UFC 159: 13 Memorable Moments From Jones vs. Sonnen Fight Card
Naturally, "Bones" was always expected to win in dominant fashion, with betting books and media alike predicting a massacre.
But there was plenty else on the card supporting this strong event from New Jersey's Prudential Center, with a physically comical heavyweight clash and the UFC's third-ever female fight, plus a massive grudge match between Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher.
So who stole the spotlight in their 15 minutes of MMA fame?
Read along as we recap the most memorable, exciting and violent moments from the 11-fight card, from the title fight all the way down to the preliminary bouts.
Jon Jones TKOs Chael Sonnen, Ties Tito Ortiz for All-Time Record
Jon Jones hit a career milestone, tying Tito Ortiz's record for all-time successful consecutive defenses of the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
It ended exactly as many expected, with the larger, stronger "Bones" controlling Sonnen on the mat before unleashing elbows and punches to earn a quick stoppage from referee Kevin Peterson.
Sonnen, despite landing several inside punches and holding a high Thai clinch through most of the fight, just couldn't stay on his feet.
Jones landed takedowns against his foe pretty easily, wearing Sonnen down with volume strikes before pouring on the heat for the finish against the fence.
Now the questions start all over again.
Is there anyone left to face Jones? Does Sonnen have a future at light heavyweight?
Jon Jones Break His Toe, Grits Through Post-Fight Interview
That's about all you can really say on Jon Jones' injury—a nasty, gnarled broken toe that he suffered somewhere in the Octagon before his post-fight interview.
Close inspection of the match shows that Jones definitely broke it in the fight too.
However, Jones still gutted through his chat with Joe Rogan, who quickly ran to get the impaired pay-per-view star a stool and called over doctors before asking questions.
Unfortunately, it also ruined a planned vacation for the young UFC champion.
"I was supposed to go to Jamaica after this," Jones lamented. "That's not gonna happen."
Chael Sonnen Hints at Retirement in Defeat to Jones
We've seen it before.
Sonnen looked the same way after his bout with Jones as he did in the aftermath of both his fights with Anderson Silva.
Broken, dejected and resigned to his loss.
Sonnen's words after the match said it best, though, as he contemplated retirement:
"I'm gonna think it through. I'm not gonna be one of the guys to hang around. If there's not a road to the title, this sport isn't for me."
"I believe that was probably my last opportunity."
Michael Bisping Pokes Alan Belcher Square in the Eye, Wins Technical Decision
Alan Belcher talked a big game, but he didn't have much for Michael Bisping.
Sadly, we'll never find out if "The Talent" was saving a fight-ending haymaker for the last 30 seconds of the fight, thanks to another gruesome eye poke.
This wasn't a normal eye poke, either, but a monster gouge.
Belcher's split orbital seeped blood as he collapsed to the mat in pain, forcing referee Herb Dean to call off the fight, giving Bisping the night's second technical TKO victory.
Can anything be done about eye pokes?
Not only was this match marred by the errant foul, but Phil Davis was also seen poking Vinny Magalhaes in the eye, and that same foul prematurely ended the Gian Villante vs. Ovince St. Preux bout earlier that night.
Roy Nelson KOs Cheick Kongo, Challenges UFC 160 Winner to Title Shot
For the first time since joining the promotion, Roy Nelson has gained his first three-fight professional winning streak in the UFC—not ignoring, of course, his stellar exhibition The Ultimate Fighter run.
In a move that wowed the New Jersey crowd, Cheick Kongo went down to a massive hammerfist from Nelson in the very first round of their heavyweight tilt, quickly eating a low uppercut as "Big Country" went in for the kill.
That's darned impressive, especially since Nelson even had the foresight to hold back as referee Kevin Mulhall ran for the stoppage.
Even better, Nelson called out the winner of Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva at UFC 160 for a title shot—although he's unlikely to get it.
If he doesn't get that, perhaps we should start feeling sorry for the next heavyweight to face him.
Phil Davis Punishes Vinny Magalhaes in Decision Win
All the trash talk is over, and in the end, Vinny Magalhaes simply couldn't deal with the improved striking of Phil Davis.
In fact, Davis pretty much dominated the match from start to finish, landing punches at will and shying away from Magalhaes' dangerous guard every time he went to his back.
And although he looked ready to test the waters against the grappling world champion, Davis played to his own strengths.
That's a critical win for the top-ranked light heavyweight, as he pulls his second win in just four fights, with his 11-1 record only marred by a loss to former UFC champion Rashad Evans (and a "No Contest" against Wagner Prado).
Pat Healy Stops Jim Miller Via Submission in UFC Debut
Once again, Jim Miller has fallen to a rising force in the UFC lightweight division.
