Jon Jones just became the youngest champion in UFC history, beating Mauricio Rua in the third round of Saturday's UFC light heavyweight title bout. But how did he do it? Let's break it down, minute but minute, blow by blow.
After Bruce Buffer's typically insane introduction and Joe Rogan's ill advised Mike Tyson comparisons, it was time to get it on. Rogan and Mike Goldberg had the call. Referee Herb Dean asked for just two things -to follow the rules and protect themselves at all times. Seems fair enough. Are you ready to crown a king? Pictured techniques in bold beneath each photo.
00:00- 01:00: Shogun stalks Jones and is met immediately with a flying knee attempt. Jones was looking for something spectacular early. Instead he'd have to settle for 12 minutes of amazing. Jones throws a left head kick and a right front kick and Shogun shrugs both off to grab a clinch. Rua is in a difficult spot. The shorter fighter usually wants to close the distance like this with someone as long as Jones. The problem here? You're closing the distance into the grasp of a man with the best clinch takedowns in the game.
Jones breaks free and throws a spinning back kick. "Unorthodox," is what Mike Goldberg calls it. I can't help but agree. Keep in mind all this has happened in just 20 seconds. We're off and running at a super fast pace. As the first 30 seconds comes to a close, Jones plants Rua with a vicious takedown. If you're a Rua fan, things are not looking good right about now. Rogan is spot on about Rua looking for an underhook on Jones' leg but Jones is too savvy, strong, and long for that to possible work.
01:00-02:00: Jones is in half guard and looking for the same choke or neck crank he finished Ryan Bader with. Shogun considers a knee bar, but pulls guard instead. Jones looks to strike for the first time with 3:15 remaining in the round, landing a light right hand, following quickly with a left elbow. Shogun looks very small beneath him.
02:00-03:00: Rogan is still spot on calling the action. Rua is able to underhook Jones's right leg and grimaces in hope and pain, looking for a miracle sweep. Jones never even seems to move. The size and strength different is marked and Rua is now in half guard. Jones grabs Shogun's temple here and Herb Dean warns him to stay away from the eyes. It may have possibly been the first MMA attempt at Baron Von Rasche's "Iron Claw."
Jones lands two left elbows and right to the body. Rua absorbs it in order to resume the full guard. Jones lands two more left elbows to Shogun's doughy mid section. Rua uses it as an opportunity to move his legs up for a possible triangle. Say what you will about Shogun - he certainly doesn't lack toughness. He's willing to take a few to get the position he wants.
03:00-04:00: As Jones postures up and begins working at a faster pace, Herb Dean notices his thumb in Rua's neck. Things are getting down and dirty in New Jersey. Rua looks to scramble to his feet and Jones lets him go, making him pay with a huge left knee to the body, following with a right kick to the head the moment it becomes legal. That's followed in turn by a left, right, left combination and business, as they say, is picking up.
Jones loses some momentum with a missed frontkick and a knee stomp that just grazes the champion. Rogan announces Shogun is hurt just as he lets go with his own desperation left hand. Jones counters with a right, but the Rua punch spooks him into letting his prey off the cage. Jones watches with a dispassionate separation as Rua comes stumbling forward, clearly dazed. Rua throws a right but Goldberg notes "how wobbly he is." Jones looks for a finish with an uppercut that hits nothing but air. Had it landed, we'd still be looking for Rua's teeth in the Prudential Center.
Jones throws another side kick. He's clearly targeting the knee, but Rogan calls it a kick to the thigh. Jones grabs a thai clinch and lets loose with another knee. Shogun is just looking to survive here, but the pace has slowed to the point it seems Jones might let him. Jones switches stances to let lose a huge left that was a fight ender if it lander solidly. It does not. He closes the minute of action with a left to the body followed by a knee to the body. Is there any wonder Shogun had little left later in the fight? Jones is working the body hard here.
04:00-05:00: Jones pushes Rua into the cage and then lands another kick to the knee. Knowing the struggles Rua has faced with multiple surgeries, this is brutal and ugly stuff from a determined and vicious fighter. Shogun lands his best punches of the fight, a left-right combo that made Jones take a step back. "He looks like he's a full weight class bigger than Shogun," Rogan proclaims. He's absolutely right. Jones throws a spinning elbow that misses and Shogun has the temporary advantage. Instead of doing what he does best, he inexplicably falls back for a leg lock. "Very bad," Rogan says. Jones proceeds to headbutt Rua in the stomach. Between this, the knee stomp, and the iron claw, it's been an ugly fight.
After the break: Rounds two and three in detail.
00:00-01:00: Jones throws a leg kick, that Shogun checks, but it's worth remarking that Rua hasn't thrown a single kick at Jones's skinny legs. It was supposed to be a huge advantage for him, but it's a weapon he's left in the holster. Shogun misses wildly with a left and ends up against the cage. Jones lands his famed spinning elbow. It does some damage, and boy is it exciting. He follows with a left and Shogun is looking out of his league.
Jones lands a Superman jab and Shogun circles out of trouble. Jones lands two leg kicks and Shogun misses wildly. "Shogun is too slow," Rogan proclaims. It does seem the Brazilian is moving through molasses.
