My review of UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen, which was an average card with a predictable main event.
Jon Jones def. Chael Sonnen: At least it was short. Sonnen did what we expected him to do, which was walk forward and pressure Jones, but it didn’t work all that well as Jones just clinched up and easily put Sonnen on the ground. Sonnen was able to get up a couple of times, but in the end Jones kept him grounded and unleashed a flurry of ground and pound complete with punches, elbows, and a knee to the body to get the fight stopped. Was the stoppage early? Given the fact that it was a title fight, perhaps. But Jones was going to wail on him for the final 20 seconds of the round and Sonnen was going to continue to take a beating in the second round. So the ref saved Sonnen from further damage and the fans from having to sit through a massacre. Jones did break his foot though and it’s possible that the doctor would’ve stopped the fight between rounds, which would’ve been highly unfortunate, but also fit the theme of the night. Sonnen hinted at retirement following the fight, which would really suck for Joe Rogan because he’ll have to crown someone as “the greatest trash talker in combat sports.” If he sticks around, he’ll continue to knock off contenders because he’s still a very talented fighter, but shouldn’t be anywhere near a title shot given his recent history. As for Jones, hopefully the broken foot doesn’t keep him out too long and hopefully he fights a light heavyweight in his next bout.
Michael Bisping def. Alan Belcher: This was a typical Bisping performance combined with a typical Belcher performance. Bisping did what he usually does, which is use his footwork and boxing and land a lot of clean but ultimately non-powerful shots. Belcher on the other hand could never pull the trigger, had no respect for Bisping’s striking, and got beat up in the process. With 30 seconds remaining in a rather uneventful fight, Belcher unfortunately got poked in the eye and the fight was stopped. Since the eye poke was accidental, they went to the scorecards and Bisping easily took the decision. Bisping continues to look solid against flakey and mediocre competition and get brutally KO’d against anyone with talent, so that streak continues. I still want Bisping to get a title shot while Anderson Silva is champion just to see that massacre, but I’m not sure Bisping will ever get a title shot as long as he has to fight at least one top five contender on the way there. Even though the fight was pretty bland, I do hope that Belcher is ok after the eyepoke. He had eye surgery
Roy Nelson def. Cheick Kongo: How do tall heavyweights just constantly run into the right hand of Nelson? The dumbest person in the world knows exactly what Nelson is going to throw, and yet for some reason, these heavyweights always get hit with it. Maybe UFC heavyweights are dumber than the dumbest people in the world. If you didn’t know already, Nelson hits really hard and Kongo can’t take a punch. Nelson is on a nice streak right now, but it’s come against pretty weak competition and I don’t think anyone can forget just how bad he was dominated against Fabricio Werdum and Junior dos Santos. Luckily for Nelson, there aren’t that many contenders at heavyweight, so if Werdum loses to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mark Hunt loses to JDS, it’s very possible that Nelson gets a title shot. If not, he’ll likely need another win before he challenges for the belt. I wouldn’t mind seeing him fight Alistair Overeem, and if I’m Nelson, that’s a fight I welcome given Overeem’s chin and conditioning.
Phil Davis def. Vinny Magalhaes: This was a light sparring contest for Davis. Usually reliant on only his kicks, Davis showed some improved boxing in this fight, but let’s not forget who is opponent was. Magalhaes is a dreadful striker and it showed in this fight. Magalhaes had a brief moment of offense when he was able to catch a leg kick from Davis, take him down, and take the back, but Davis was able to shake him off and stand up rather easily. The rest of the fight was Davis throwing a lot of jabs and straights and Magalhaes having no answer. Davis is still a top ten fight, and this was actually a fight he needed, because he was able to improve his striking in a competitive scenario. Davis needs to fight a top contender though. His last two bouts were “gimme wins” and didn’t really show whether or not he can hang with the elite. Maybe they can try to put the Forrest Griffin fight together again because, even though Griffin is past his peak, he’ll at least make Davis work. Plus a victory over Griffin would look good on Davis’ record. Magalhaes can submit a lot of guys, but he can’t submit anyone on his feet.
Pat Healy def. Jim Miller: I knew Healy would make it tough on Miller, but I thought that Miller was just better in all areas. I was definitely wrong. Miller got the start he wanted, out-grappling Healy and nearly finishing him in the final couple of seconds with some nice ground pound. But Healy survived and came back stronger in rounds two and three. Healy definitely took round two by constantly pressing forward, putting Miller on his back, and landing some good strikes on the feet. Healy kept the pressure up in the third round, once again got Miller to the ground, took his back, and choked him out. I wasn’t too shocked that Healy won, but I was pretty surprised that he managed to finish Miller. Not only did he finish Miller, but he out-wrestled and out-grappled him, which is pretty huge because Miller is usually excellent in the scrambles. Healy made a big statement in this fight and is a very welcome addition to the already stacked lightweight division. He’s not always the prettiest fighter, but he’s going to make it tough on any opponent and, as we saw in this bout, has the potential to pull off the upset. Miller always comes to fight, but I think this loss officially put him at gatekeeper status. All of his losses have come against top contenders and he’s just a step behind the best guys. He’ll always have exciting bouts and make things tough, but it’s highly unlikely that he ever competes for the title.