This time, he suffered his third defeat in five fights at the hands of none other than Strikeforce import Pat Healy, who choked out his foe in the third round.
That's Healy's seventh-straight win on an impressive 30-16 record, solidly placing him in the upper tier of the 155-pound division.
So what's next?
Keep in mind, the last two guys to beat Jim Miller got a UFC title shot.
Maybe we'll see Pat Healy facing off against Benson Henderson, T.J. Grant or Gray Maynard—depending on who's holding the belt.
Bruce Buffer Makes Rare Flub, Calls the Fight for Jim Miller
Everyone was thinking it, but only Bruce Buffer said it.
Although the result of the match was clear from the finish, the UFC's official announcer made a hilarious flub, calling Jim Miller as the winner of the bout.
Poor Pat Healy mimed a heart attack as Buffer attempted to cover for his error, but the right call eventually came up.
Thank goodness for fight gear, or maybe nobody could tell Healy and Miller apart.
Yancy Medeiros vs. Rustam Khabilov Ends Early Via Dislocated Thumb
Sometimes a TKO loss just has to happen in a pure accident.
Formerly undefeated prospect and Strikeforce import Yancy Medeiros learned that the hard way against Sambo specialist Rustam Khabilov, horribly dislocating his thumb on a takedown.
Luckily for him, the referee and doctors noticed it early and stopped the match after two minutes and 32 seconds, preventing his hand from taking any more damage.
It just goes to show that even a single finger or thumb can cost you an MMA match, as the media on press row described the unusual injury:
Medeiros just walked by press row. His thumb is horrifying in three dimensions. Like two distinct ways it's bending at a 45 degree angle. — Tim Marchman (@timmarchman) April 28, 2013
That's a bummer for Medeiros, but Khabilov can't complain too much—he got his work done early into the fight without much punishment, sealing his 16th win in 17 career fights.
Referee Kevin Mulhall Ruins OSP vs. Gian Villante
It was just about the strangest finish that you can see in modern MMA.
Although the bout wasn't thrilling, referee Kevin Mulhall, who already had been actively making a hot mess of Gian Villante vs. Ovince St. Preux, pretty much ruined the ending with a chain of poorly communicated mid-fight directions.
Early in the third round, Villante took a knee after absorbing a thumb to the eye from OSP, prompting Mulhall to ask if he could see.
As soon as Villante said "no" to the call, Mulhall stopped the bout without even consulting a doctor.
St. Preux wound up winning the match on a technical decision, but it was a glaringly bad move that made a weak fight even worse.
Moreover, Mulhall had been messing up all the way to the end, missing a high fence grab by OSP in the first round and Villante's unwrapped gloves.
Had Herb Dean and "Big John" McCarthy been in the ring, things would've surely been different. Where are they when the New Jersey Commission really needs them?
Sara McMann Gets the Fastest Takedown in UFC History
Sheila Gaff must have forgotten that Sara McMann is an Olympic silver medalist in wrestling.
That's the only plausible reason for "The German Tank" running full clip at McMann right at the bell, eating a clean double-leg takedown for her trouble.
It was a sequence that lasted barely two seconds, but the advantage was clear.
McMann spent the next half round pummeling Gaff against the fence with shots to the body, and after a merciful stand-up from the referee, turned an underhook from Gaff into a crucifix mount.
After all, it was all over.
McMann rained down punches on her helpless opponent, landing a couple dozen hard blows to her unprotected face before sealing Gaff's first stoppage via strikes in 16 fights.
Cody McKenzie Awkwardly Demands a Post-Fight Interview
Sorry, Cody MacKenzie.
Coasting for the entire third round against a clearly beaten Leonard Garcia on a Facebook preliminary bout doesn't get you a post-fight interview.
Even if you call out Joe Rogan and refuse to leave the Octagon, apparently.
Better luck next time?
Kurt Holobaugh Escapes Steven Siler's Rear-Naked Choke
For a minute, it looked like Steven Siler was about to make quick work of Kurt Holobaugh in the first round, but the one-time Strikeforce veteran definitely proved his toughness in defeat.
In a sloppy brawl that went the distance, Holobaugh attempted to shake Siler off his back with a monkey roll but found himself wrapped in a picture-perfect RNC submission.
One more inch and he could've tapped.
But as soon as color commentator Joe Rogan predicted death for Holobaugh, the submission broke, with Siler just barely losing his grip in a huge show of heart from his opponent.
Not too shabby.
Both men dragged themselves to the scorecards with a beautifully ugly fight, throwing punches and submissions for two more rounds, but Round 1 was the big highlight.