UFC 159 Superlatives: Best and Worst from the Entire Fight Card
Jon Jones defended his light heavyweight strap from Chael Sonnen as expected, but that was about the only normal thing that could be taken away from a wacky UFC 159 fight card.
Sonnen was actually seconds away from potentially dethroning Jones via toe injury. Moments after the champion stopped his challenger with ground-and-pound in the final minute of the opening round, it was discovered that Jones had somehow suffered a nasty compound fracture.
One bout on the preliminary card did end in a technical knockout due to injury, and two other fights went to technical decisions after unfortunate eye pokes.
While UFC 159 was a disappointing event in many ways, there were some bright spots. Here are the best and worst from the entire fight card.
Best Fighter: Jon Jones
Although his win over Chael Sonnen was expected, Jon Jones easily beat the top-notch wrestler at his own game, and with a badly broken toe.
Heading into UFC 159, Sonnen had only been taken down three times in his entire UFC career. Jones took the title challenger down three times in a single round.
While this won't be looked back on as one of his most impressive wins, Jones' performance on Saturday was another display of his potential to go down as the greatest fighter in MMA history.
Worst Fighter: Leonard Garcia
Leonard Garcia lost once again at UFC 159, where he was outclassed by a fighter in Cody McKenzie who many consider to be one of the more one-dimensional competitors in the featherweight division.
After his defeat on Saturday, Garcia has now lost five straight fights, and he very easily could have lost 12 in a row had some questionable decisions gone the other way.
Garcia is one of the more entertaining fighters in MMA, but it's going to be hard for the UFC to justify keeping him around any longer.
Best Fight: Pat Healy vs. Jim Miller
Pat Healy and Jim Miller were expected to open the UFC 159 main card with a scrap, and they delivered a Fight of the Night performance.
The highly skilled grapplers traded takedowns and ground-and-pound for the better part of three rounds before Healy locked up a rear-naked choke and pulled off the upset.
Despite the loss, Miller has now won Fight of the Night bonuses in back-to-back fights and has become one of the most entertaining fighters in the lightweight division.
Worst Fight: Ovince St. Preux vs. Gian Villante
While it was unfortunate that an eye poke led to the end of a light heavyweight bout between Ovince St. Preux and Gian Villante, it brought a welcome finish to an otherwise uneventful contest.
Many Strikeforce fighters have come into the Octagon and lit up the crowd, but these 205-pound Strikeforce veterans were mostly hesitant to engage, and it led to a forgettable fight.
Even with the controversial stoppage, Villante could be in danger of being released from his UFC contract after a disappointing debut.
Best Knockout: Roy Nelson
Of the four knockout finishes at UFC 159, Roy Nelson's stoppage of Cheick Kongo was the only one initiated from a standing position.
Nelson was rightly awarded Knockout of the Night honors by the UFC brass. It was the third time Nelson has earned the bonus since joining the UFC roster.
While "Big Country" has had trouble taking out elite heavyweights, he continues to take out all those ranked below him with his heavy hands.
Best Submission: Pat Healy
There were a pair submissions on the UFC 159 fight card, and Pat Healy's was easily the more impressive of the two.
Bryan Caraway got back into the win column with a guillotine choke against Johnny Bedford, but his opponent wasn't nearly as skilled on the ground as Healy foe Jim Miller.
Prior to Saturday, Miller had only been submitted by UFC veteran Nate Diaz, so Healy's rear-naked choke against the jiu-jitsu black belt was a great way for the Strikeforce veteran to introduce himself to UFC fans.
Best Moment: Jon Jones
Jon Jones' Saturday night may have ended in a hospital as a result of his broken toe, but it will still be an evening he will remember positively.
With his win over Chael Sonnen in the UFC 159 main event, Jones tied Tito Ortiz for a UFC light heavyweight record with five straight title defenses.
After each victory, Jones is moving closer and closer to greatness. Already breaking UFC records at 25 years old, Jones has the potential to finish his career as the greatest fighter in MMA history.
Worst Moment: Injuries
It's hard to remember a UFC fight card that experienced more in-fight injuries than UFC 159.
The problems began on the preliminary card, where Ovince St. Preux poked Gian Villante in the eye. Without giving Villante a moment to recover, Kevin Mulhall oddly called an immediate halt to the fight, and St. Preux walked away with a technical-decision victory.
In the final fight of the FX-televised prelims, Yancy Medeiros injured a finger and was rendered unable to continue fighting. As a result, Rustam Khabilov was awarded a technical-knockout win.
The co-main event nearly made it the distance without any issues, but Alan Belcher caught a finger in the eye with 29 seconds remaining in the bout, and that led to another technical decision, which went in Michael Bisping's favor.
While the main event was completed without any injury interruptions, Jon Jones did suffer a nasty toe injury during the fight and could now be put on the shelf for a significant amount of time to recover.