UFC 172 set the stage for a big shakeup in the rankings of the Light Heavyweight division. Although there were 10 total fights in the night, I will only discuss the results of the main card scuffles (sorry Chris Beal, your knockout was sick but no one really knows your name). So without further ado, let’s get this show on the road.
Max Holloway def. Andre Fili via Guillotine choke (round 3)
I love watching young talent throw hands in the octagon. Partly because they’re often wild and wreckless with nothing to lose and they know they have many years of fighting ahead of them. I mainly enjoy them because I think it’s amazing that these are guys my age fighting professionally for big paychecks while I’m at a wing bar staring in awe. Max “Lil Evil” Holloway, an unorthodox Muay Thai striker, came into the fight as a favorite to take the W. With a professional record of 9-2 coming into the fight, the 22 year old had lots of hype behind him (as well as kickass angel wings tattoos). On the other side of the octagon was the 23 year old Andre Fili. Fili, a much more well-rounded fighter, was expected to give Lil Evil a run for his money and possibly halt Holloway’s hype train. Sadly, this fight ended up being a back and forth boxing match which was mostly pretty dull to watch. My friends were constantly sneaking peaks at the NBA playoff game during the fight. In the final round, Fili slipped up for one second and got caught in a guillotine choke and was forced to submit. Fortunately for fight fans, the boring fight was over. Unfortunately for him, he went home with a W. Had the slap boxing display gone to the scorecards, Fili would have had a decent chance of winning especially since he hurt Holloway on multiple occasions.
Jim Miller def. Yancy Medeiros via Guillotine choke ( round 1)
Firstly, I would like to give kudos to the young Medeiros for accepting this fight with only one week to prepare. Originally matched up against Joe Ellenberger, Yancy Medeiros accepted the fight against the savvy veteran Jim Miller after Miller’s opponent Bobby Green was forced to pull out due to injury. Widely unkown, Medeiros came into the fight with a 9-1 1NC record with his highlight moment being a knockout victory over old man Yves Edwards (37 years old). That 1 victory was changed to his only 1 no contest bout after being tested positive for marijuana. The fight began with both fighters testing each other out with light strikes and cautionary leg kicks. That was until Miller caught Medeiros with a nasty body shot. Miller smelled blood and pounced on Medeiros and slapped on a guillotine choke. To his credit, Medeiros never actually tapped though. He went limp after a while and his body convulsed a little. With the win, Miller tied with Glesion Tibau (who??) for most wins in the lightweight division with 13.
Luke Rochold def. Tim Boetsch via Kimura (round 1)
With the long reigning middleweight king, Anderson Silva, out of action the middleweight division is up for grabs. Luke Rockhold needed this win to prove he was a top contender. Tim Boetsch, at 33 years old, needed this win to prove he still has gas in the tank. Rockhold, a jiu-jutsu specialist, brought his pretty 11-2 (6 wins by submission) record with him. You may remember him getting blasted by Vitor Belfort last year. At 17-6, Tim Boetsch brought 2 heavy hands and a very good wrestling background into the mix. Personally, I loved this fight for one reason: it was very short and brought us much closer to the main event. To begin the fight, Boetsch expectedly shot for a single leg takedown and actually got Rockhold down. Unfortunately for him, Rockhold countered with a beautiful sweep to gain position over his unsuspecting opponent. Rockhold’s graceful transitions from an inverted arm triangle to kimura showed the world that this guy is a force to be reckoned with. This was a submission victory that was very pleasant to watch, and with his effortless victory Luke Rockhold locked up his #5 spot in the middleweight division. Ironically, Boetsch also lost a few years ago by way of kimura to the loser of the co-main event, Phil Davis. For Boetsch, he can pretty much kiss away his dreams of becoming a championship contender and accept the role of being a proverbial gatekeeper in the middleweight division.
