What do you get when you combine elite wrestling perfectly adapted for MMA, unpredictability and creativity that you really can’t game plan for and a freakishly long reach unmatched in MMA? The new UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Jon “Bones” Jones. It amazes me that there are still people who are saying the hype isn’t deserved. The dude walked through “Shogun” Rua. Even coming off an injury or not in top form or whatever other excuses you want to make, to effortlessly dismantle and destroy “Shogun” is an unbelievably impressive feat. And we’re not talking about an isolated incident here. Great wrestlers, veterans, brawlers, Muay Thai dudes, and motherfucking “Shogun”: nothing has been able to stymie this kid – even for a round. No one’s unbeatable, no doubt, but if you don’t think the “Bones” hype is justified, you’re a hater. Hey, I get it. I love “Shogun”. What kinda dickface doesn’t love “Shogun”? And it wasn’t easy to watch his get his ass handed to him… but the facts is the facts, son. The Jon “Bones” Jones hype train pulled into Newark last Saturday night and unfortunately, “Shogun” was under it.
So, it looks like Jones will fight former Greg Jackson teammate, Rashad Evans next. Yeah, that’s gonna be a slaughter. I don’t usually like to proclaim I know how a fight will go down, because well, it’s a fight and as the cliché goes: anything can happen. But c’mon now… Rashad isn’t going to be able to get Jones down, he’ll be lucky to stuff any of Jones’ takedowns, and if he tries to hold him against the fence, he’s gonna be eating elbows. I love how Rashad says that since he trained with Jones he knows his style. Oh, you mean the unpredictable smash-your-face style or the take-you-down-and-smash-your-face style? So you know that he’s going to do something unexpected? That information is as much of a game plan as saying “If you fight Chael Sonnen, don’t let him take you down and you’re golden!” – Yeah, good luck with that.
You really can’t overstate how much of an asset that unpredictability is. Combine that with the best wrestling at 205lbs. and the reach that allows him to stay out of range while punishing your dome. I mean, look how much Lyoto Machida’s “elusiveness” gives dudes trouble and it wasn’t long ago that people talked about it like it was some kinda wizard’s magic. The dude backs up and/or circles out when his opponent attacks. It’s not like he disappears in a puff of smoke or climbs a tree. “Shogun” eventually figured out that if you just keep coming forward, eventually he’s going to run out of space to back up and sooner or later, he’s gonna be faster coming forward than Machida is going backwards. Jones, on the other hand, doesn’t need to retreat. He can just chill out just outside of your effective range and beat the crap out of you -or take you down at will. I’m pretty sure the only way to beat him is a Matt Serra-GSP style KO or a top level Jiu-Jitsu guy catching him making a sloppy mistake. Either way, there’s not much challenge left for him at 205. Unless Anderson Silva wants to take a crack. But honestly, I see Jones taking Silva down at will like Sonnen did and when Jones is on top of dudes, he’s landing fight-stopping blows so… I’d have to call it for Jones.
Cue Boys II Men: “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday”. Oh “Cro Cop”. So, it seems the UFC gave him his walking papers. Sad. Yeah, dude is past his prime but c’mon, he was looking pretty good up til the third round. Not the “Cro Cop” of the PRIDE glory days but far from washed up. Anyway, mad respect and love always, Mirko.
After Nate Marquardt’s epically lackluster loss to Yushin Okami, I expected him come into this fight with Dan “I look nothing like my brother, the Burger King” Miller looking to prove a point. He didn’t. Not to me. But he won if not impressively, at least decisively, and that’s something.
Eddie Wineland definitely looked like he had something to prove in his fight against Urijah Faber and for most of the first round he was succeeding. A close round that I’d probably give to Wineland but then “The California Kid” came back strong. Wineland certainly made Faber work for that decision victory and while he’d no doubt rather have an actual victory than a moral victory, I think Wineland impressed a lot of people.
Can I milk the Jim Miller looks like the Burger King joke anymore? Probably not, huh? He does though. And he looked great beating up Kamal Shalorus – which I was happy about since that dude hasn’t made a good movie since “Signs”. What? Shyamalan? Oh, okay. That makes more sense. My apologies to Mr. Shalorus – but not to Mr. Shyamalan who I think owes ME an apology for “Lady in the Water”, “The Happening” and the end of “The Village” Is Miller next in line for a title shot after Anthony Pettis? Yes! He’s only been beaten by Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard and that was in 2006 and 2009 respectively so… duh.
I started watching the DVRed Bellator 37 but it was getting late and I was sleepy.
Kenny Foster scored a nice first round Guillotine Choke victory over Eric Larkin in an exciting albeit really short fight.
Then Daniel Straus vs. Nazareno Malegarie started and holy shit, I was awake now! I didn’t know either of these dudes but I do now! What a fight! Man, it’s awesome when you have no expectations watching a fight and at some point you’re just like “This fight is the fuckin’ shit, man!” Also, Straus was rocking a Charles “Krazy Horse”/”Kid Kaos” Bennett short dreads look which endeared me to him since I loves me some “Krazy Horse” All I knew was Malegarie was a Jits guy and Straus was a wrestler. So, when Malegarie got Straus’ back in the first round and locked in the body triangle with four minutes left in the round, it seemed the Rear Naked Choke was all but an inevitability. But Straus did a great job defending and when Melegarie let the body triangle go and got a little loose with his hooks, Straus exploded out and spun and wound up on top… and right into a Guillotine attempt but Straus scrambled out and eventually they got back to their feet. Like I said, this was an awesome fight. That’s how the next two rounds went as well – back and forth grappling, submission attempts, wrestling, and striking. The second and third rounds were extremely close and Straus wound up getting the Unanimous Decision victory. If you haven’t seen this fight I highly recommend checking it out.
Wilson Reis made quick and easy work of Zac George – dropping him with strikes then getting his back, flattening him out, and landing a shit load of strikes before sinking in the Rear Naked Choke at 2:09 of the first. No jokes here. It was a straight up ass whoopin’.
And finally, Patricio “I have the same nickname as my brother, Andrei Arlovski, Thiago Alves, and 56 other fighters” Freire outclassed and outpointed Georgi Karakhanyan for two-and-a-half rounds until he caught him coming in with a left hook to the chin and finished him off with strikes on the ground. It was an impressive performance. I’d tell him to change his nickname but he’s got it tattooed across his back in huge letters so… nevermind.
Until next time, icemigos, comment and RT and don’t forget to listen to MMA Gospel Radio every Wednesday at 8PM ET/ 5PM PT with me and Gary Friedman.