Jon Jones came into UFC 152 in close to a no-win situation. Despite Dana White's claims that no one can say Vitor Belfort didn't deserve a title shot, he didn't deserve a title shot. This was a guy who hadn't fought in the light heavyweight division since 2008 and hadn't had a "big" light heavyweight win since UFC 46 when he beat Randy Couture on a fluke eyelid cut.
So Jones couldn't really do anything to shut up his doubters, but could he do enough to at least not give them more ammo?
Well, he did clearly win the vast majority of the fight and got the submission finish. But he also got his arm damaged by a deep first round armbar by Vitor. So it wasn't a huge, incredibly impressive win. But it was still one-sided as it should have been. So, he can move forward from there.
- Demetrious Johnson won the first ever UFC flyweight championship with a split decision victory over Joseph Benavidez. It wasn't exactly a thrilling fight, but it wasn't bad by any means. It's just that a lot of the fight wasn't really "exciting" outside of a very good fourth round. I have my doubts about Johnson ever becoming a "star." That's a function of both being in the lightest weight class without much depth and (moreso) his style. He's technically fantastic, but it's just not a particularly attractive style to watch as a casual viewer.
- Michael Bisping didn't have too much trouble with Brian Stann in their fight. Stann landed one good punch that buzzed Bisping a bit, but he recovered well and won the fight on the feet and through takedowns. He has a good sense of timing as far as understanding when to get in, land a punch and get back out before he can really take any significant return fire. He doesn't have a ton of power and he compensates for that well via his style.
- By the way, Brian Stann must be a fantastic dude. Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping both couldn't really find a bad thing to say about him when they fought him.
- Let's never talk about Matt Hamill vs. Roger Hollett again. Okay? What a miserable fight. Hollett has been "boxing" for "most of his life." But I guess that didn't cover like "throw punches" or "have a better stance" etc. It was a good example (in a night of many) of how pointless the UFC's stat usage is. Hamill set a new "record" for significant strikes by a 205'er. But it wasn't like there was so much attacking. It was just off a few takedowns where he threw a lot of punches in a flurry. To attribute a record that makes it sound impressive in what was a lame fight where no one impressed? That's a product of the continual use of stats with no context.
- I need to come to terms with Cub Swanson being good. I wasn't quite sold that he was that much better than the guy who was so-so in the WEC but it appears he has made significant improvements to his game. I still don't think he'll be great against more accomplished strikers with his wide open style, but he's doing quite well with it right now.
More after the jump...
- I'm still not on the Vinny Magalhaes train. It's been a long time since he has fought anyone worth much of a damn. Igor Pokrajac isn't exactly at the top or middle of the UFC 205 pound division and is only a moderate step up from the M-1 nonsense he had been participating in. But he did finish off the armbar beautifully to get the win tonight.
- TJ Grant and Evan Dunham put on a hell of a show. I'm sure there's a portion of the crowd that thinks that the fight was sloppy or "not technical" enough or whatever. But it was a great brawl that saw both guys give and take from bell to bell. I've said it before, but you don't remember Gatti vs. Ward or Castillo vs. Coralles because they were great technical battles. This wasn't quite on that level, but it was a damn fun fight.
- I feel like it's stealing Mike Fagan's old bit, but Sean Pierson is one of those talented guys that just blends in with a cloud of other similar fighters. He just hasn't yet had that moment where he stands out for me. He was subtly beating up Lance Benoist for two rounds before Benoist suddenly clubbed him and had him badly hurt. I'm still not sure why Benoist gave away the last 10 seconds or so of the fight holding a badly hurt Pierson against the cage.
- Marcus Brimage is proving to be one of the better talents to come out of recent editions of TUF. He clearly beat Jim Hettes in their fight, there was no doubt that he won rounds 1 and 3. Unfortunately, this was one of those cases where Joe Rogan seemed to come into the fight with an idea of how it would go and couldn't quite get his commentary to match up with what was happening, calling single Hettes punches and ignoring combos from Brimage, spending time talking about Hettes possibly winning based on being in the center of the cage despite being clearly punched over and over and then acting like Hettes not going down from punches scored him points. Just awful commentary during this fight.
- The three Facebook fights almost felt like an inconvenience, all ending in one round and then leaving a big gap until the FX fights. They also were finishes, but kind of bland, incomplete fights.
We'll have much more on the fights in the coming hours and days.