01:00-02:00: Jones lands another leg stomp and then palms Rua's face. That was a Liddell style eye poke just waiting to happen, but luckily the blow ends up incident free. He continues to throw an open hand out there, finally landing with a knee to the body as Rua looks to clinch. They trade some tepid knees before Shogun breaks contact.
Shogun is still struggling badly with Jones's reach advantage, missing badly on a right-left combo. Jones loads up on a right hand to the head and then a wicked left to the body. Shogun charges in like a bull throwing wildly, but Jones sees him coming a mile away.
02:00-03:00: Jones is switching regularly between southpaw and orthodox stances here. Rua hardly seems to notice. Does it matter if the only science in your style is gleaned from watching bull fights? When he goes southpaw, he makes it count, nailing Rua with two big lefts. Jones is landing a series of punches and kicks and Rua has no answer. At 2:40 remaining in round two he throws his first leg kick. Jones catches it and puts him on his back. It was that kind of night for Rua.
He lands two big lefts and then goes for an old school can opener, rubbing his head on Rua's face, eventually covering up Shogun's mouth with his hand. It's worth noting that Jones, for all his values talk, is not afraid to push the rules to the breaking point. He's not throwing much here, but does land two nice elbows from inside Rua's guard.
03:00-04:00: Jones continues his ground and pound attack with more elbows to the body while Goldberg runs down his resume. It's honestly a little thin. That's about to change. Jones is trying to pass to half guard and Rua uses the opportunity to attempt a sweep. Jones wins the battle. Rua is trying to defend the elbows he knows are coming by putting a hand on his face. Literally.
04:00-05:00: Golberg points out how patient Jones is being with his ground and pound and it's true. For better or worse, there is no Shane Carwin style attack here. Jones is preserving energy for a five round fight, even at the cost of a potential early stoppage. It's smart and patient, especially for a 23 year old fighter in his first PPV main event. Rua continues to look for the same sweep over and over again. Jones puts his forearm in Rua's neck to drive the point home: it's not happening. After some "stay busy" ground and pound, Jones closes the round with his own kneebar attempt, landing a hammerfist for good measure. It wasn't a real attempt - he knew how much time was left. But it sent a message for sure.
00:00-01:00: "Shogun is a champion for a reason," Goldberg says to to open the round, trying to make the audience believe the fight will suddenly get a lot more competitive. Shogun misses badly with several punches, still chasing Jones, still unable to find him in range. Jones misses badly with an uppercut and the pace has slowed quite a bit from the furious first round.
Jones misses with a headkick, giving Shogun a momentary advantage on his back. The Brazilian tries to pull him to the mat. He wasn't diving for a leglock, as Rogan claimed in the commentary, but when Jones didn't budge and he slipped free of his waistlock, that was his fall back move. Jones ends up in dominant position, but can't secure a Kimura.
01:00-02:00: "It's man against boy," Rogan says and it looks like it. Jones looks to trap Rua's arm and do some serious damage, landing a couple of strong lefts before Rua can pull his arm free and defend. A three punch combination follows. Jones is starting to let loose, dropping seven consecutive punches on Rua, many at least partially deflected.
02:00-03:00: At the 2:50 mark, Jones lands a huge left hand as the crows oohed their appreciation. A left and right elbow were next and suddenly Shogun wasn't defending nearly as effectively. Now Jon Jones is attacking furiously with a combination of elbows and punches. After a knee to the body, Shogun staggers to his feet. A big body punch is followed by a knee and Herb Dean is right there to stop the fight.
Jon Jones is the new light heavyweight champion of the world. It was a route standing, in the clinch, and on the mat. Jones showed as wide a variety of techniques as anyone in UFC history - including some beyond the confines of the rules. It's a lot for potential opponents to take in. Jon Jones, it turns out, is an even more dangerous man than we thought.
Edit: For your edification- The Rules
(a) The following are fouls and will result in penalties if committed:
1. Butting with the head;
2. Eye gouging of any kind;
3. Biting or spitting at an opponent;
4. Hair pulling;
5. Fish hooking;
6. Groin attacks of any kind;
7. Intentionally placing a finger in any opponent’s orifice;
8. Downward pointing of elbow strikes;
9. Small joint manipulation;
10. Strikes to the spine or back of the head;
11. Heel kicks to the kidney;
12. Throat strikes of any kind;
13. Clawing, pinching, twisting the flesh or grabbing the clavicle;
14. Kicking the head of a grounded fighter;
15. Kneeing the head of a grounded fighter;
16. Stomping of a grounded fighter;
17. The use of abusive language in fighting area;
18. Any unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to opponent;
19. Attacking an opponent on or during the break;
20. Attacking an opponent who is under the referee’s care at the time;
21. Timidity (avoiding contact, or consistent dropping of mouthpiece, or faking an injury);
22. Interference from a mixed martial artists seconds;
23. Throwing an opponent out of the fighting area;
24. Flagrant disregard of the referee’s instructions;
25. Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his or her head or neck.