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The surprising wins of Jon Jones and Anthony Johnson at UFC 172



sugabonesMany people predicted that Jon Jones would retain his title against Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 but not by getting inside and beating Teixeira up. Fewer people predicted that Anthony Johnson would defeat Phil Davis, and no one saw him dominating him by picking him apart.

That is what we get in today’s MMA as fighters continue to evolve and in Jones’ case it seems like it literally happens right before our eyes.

Going into the fight with Teixeira the standard thinking was Jones would use his reach to pick him apart from the outside; shoot for a takedown and work his nasty elbows in the ground and pound, then get the finish either via a TKO or a submission.

That is how the fight started out. Jones was working a lot of kicks to the body and legs of Teixeira. This is one of the ways that he effectively uses his reach. The kicks help create the space and distance for him to strike when his opponents cannot.

Jones also shot in for an early takedown that was stuffed by Teixeira. Even though it was stopped, the takedown attempt forces Teixeira to spread out his focus and makes Jones much harder to defend.

He is like trying to stop Michael Jordan in his prime. Jordan could beat you in a myriad of ways and sometimes the fun was seeing which way he would choose to do it. Jones is starting to enter that level as he is entering his prime.

As the first round continued, Teixeira started to landed some clean punches to the head and kicks to the body. Jones countered with more creative kicks like a question mark one that landed. He was also using a nice stiff jab.

Teixeira was finding some success with an overhand right and left hook.

Jones was switching stances very easily during the round. It was one that seemed like it was going like most people thought as Jones won a competitive round easily. Teixeira was in the fight but had not hurt Jones yet.

In the second round Jones started to work the clinch game more. Inside he used his vicious elbows and mixed in some knees. Jones was really busting Teixeira’s face in this round and that was the blueprint for the rest of the fight.

Afterwards at the post-fight press conference, Jones talked about how he changed his game plan during the fight. He had originally planned to stay on the outside but Teixeira had some success from that range with his wide looping punches. So Jones made the adjustment to get inside of that range to one where he was more effective.

Teixeira did have some success on the inside landing several clean hard uppercuts during the final four rounds but Jones dominated on the inside.

It was a brilliant performance from the champion. One that defined that hit and not get hit style. Jones landed 158 of 256 overall punches to Teixeira’s 65 of 204 according to the UFC’s site.

This win sets up the rematch that everyone wants with Alexander Gustafsson next for Jones. In the near future he might just be facing the surprising winner of the co-main event, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson.

johnsonballerNot even Johnson’s fans saw him winning this way. The conventional thinking going into this fight was Johnson only chance to win was the KO. Otherwise, Phil Davis would control the space and distance of the fight score a couple of takedowns and take a decision.

Instead it was a complete domination by Johnson. He was the one who controlled the space, distance and grappling to take an easy UD. He stuffed all eight of Davis’ takedown attempts during the fight.

The first round was a masterful one from Johnson. He landed 24 total and significant strikes in the round to Davis two in each category. That is right, Johnson out struck Davis 24-2 in the first round and stuffed all three takedown attempts.

Complete domination.

Davis was more competitive in the second and third rounds but Johnson won them both easily.

This was not the Anthony Johnson that we saw in his first time in the UFC. That Anthony Johnson could easily be neutralized by a good wrestler like we saw in the Josh Koscheck fight. Even Vitor Belfort took him down twice before submitting Johnson in the first round of their fight.

To go from Belfort taking you down twice inside of a round to stopping all eight of Davis’ takedowns shows a marked improvement in just two years time.

It also shows just how much work he has put in with Rashad Evans and the rest of the Blackzilians. Not only was his wrestling improved but so was his cardio. At the end of the three rounds he looked like he could easily go two more and a title fight might be in his near future.

Right now the light heavyweight contender line looks like the one going up Mt. Everest these days but Johnson has the right attitude and tools to thin it out.

Unlike some other contenders who are looking to have their title shots handed to them he is willing to fight whoever Dana White and the UFC line up for him until he has beaten them all.

It will be interesting to see who he fights next. Daniel Cormier made it clear that he wants no part of Johnson. Sure he did not duck him specifically but he said via Twitter that after Dan Henderson he only wants the champ.

After his performance against Davis no one will be looking to fight Johnson. He is now a blend of scary power and patience. He can still knock you out with one strike but now he can also pick you apart and grind you down for three rounds to get the win. That is exactly what he did to Davis.



An avid lifetime fight fan who loves to write about it. So kick back, get comfortable and let's have some fun! "Wants me to tell him something pretty." Al Sweargen "Going wrong is not the end of fucking things, Johnny. Fuck no! I have comeback from plenty of shit that looked like it was going wrong." Dan Dority "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it." Bill Munny

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