Is UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Bones” Jon Jones (13-1) truly the messiah of a new era of elite fighters being ushered into the realm of professional mixed martial arts? Tomorrow night that very question may be answered as the 24-year-old Jones makes his first title defense by squaring off with a very determined and heavy-handed former UFC champion in “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (31-8), also of PRIDE fame. In the co-main event, The Ultimate Fighter alum and American Kickboxing Academy stand-out “Kos” Josh Koscheck (15-5) steps in as a late replacement for an injured “The Dream” Diego Sanchez (23-4) to face UFC Hall of Famer and two-time former UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes (43-8). “Big” Ben Rothwell (27-7) will collide with K-1 veteran “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt (6-7) in a heavyweight tilt following Cesar Gracie protégé Nate Diaz’s (12-8) match-up with former PRIDE champion “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi (29-8) in the 170lbs. division. Starting off the main card action is a heavyweight clash between undefeated Hawaiian-born knockout artist “Hapa” Travis Browne (8-0-1) and Cage Rage veteran and Wolfslair MMA fighter “The Bear” Rob Broughton. While it does stand true that “Anything can happen in MMA”, the staff of MMA Gospel nonetheless has decided to take a crack at determining who may come out on top tomorrow night.
The UFC will make its third appearance in seven days on Saturday when UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage storms the Pepsi Center in the UFC’s birthplace of Denver, Colorado. Opening the main card are two heavyweight hopefuls “Hapa” Travis Browne (8-0-1) and Rob Broughton (13-4-1). Next on the slate is a pair of bouts between fighters staring gloomily at Dana White’s extra sharp career-severing axe as “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi (29-8) 1-2 squares off with Nate Diaz (12-8) and Mark Hunt (6-7) takes on “Big” Ben Rothwell (27-7). Playing co-main event is a welterweight war between prolific wrestlers “Kos” Josh Koscheck (15-5) and Matt Hughes (43-8). Finally, the main event features the smack talk fueled old guard vs. new blood title fight between seemingly unstoppable incumbent champion “Bones” Jon Jones (13-1) and the outspoken former champ and PRIDE superstar “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (31-8). Jackson may have had a mercurial relationship with the sport as a whole but one thing he has never changed his tune about is that he wants his UFC light heavyweight belt back. In his way is Jon Jones, a young, talented, natural warrior who hasn’t so much as broken a sweat in his domination of every fighter he has faced so far in his MMA career.
Lorenz Larkin vs. Nick Rossborough: Larkin via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Lavar Johnson vs. Shawn Jordan: Jordan via Submission (Keylock), Round 2, 3:08
Ryan Couture vs. Maka Watson: Couture via Majority Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28), Round 3, 5:00
Jason High vs. Todd Moore: High via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Brian Melancon vs. Felipe Portela: Melancon via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
The Buckeye State of Ohio will get a heaping dosage of the explosive and fast paced bantamweight division of Bellator Fighting Championships tomorrow night as the Season 5 135lbs. Tournament goes under way. The smaller weight classes seem to never disappoint, and with the addition of the Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Warren (7-1), who has chosen to descend the weight classes in attempt to become the first fighter in Bellator history to consecutively hold two titles, there are sure to be fireworks ahead. Warren will welcome Alexis Vila (8-0) to the Bellator cage in the main event; both competitors are becoming more bitter enemies the closer the fight gets. Returning fan favorite and former featherweight tournament contender Wilson Reis (12-3) steps in as a late replacement as he faces Shooto Brazil veteran Eduardo Dantas (5-2). Former WEC champion and submission ace “The Rage” Chase Beebe (18-5) will face the man who many felt defeated Warren in a catchweight bout earlier this year, “Loro” Marcos Galvao (9-5). Galvao is hungry to get his revenge on Warren but first he has to get past the dangerous Beebe. ”Wild” Ed West (14-5) returns to his old stomping ground against another Shooto Brazil veteran and one-time Bellator fighter “Betao” Luis Nogueira (11-1). Eight 135lb. fighters will enter the cage tomorrow night, but only four will move on to the semi-final round of the tournament.
After a big week in MMA saw the UFC launch its last season of The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV, Zuffa’s flagship organization finishes things with a bang as current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Bones” Jon Jones (13-1) looks to become a “true champion” by successfully defending his belt against hungry former champion “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (31-8). Kicking off the festivities is a heavyweight bout between two men looking to prove they are more than gatekeepers, “Hapa” Travis Browne (8-0-1) and Rob Broughton (13-4-1). The next two bouts on the card feature four men who need wins to prove not only to the Zuffa brass but to the fans that they deserve to fight on MMA’s biggest stage. “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi (29-8) entered the UFC as PRIDE’s last lightweight champion and promptly went 1-2. Nate Diaz (12-8) went from Ultimate Fighter to title contender to failed lightweight to failed welterweight. Both need a win to survive. Mark Hunt (6-7) went from K-1 star to a man who has expressed a complete lack of faith in his own abilities and his opponent, “Big” Ben Rothwell (27-7) is a former IFL champion who has yet to put on a memorable performance in the UFC. Serving as the co-main event is a bout with less dire implications. On late notice, “Kos” Josh Koscheck (15-5) has stepped up to face UFC Hall of Fame welterweight Matt Hughes (43-8). Koscheck has not seen action since December when“Rush” Georges St. Pierre (22-2) severely damaged his orbital bones, requiring surgery. Hughes, despite a fall from the dominance he once had, remains a viable threat in the division and is even more dangerous now because, as he once put it, he has nothing left to prove.