Having watched the fights last night I had to post about it on here. There were some seriously impressive fighters on show for the UFC’s first non-pay-per-view show on the Versus network.
There are however a few things that sucked about it…. first – about 60% of the 2hour slot was adverts or random interviews with fighters who weren’t on the show. I get that the UFC are trying to entice Versus viewers into buying UFC111 but they showed enough ads for it, did they really need the GSP and Carwin interviews too? Second, after 15mins the first started. After 40 mins, we were just getting into the second fight (oh and the first fight was stopped in the first round!!). Get past all that however and what I was watching last night was, in my opinion 2 future champs move into the elite league of their respective weight classes.
Firstly Junior Dos Santos who fought Gabriel Gonzaga. JDS has been knocking out everyone who steps in front of him and last night was no exception. Him and Gonzaga shared a common opponent in Cro-Cop and it was Gonzagas fight against the legend that will stick in everyones memory as Joe Rogan put it “he cro-cop’d cro-cop”. Sunday night though, Gonzaga had no answer for the power of ‘Cigano’. He stuck with trying to power in leg kicks and take away the footwork of Dos Santos but it only took a few minutes for Dos Santos to pick up the timing of the kicks. Just as Gonzaga threw a kick, Dos Santos threw a perfect left hook and sent Gonzaga crashing to the canvas. A quick follow up of GnP and it was a 5th straight TKO win in the UFC for Junior. A bout with his mentor Noguiera is out of the question but he is certainly in line for the next shot at one of the Mir /Carwin/ Lesnar trio. The next couple of UFC’s that decide how things lie at the top of the UFC Heavyweight divison will decide who he faces off against. Interesting times ahead in the promotions marquee division.
The main event was Jon “bones” Jones against Brandon “the truth” Vera. I’m going right out on a limb now and saying that by the end of 2011, Jon Jones will be the UFC Light-heavyweight champion. This kid is truly something special. He’s been on my radar since he ragdolled Stephan Bonnar all over the place and has not disappointed. He lost his fight to Matt Hammil by DQ but that never should have been, Hammil couldn’t continue due to his wrecked shoulder and NOT the illegal downwards elbow Jones threw. Jones should have been warned and had a point deducted. Even Dana White has said he shouldn’t have an L on his record.
Jones dominated Vera from the start, immediately clinching and tossing Brandon to the floor like he was a 5 year old kid. Vera looked to work off his back during the fight but was ineffective and apart from 2 (illegal) upkicks whilst Jones was grounded, he had nothing to answer for the onslaught. Right after the second illegal kick – which Jones shrugged off and Herb Dean didn’t even stop the action for – he landed the meanest looking “Hellbow” I’ve seen in a long time. You could hear the impact on the broadcast and Vera immediately clutched his face and turned away from his opponent. It has since been reported that his cheek is fractured in 3 places and due to the severity of the injury he couldn’t even fly back from Colorado. It’s only a matter of time before some pics of the mess that is now Vera’s face surface on the net and they will be added to the hall of pain immediately!!
Jones has bested all of his opponents so far in the UFC in increasingly devastating fashion. Even the loss on his record was a total domination until the illegal strike and the DQ. He is 22 years old and is improving all the time..that is one scary dude. The interesting thing is that he trains out of Greg Jacksons camp and one of the opponents he will need to face to climb to the top of the division is a stable-mate of his: Rashad Evans. Of course Rashad has to fight Rampage first and regardless of whether Rampage wins or loses, I can definitely see the UFC making a match between Rampage and Jones next, that would be an AMAZING fight. You never know with Rampage though and he may just see out his contract and bin the UFC off altogether – he has threatened to do this in the past. Another interesting match would be Jones vs Couture…. I guess we’ll wait and see what Dana and Joe Silva come up with.
Elsewhere on the card John Howard landed a left hand right from Satans living room to KO a grounded Daniel Thomas who was fighting off his back. The ref was slow to react and 2 more shots landed keen before the ref finally pulled Howard off. Thomas was prone in the cage for a good 4/5 minutes and after a nasty KO like that, is sure to have a medical suspension for a while.
On the undercard (and not televised) Duane Ludwig may have fought the last fight of his MMA career after breaking his ankle when it got trapped underneath him whilst he was taken down by Darren Elkins:
Steve Cofield Cagewriter of Yahoo Sports has a decent write up here