The unimaginatively named Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, USA played host to UFC 172 this Saturday night; an event which was topped by the latest battle for the coveted UFC light-heavyweight championship belt. The card was full of thrills and spills but the main business was all at the top.
The longest reigning 205 pounds champion in history put his belt on the line for the seventh time as Jon Jones took on Glover Texeira, a challenger who was unbeaten in twenty fights spanning five years. Jones kicked to the body of Texeira right from the start. Texeira answered with an overhand right before stopping a Jones takedown attempt. Two left hands followed from Texeira along with a confidence building left kick. Jones ducked well as Texeira threw with bad intentions and answered back with some nice strikes of his own before briefly taking Glover down from an attempted body kick.
The jab of Jones was landing but Texeira countered with the left hook which was mostly avoided. Texeira stuffed another takedown attempt to start the second leading to a series of kicks to all parts of the body from Jones at range. Jones hurt Texeira with an elbow against the fence but Glover recovered and landed a nasty combination which backed up Jones momentarily. A headkick/elbow combination was next to be unleashed from the Jones arsenal along with his usual, range finding, oblique kick. As Jones switched stances his fingers were in the eyes of the Brazilain but referee Dan Miragliotta did nothing about it. Texeira landed hard first in the third as the Brazilian struck to the body. Jones replied with a knee as Texeira ducked and had hook after hook avoided. As they clinched, Jones cut Texeira with elbows but ate some uppercuts in return. The blood began to flow from Texeira’s face as the championship rounds started.
Jones completely took over in the fourth as he shoved Texeira against the fence before landing elbows again (but normal and spinning) and knees to the body. The answers from Texeira became less and less frequent as Jones battered him with kicks to the knee and jabs from the outside. A brace of spinning back elbows added to the Texeira pain entering the last round. Jones got the takedown inside the first ten seconds of the fifth but Glover did well to get back to his feet and into the clinch. From that clinch, Jones didn’t do much and eventually separated. A shootout ensued as both men swung for the fences and landed hard. Jones was happy to get into a dog fight and Glover had no answer to his majestic display of mixed martial arts. As the seconds clicked down Jones avoided strikes and danced around the cage putting the final nail in the coffin of Texeira. Jones took every round on every card from every judge (50-45, 50-45, 50-45). The win is another step for Jones on his climb to immortality. Next in his way is, old foe, Alexander Gustafsson.
More light-heavyweight action was on show in the co-feature as Anthony Johnson returned to the UFC against perennial contender Phil Davis. As expected, Davis didn’t go toe-to-toe early but was caught with a hard uppercut from Rumble who closed the distance. Davis had a takedown defence stuffed before establishing his reach while jabbing Johnson and avoiding the power. Johnson did well, though, and caught Davis with a number of right hands and had him in trouble at the midpoint of the round. The leg kicks from Rumble were money all round as Davis struggled to land anything of note. By the end of the round, roles were reversed and Davis was stuck at the end of Johnson’s jab.
Davis did better at the start of the second from a long-range but still couldn’t get the all important takedown and was on the end of many Johnson strikes. The biggest blow of the round came from Johnson who countered a high kick with a straight right to the mug. Johnson stuffed yet another takedown as the fight reached the final round. A hard body shot from Johnson set the tone in the last five minutes as he stuffed the latest takedown attempt. Davis landed a nice head kick which lead to a clinch where Johnson separated by kneeing Davis out into the middle of the cage. Johnson, as he did for the whole fight, dominated the striking until the final bell. The judges scored the unanimous decision to Johnson (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold then took on, the always dangerous, Tim Boetsch in a fight best forgotten for the Barbarian. Boetsch immediately dove for a takedown from the bell and landed in an inverted triangle of Rockhold. Boetsch tried to escape but was tied up and eventually got stuck underneath Rockhold while still in the triangle. Rochkold quickly grabbed the arm and tied Boetsch up in a kimura which forced him to tap just over two minutes into the fight.
Fighting on just over a week’s notice Yancy Medeiros took on fellow lightweight Jim Miller. It was Medeiros who dominated the early exchanges, catching Miller from range. Midway through the round, though, Miller hurt him with a thunderous straight left hand to the body. Miller pounced, pushed Medeiros against the cage and locked in a guillotine while pulling guard. Medeiros did all he could to escape but the choke was just too tight. In the end, Medeiros refused to tap and ended up asleep on top of Miller who took the first round submission victory.
Opening the pay-per-view portion of the card was a pair of young prospects as Max Holloway took on team alpha male’s Andre Fili. It was a kickboxing match from the very start with Fili closing the distance and Holloway trying to avoid him with the jab and slip. Fili, though, was successful with his hands and landed hard on Holloway, who answered well. A brief takedown from Fili late in the round was the only moment on the mat. A spinning kick to the body from Holloway (which he threw unsuccessfully throughout the first) landed hard at the start of the second. It was followed up by a series of knees from Holloway against the cage before they split. Holloway began to find his on the outside but midway though the round was taken down by Fili before referee Kevin Mulhall made a terrible decision to stand them up as the round came to an end. A short exchange on the feet in the third saw Holloway stuff two takedown attempts before eventually getting put on his back on the third try. The Hawaiian immediately got back to his feet and hurt Fili before wrapping him up in a guillotine off of another takedown attempt. Holloway quickly tightened his grip and forced Fili to tap with less than ninety seconds left on the clock.
Topping the undercard was another team alpha male student, Joseph Benavidez, who was dominated in the early portions by Tim Elliott before getting the submission with his team’s patented guillotine. Putting him back on course after a second loss to champion Demetrious Johnson. Then, Takanori Gomi and Isaac Vallie-Flagg went to war for fifteen minutes with Gomi taking the judges’ decision before the sole female fight of the evening saw a dull affair go three rounds as Jessamyn Duke lost a unanimous decision to Brazilian Bethe Correia. The first of the three team alpha male student to enter the cage on the night was Danny Castillo who lost the first round against Charlie Brenneman before knocking him out cold just twenty-one seconds into the second. The one and only fight pass bout was finished in magnificent fashion when former TUF housemate Chris Beal knocked out Patrick Williams in the second round with one of the best flying knees ever seen in the Octagon.
Next up for the UFC is Fight Night 40 in two weeks which sees welterweight contenders Matt Brown and Erick Silva throw down at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.
images via UFC.com
Box3 years ago
The Highest Paid Boxers in Boxing History
Hall of Violence3 years ago
MMA Weight Classes: A Complete Guide
Featured2 years ago
The 5 Most Boring Fights In UFC History
Featured2 years ago
5 Fighters Who Can Beat Khabib Nurmagomedov
Featured2 years ago
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Hasbulla Magomedov
MMA3 years ago
UFC Fight Night 174 Preview
MMA3 years ago
The Greatest Heavyweight Champions In UFC History
MMA3 years ago
The Top 5 Highest-Grossing UFC PPVs Without Conor McGregor