Sunday, December 11, 2011

UFC 140: Is there still any doubt out there?

Although Jon 'Bones' Jones (15-1, 8 KO's 5 subs) is the UFC light-heavyweight (205 lbs.) champion and has already defeated former champions Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua and Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, people still doubt whether he's for real. After his title defense Saturday night against yet another former champion, Lyoto 'The Dragon' Machida (17-3, 6 KO's 2 subs), is there still any doubt out there? UFC 140 took place in Toronto, Canada and our neighbors to the north were treated to some exciting fights.

In the main event, champ Jones, still only 24 years old, found himself facing possibly the biggest test of his career yet. That is because while the biggest thing with fighting Jones is trying to solve the puzzle that he is, his opponent Machida is a brain twister of his own. Using a counter attacking Karate based style, Machida was effective and appeared to have Jones not only confused, but concerned early on. As a matter of fact, he clearly won the first round, which is something no one has been able to do against the unorthodox Jones.

However, the second round proved another story as Jones found the missing piece to the Machida puzzle; in this case it was closing the distance. By doing so he was able take Machida down, apply some ground and pound and eventually throw an elbow which caused a cut to the forehead. He then was able to catch Machida in a standing guillotine choke and, because of his uncanny size & length, torque his neck to the point that he literally put the dragon to sleep. I don't think there is any doubt left, Jones is legit and the future of this sport.

In the co-main event, it was a rematch of former UFC heavyweight champions between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (33-7-1, 3 KO's 20 subs) and Frank Mir (16-5 3 KO's 9 subs). Not only are these two former champions, but arguably the best submission experts in the division. That said, when you have guys this big possessed with that type of skill, injury through submission is always a possibility. Such was the case in this fight.

After a great start in the first round for Nogueira, where he had Frank Mir's number with effective dirty boxing (in close-fighting), it was a vicious right hand that dropped Mir; it looked as though Big Nog was on the verge of victory. Always confident in his ground game, he jumped on Mir, going for a possible choke. Oddly enough, it appeared as though the chokehold somehow revived Mir and he was able to reverse position. He inevitably got on top, secured Nogueira's arm with a Kimura lock and applied so much pressure, he broke the arm forcing Nog to tap.

Frank Mir now becomes the first man to not only knockout Nogueira, but to submit him as well. He said it perfectly in his post-fight interview when Joe Rogan asked him about the submission; "Unfortunately when you are our size and as dangerous as we are, these things are going to happen. Hopefully, Nogueira is going to be okay, I idolize him."

Five years ago, light-heavyweights Tito 'The Huntington Beach Bad Boy' Ortiz (16-10-1, 8 KO's 3 subs) and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (20-5, 6 KO's 6 subs) would have been the main event of any mixed martial arts event, including the UFC. However, at this point in their careers they are two legends of the sport who finally met in the cage after lengthy careers; the result was Lil' Nog finishing Tito in the first round. The irony is that Ortiz, the master of the ground and pound attack, was beaten at his own game as Nogueira hurt him with punches and elbows to the body while Ortiz was on his back. Time will tell if Ortiz will get to honor the last fight of his contract and career.

Talent and skill may be the cornerstone of a fighter's success, but that all goes out the window if that fighter doesn't keep their emotions in check. One can argue that is what happened to bantamweight (135 lbs.) Mark 'The Machine' Hominick (20-10, 8 KO's 8 subs) against 'The Korean Zombie' Chan Sung Jung (12-3, 3 KO's 7 subs). Riding the emotions of recently losing his close friend and trainer Shawn Tompkins, along with fighting in his home country, Hominick came out reckless throwing a wild left hook; the result was he got caught with a counter right hand that was the beginning of the end for him in just seven seconds.

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