UFC 128 brought a stacked card of exciting fights to Newark, NJ last Saturday. Highlighting the night was a championship bought between Jon ‘Bones’Jones and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua that will go down in history as the beginning of a new legend.
Erik Koch defeats Raphael Assuncao via Knockout at 2:32 in Round 1
-In a knockout of the night performance, Koch defeated Assuncao with a brilliant right counter hook while moving backwards. Assuncao took a long time getting up, but walked out of the octagon on his own function.
Nick Catone defeats Costantinos Philippou via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
-Jersey native Nick ‘The Jersey Devil” earned the decision against Philippou after three hard fought rounds.
Joseph Benavidez defeats Ian Loveland via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
-“Jobi Won Kenobi” clinched a decision against the much bigger “Barn Owl” Loveland. Despite having two of the most bizarre nicknames on the card, these two fighters put on an exciting fight. Loveland seemed to have injured his right leg at the end of the second after a Benavidez takedown, but gutted his way through the third.
Gleison Tibau defeats Kurt Pellegrino via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
-In a back and forth battle, Tibau defeated NJ native Pellegrino. Tibau’s size and wrestling won him the fight, outpointing Pellegrino in the first and third with takedowns and dominant positioning. Tibau was rocked in the second with a right from Pellegrino, and slammed to the ground, but Pellegrino could not finish the fight.
Mike Pyle defeats Ricardo Almeida via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
-Pyle and Almeida went to war, putting on an exciting show for Almeida’s home-state crowd. While Pyle seemed to take Almeida down at ease, he opted to keep the fight standing, refusing a number of times to engage Almeida on the ground. The decision was definitely closer then unanimous, both fighters scoring points with takedowns, clinch-work, and some brawling exchanges. In the end it was Pyle’s technical edge that won him the fight.
Edson Barboza defeats Anthony Njokuani via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
-Barboza and Njokuani showcased their muay thai skills in a fight-of-the-night winning performance. Both fighters pushed the pace and landed some big shots that rocked their opponent. Each displayed their lightning quick hands and reflexes and nullified the others game for an edge-of-your-seat fireworks show. Barboza seemed slightly ahead for the whole fight, and clinched the decision in the final seconds with a devastating spinning back kick to the head of Njokuani, a blow that sent him reeling, but would have knocked out many other opponents.
Luiz Cane defeats Eliot Marshall via TKO (Strikes) at 2:15 in Round 1
-“The Fire” Marshall was extinguished in his return to the UFC by MMA vet Luiz Cane. Cane quickly knocked Marshall to the ground, delivering uncontested ground and pound before the official mercifully put an end to the beating.
Jim Miller defeats Kamal Shalorus via TKO (Punches) at 2:15 of Round 3
-NJ standout Jim Miller stuffed WEC superstar Shalorus in his UFC debut. Miller, as always, never stopped attacking, wearing Kamal down with punches and submission attempts. The fight was nearly finished in the second when Miller locked in a body triangle on Shalorus, but he could not sink in the rear naked choke before the round ended. Miller exploded in the third, finally landing a huge uppercut that wobbled Shalorus, and finished the fight with a devastating knee and punches on his downed opponent. Miller continues his dominance in the UFC, extending his winning streak to 7.
Brendan Schaub defeats Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic via TKO (Strikes) in Round 3
-Rising star Brendan Schaub put the lights of MMA legend Cro Cop out after an exciting back and forth battle. Schaub changed his tactics throughout the fight, surprising Cro Cop by alternating between striking, takedowns, and clinch game. In the clinch, Cro Cop employed some nice dirty boxing to bloodied up the younger, bigger fighter, and Schaub got deducted 1 point for grabbing the shorts of Filopovic. The point deduction my well have decided the fight, but luckily for him it didn’t go the distance. Schaubs unpredictable gameplan paid off in the third when he caught Cro Cop coming in for a punch with a solid right hook to the temple. Cro Cop was done before he hit the ground. Schaub landed a punch for good measure on the ground, but the ref stopped the fight before any more damage was done.
Nate Marquardt defeats Dan Miller via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
-After Akiyama dropped out due to the disaster in Japan, the UFC was in a bind, having nobody to fight Marquardt with only a week until the fight. Luckily, the Miller brother policy is to fight anyone the UFC wants, anywhere, any time. Miller was scheduled to fight on the undercard, but welcomed the opportunity to move up the Middleweight ladder early and fight on of the top fighters in the division, Nate Marquardt. Miller displayed his heart, toughness, and conditioning in a hard fought battle. In the end, Marquardt was too skilled for him, landing dozens of power shots to the face of Miller, and controlling him on the ground.
Urijah Faber defeats Eddie Wineland via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
-Faber and Wineland, top featherweight division contenders, battled it out in the night’s co-main event. Wineland had a slight edge in the first, holding Faber against the cage and scoring a takedown. Faber adjusted in the second, landing some solid punches and taking Wineland to the ground multiple times. The third was much like the second, and Faber ended the fight on top, picking Wineland up while in guard and slamming him twice. Faber wasn’t satisfied with his performance, wishing for a finish, but he was dominant enough to win a title shot against Dominick Cruz, who he beat at Featherweight in 2007.
Jon “Bones” Jones defeats Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via TKO (Knee) at 2:37 of Round 3
-The hype around Jon Jones was overwhelming, but he lived up to every bit of it. From the very beginning of the fight Jones dominant, landing a flying knee and tripping the champ to the ground in the first few seconds of the fight. Rua was on jelly legs for three rounds, but showed he had the heart and toughness of a true champion, pushing through the barrage of knees, punches and elbows landed by Jones. Shogun’s determination was inspiring, but in the end he succumbed to the superior reach, skill and athleticism of Jones, crumbling against the cage after a knee to the face.
UFC 128 saw the fall of two MMA legends, Cro Cop and Shogun, but also heralded the rise of two young stars, Jones and Schaub. Die-hard fans were dissapointed at the results, but the MMA world only gets more exciting with young talent coming onto the scene. The changing of the guard has begun, and a new generation of MMA fighters are staking their claims on the title of world’s best.
Jones, to date, has destroyed all opposition in his path. Despite the fickle nature of the light heavyweight belt, “Bones” may be the first in 4 years to hold on to it for more then one defense. He may go down as one of the all time greatest.
The new light heavyweight champion has shocked and amazed fight fans both in and out of the octagon. Jones posted to his Twitter account that he and coaches Jackson and Winkeljohn chased down and restrained a car thief in Paterson hours prior to the fight. UFC president Dana White commented that the only thing he had left to do was deliver a baby to complete his amazing day.
Congrats to Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, and we all look forward to your next fight in the octagon!