UFC 152 Results: Post-Fight Stock Report
In case you were wondering, Jon Jones is only getting better.
Through all of his accomplishments, the one thing we had never seen from Jones prior to his UFC 152 title defense against Vitor Belfort was the champion battle through adversity.
That changed Saturday night.
Jones was able to overcome an extremely tight first round armbar attempt from “The Phenom” that seemingly injured his right arm, and "Bones" and fought through an injury that may have caused other fighters to at least consider giving in.
Instead, the champion came out and put on yet another textbook victory, getting on top of Belfort whenever possible and grounding and pounding his opponent with brutal elbows.
Eventually, Jones earned himself a submission victory, and with the win, finds his already shockingly high reputation amongst fight fans growing a bit more.
Jon Jones: Somehow Still Rising
This should have been a lose-lose scenario for Jon Jones.
For most fans heading into the fight, anything but a completely dominant victory for Bones seemed like it would have been considered a disappointment, but the champion’s heart and ability to overcome an injury actually found a way to make Jones look even more unstoppable than he has in previous fights.
If that’s how an injured Jon Jones was able to fight against a world class fighter like Belfort, it’s hard to like the rest of the light heavyweight division’s chances at defeating the 25-year-old “young lion.”
Vitor Belfort: Holding Steady
All Vitor Belfort had to do in this fight was look somewhat like a threat, and with his first round near submission win, he did enough to hold his stock steady heading into his next bout.
Whether Belfort decides to test his luck against a top guy at light heavyweight or make the cut back down to 185 remains to be seen, but Belfort proved he was able to hang in there for over 15 minutes against a fighter that many other world class fighters have struggled against.
His days as a true title contender may be gone, but Belfort is still a major threat to anyone attempting to climb the rankings in either division.
Demetrious Johnson: Steadily Rising
I’ll admit it, I didn’t think Demetrious Johnson had much of a chance at defeating Joseph Benavidez.
Johnson’s speed advantage over a usually very fast fighter in Benavidez was one of the most surprising things about an upset-riddled card, and even though he didn’t land a ton of offense of his own, he did enough to make sure he was in control of the fight for the majority of the 25 minutes.
There was little doubt that Johnson was the fighter that deserved the nod on the judges' scorecards last night, and it will be interesting to see how long Johnson can remain on top of a division fresh with contenders.
Joseph Benavidez: Slightly Falling
You had to feel for Joseph Benavidez last night.
The Team Alpha Male fighter has dropped both of the title fights he’s been fortunate enough to fight his way into, and while he isn’t quite nearing the same zone as teammate Urijah Faber as far as title fights are concerned, he has to be successful the next time he gets a crack at the belt.
There’s no doubt Benavidez has the talent to work his way back into the flyweight title picture, but with a division that’s so young and full of new contenders, it will be easy for a fighter that’s already had his chance to be overlooked in favor of a fresh face.
I still firmly believe that Benavidez will be a world champion some day, but last night was a huge step back for the Master of Joejitsu.
Michael Bisping: Rising
Outside of a brief scare at the end of round one, you had to be impressed with Michael Bisping last night.
“The Count” knew his advantages were in technical striking and wrestling and he used them to the fullest, pumping a stiff jab in Brian Stann’s face all night long and taking down his opponent numerous times.
This was the top 10 win Bisping has been searching for his entire UFC career, and with the middleweight division currently full of fighters sitting on the cusp of a title fight, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bisping get the nod from Dana White and Co. if Silva is ready to fight soon after his UFC 153 bout.
If anyone in the middleweight division can successfully draw money against Silva right now, it’s Bisping, and a title opportunity for “The Count” would allow fighters like Chris Weidman and Alan Belcher to earn a few more wins and get some much needed exposure on another main card or two.
Brian Stann: Falling
A lot of fans though that Brian Stann was going to put Michael Bisping to sleep last night, and I have a feeling there were a lot of disappointed American fight fans when their hero fell on the scorecards.
It wasn’t a horrible performance by Stann, but the proved he still has a few things he needs to work on before he becomes a true title threat at 185.
Bisping was able to land quite a few takedowns against “The All American," which was honestly a little expected, but it was his own right hand that ended up becoming Stann’s downfall.
After he rocked Bisping with a solid shot in the first round, Stann sort of fell in love with his right hook, and eventually, it became too easy for Bisping to avoid.
Stann still has some time to improve on these things, and due to his enormous fanbase, he’ll definitely earn another opportunity or two before he retires.
Matt Hamill and Roger Hollett: Falling Fast
This fight was horrible.
Hollett gave us no reason to believe he’s anywhere near a UFC-caliber fighter, and Hamill came out of retirement to give the fans one of the least enjoyable performances of his career.
Obviously, the prelims should be in the future for both of these guys, and hopefully we won’t have to suffer through another main card fight like that anytime soon.
Cub Swanson: Quickly Rising
Rapidly rising featherweight contender Cub Swanson showed off his power for the third straight fight when he knocked out Charles Oliveira with a big right hand in the first round of their fight.
Swanson was able to avoid trouble during a brief trip to the mat earlier in the round, and when he got back to his feet he unleashed a vicious body shot that seemed to hurt his opponent.
That was the beginning of the end for Oliveira, and after scoring his third bonus check in his last three fights, Swanson seems primed to take out a top contender in his next fight.
Charles Oliveira: Slightly Falling
Charles Oliveira is still one of the brightest prospects in the featherweight division, but he’s going to be on Cub Swanson’s highlight reel until the end of time after a ridiculous knockout loss.
An extremely delayed reaction to the knockout punch made the finish almost comical, and Oliveira is set to take another step back after another loss to a top ten opponent.
He’s still young, but Oliveira needs to get a bit more consistent if he wants to be considered a serious title threat in the future.
Vinny Magalhaes: Rising
It was a near-picture perfect UFC return for Vinny Magalhaes.
The world class jiu-jitsu specialist showed just enough on the feet to prove he could hang with a talented striker in Igor Pokrajac before getting the fight to his world and working his submissions.
It took two rounds to do it, but once Magalhaes was able to find a postion he liked, he grabbed onto a sick armbar that obviously should have won him submission of the night honors.
The award went to Jones for his keylock win over Belfort, but Malgalhaes was the most impressive fighter on the mat on Saturday night and proved he is a threat to anyone he can drag down to the floor.
TJ Grant and Evan Dunham: Rising
This was one of the most fun fights of the year.
There’s something to be said about two guys that are willing to just tuck their chins and go to war, and TJ Grant and Evan Dunham put on a show for the Toronto crowd.
Both fighters landed a ton of shots directly to the jaw, but neither man would allow themselves to be staggered, and the result was a slugfest for the ages.
Grant should get his due for winning the fight and get a nice step up in competition in his next fight. Dunham deserves to at least hold onto his spot in the rankings, and should get a decent opponent his next time out as well.
Jimy Hettes: Slightly Falling
Maybe we all got a bit too excited by Jimy Hettes’ dominant win over Nam Phan last December.
Hettes still looked decent in his first fight since that bout, but he had a lot of trouble on the feet against a very good Marcus Brimage, and his judo game just couldn’t quite get the job done.
There’s no doubt that Hettes can still be a serious threat at 145, but his stand up game and ability to take the fight to the mat are going to have to improve significantly before that happens.