended so quickly.
"I'm ecstatic," Ferguson said. "I wish i could have given the crowd a little better of a show. I wish it could have gone further.
"I'm sorry it stopped early."