Anthony Johnson def. Phil Davis via Unanimous Decision
I was very excited for this fight for a couple reasons. I wanted to see if Anthony “Rumble” Johnson could outwrestle Davis just enough to keep the fight standing. On the other hand, I wanted to see if Phil “Mr. Wonderful Davis” could win a fight without laying and praying on his opponent. I knew that if Rumble could keep the fight standing, it would only be a matter of time before he dropped a bomb on Mr. Wonderful’s chin and send him to the next dimension. I also knew that if Davis got caught with one or two good shots, he would instinctively go back to his wrestling. Anthony Johnson returned to the octagon after being cut a couple years earlier for failure to make weight. Let me tell you, at 205 lbs. Johnson looks like a behemoth. More importantly, Johnson looks more comfortable at this weight. It would be a long night for Phil Davis as he would try to conquer his towering assailant. From beginning to end, this fight consisted of two things happening:
1) Davis running from Johnson after seeing his life flash before his eyes when Johnson threw hellacious haymakers.
2) Johnson effortlessly shrugging off takedown attempts by the desperate Phil Davis.
Although it felt like it was only a matter of time before Johnson broke Davis’ face, it just never happened. Mr. Wonderful ducked and dodged and managed to survive to fight another day. But that’s all he did. Survive. Anthony Johnson skyrocketed 9 spots up the light heavyweight rankings from #14 to #5 in the division after bullying the one-dimensional Phil Davis and improved his professional record to 17-4. Besides his wrestling, it seems that Phil Davis (now 12-2 1NC) has just as many offensive weapons as his boss, Dana White, has hair. Look for Johnson to prove his worth against a banger such as Mauricio “Shogun” Rua or possibly Glover Teixeira in his next fight.
Jon Jones def. Glover Teixeira via Unanimous Decision
After 2 orders of Buffalo Wild Wings, a side of cold fries, 2 relaxing beers, and a failed attempt at BWW’s blazing wing challenge, the moment we were all waiting for had arrived. It was finally time to see if Jonny “Bones” Jones had what it took to withstand the power of Glover Teixeira. It was finally time to see if Teixeira could test Bones’ chin like none of his previous challengers could. It was finally time to hold my urge to release my bowels because I was certain that the fight could end at any moment. Now, I must give credit to the UFC’s marketing team because they actually made it seem as if Teixeira had a fighting chance (pun intended). Although everyone knew that Jones would remain champion at the end of the night, I think it’s safe to say that it’s the manner that Jones won that surprised fight fans. Big cousin Jon Jones is the most complete fighter the sport has seen. The man is simply immortal. We know Jones has superior wrestling. We know Jones throws his sharp elbows with enough speed and power to crack open Ace Boogie’s safe. We know Jones has reach like no other and that he can pick off opponents from across the octagon while still sitting in his corner. We know that Glover has the power to end his night and take Jones’ belt back to Brazil with one perfectly timed right hook. We know that Glover came into the fight on an amazing 20-fight win streak. What we didn’t know was that Jon Jones, in his quietly cocky manner, was going to completely abandon his gameplan and dominate Glover Teixeira at his own game and “fight in a phone booth”. Jones did not simply shoot for a double leg takedown and elbow Teixeira’s face into a bloody meat pie. Jones didn’t even attempt one of his neck snapping judo throws when the two were in the clinch. Jones did what many others failed to do. He stood in front of Teixeira and he threw leather (and sharp elbows). With every elbow and uppercut that connected, it was clear to see that Jones was slowly breaking Teixeira’s will. It all started when Jones performed a very unconventional, and seemingly pointless, shoulder crank on Teixeira’s right arm. After that, it only got worse for Teixeira. He, like Davis, managed to survive and suffered a terrible one-sided loss. It’s scary for fighters in the UFC light heavyweight division to even think about having to go up against such a complete and fearless fighter as Jones. What’s scarier is his recent tendencies to abandon his own gameplan and dominate his opponents in their own game.