Going into UFC 128 there were those who questioned whether the 23 year old Jon Jones was ready to fight for a UFC title. Those questions were answered emphatically last night by Jones' utter domination of Mauricio Rua.
The UFC has had a merry-go-round of champions since TUF-era superstar Chuck Liddell lost his belt to Quinton Jackson in 2007. Jackson defended the belt once against Dan Henderson before losing it to Forrest Griffin. Griffin immediately passed it on to Rashad Evans who in turn handed it right over to Lyoto Machida. Machida did win one title defense but it was so close that an immediate rematch was given to his opponent Shogun Rua. Rua took the title in the rematch and has now handed the belt over to Jon Jones.
That's seven champions in the UFC light heavyweight division in just under four years. Before the merry-go-round of champs, 205lbs was the UFC's marquee division. Jon Jones has an opportunity to emerge as the first dominant champion in the UFC light heavyweight class since the Liddell era ended.
I don't expect Rashad Evans to be any more competitive against Jones than Rua was, although I do expect Evans to come in in good condition, unlike the pudgy Rua.
The real competition for Jones' dominance in the division will come from Phil Davis an undefeated former NCAA wrestling national champion who is nearly a match for Jones in size and athleticism even if he doesn't have quite the freakish reach of the champ.
And it might be hard to believe but there was more than one MMA event happening on Earth last night. Bellator held their 37th event, the opening round of their featherweight tournament. We covered it live here at Bloody Elbow. Former finalists Patricio Freire and Wilson Reis advanced as did Daniel Straus and Kenny Foster.
Current Bellator featherweight champ Joe Warren is apparently not too concerned with the field as, according to Sherdog, he's talking not just about the 2012 Greco-Roman Olympics but cutting down to 135lbs and entering next season's Bellator bantamweight tournament.
Sherdog also covered KSW 15 from Poland which saw a pair of UFC veterans split their fights:
Mamed Khalidov's lightning-fast submission of UFC veteran James Irvin was the silver lining to a largely disastrous evening for Polish mixed martial artists at Saturday's Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki 15.
Before a hometown crowd at Torwar Hall, Khalidov began the fight in typical fashion by throwing a spinning heel kick. He missed and dropped to his back, where Irvin gave chase and threw powerful shots. Khalidov composed himself and swiftly rolled into an armbar that had the American -- who weighed in at 200 pounds for the middleweight contest -- tapping at the 33-second mark and the fans screaming with excitement. Khalidov was just the third Polish-based fighter to defeat a foreign opponent on the night.
Another UFC vet, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, fared better in the show's co-main event, as he snapped Jan Blachowicz's nine-fight win streak to claim the KSW light heavyweight belt.
By the midway point of round two, Blachowicz's leg was heavily swollen and the 28-year old struggled to keep his balance. Sokoudjou's kicks were relentless and ultimately proved too much: after 10 minutes of battering, Blachowicz was unable to answer the bell for the third round and left the arena on a stretcher.