UFC 128 Results: Shogun vs. Jones and All the Juicy Jersey Action from Newark
If UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones were a solar system, it would be one where the central star has collapsed and gone type-II supernova.
That's because the title fight between UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Jon "Bones" Jones has almost completely engulfed the rest of the card. In all honesty, there's no denying the intrigue behind the five-rounder; it's waist-deep in story lines so take your pick.
How about Jones' decision to accept a rugged challenge in the form of the Brazilian champ with only six weeks notice?
Or the reality that Shogun has earned the right to be top dog at 205 pounds, has only suffered four defeats in 23 bouts despite facing an almost-constant barrage of the elite in his division and is arguably in his physical prime at 29.
Yet he's the underdog?
Of course, there's also Bones' youth and comparable inexperience—the 23-year-old is trying to become arguably the youngest champion in UFC history depending on whether you count a 19-year-old Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort's victory in the UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament.
And he's making quite the leap in degree of difficulty as far as his opponent is concerned. Shogun is no joke and several rungs up the food chain from anyone Jon has yet faced.
In other words, yes, the hype is justified.
Nevertheless, UFC 128 is far from a one-trick pony with Urijah "The California Kid" Faber making his much-anticipated debut against a dangerous Eddie Wineland, Brendan "The Hybrid" Schaub trying to take the next step in his evolution against Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, as well as both fightin' Miller Brothers making an appearance.
So enjoy the March Madness all day, but keep it going with us tonight as Bleacher Report brings you live updates from the Prudential Center. The first gloves drop around 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT so see you then.
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There really aren't words to describe what just happened, but I'll give it a shot.
Jon Jones just ascended to the light heavyweight throne in shocking fashion even for a 23-year-old kid who has been a revelation at each and every turn. All those "over-hyped" catcalls and wry dismissals of Bones as a once-in-a-lifetime talent became comical within the first merciless minutes of Round 1.
If you thought he'd play it conservatively because his exotic, unpredictable style wouldn't play against the best of the best—I might've entertained the notion—wrong.
Really, really, REALLY wrong.
If anything, we saw more spinning elbows and crazy-angled kicks from Bones than ever. The only things missing were the suplexes that bruised Stephan "The American Psycho" Bonnar's manhood.
In less than 13 minutes of total action, the native of New York inserted his name legitimately and emphatically into all the superlative discussions—best talent the sport has ever seen, most dominant fighter, best pound-for-pound fighter and baddest man walking the face of the Earth (serious question: name a heavyweight who you'd pick in a fight with Jon).
And Shogun Rua is in all those same discussions, which is the most astounding thing. The deposed champ is still right up there with the best and the brightest.
Just an incredible, Michael-Jordan-Barry-Bonds-Barry Sanders-Tim-Tebow moment minus any of the clutter.
Jon Jones is about to make millions of new MMA fans.
Shogun tried to take the incentive to open the third round and managed to force Jones into a backpedal, which qualified as a miracle given the first two rounds.
Alas for the Brazilian, it was a minor and brief victory as were the subsequent takedown and attack on Bones' leg. The end result was Jon Jones on top of the champ, which was not a good position for Mauricio Rua.
A big punch landed from Shogun's guard before those terrible elbows went to work and sealed the deal. Rua was able to scramble out of their way as a mere survival instinct, but there was no safe haven in retreat from the youngest champion in UFC history (forget Belfort).
A final, nauseating left hook to Rua's body followed by an equally unpleasant left knee put the official stamp on a victory that was a formality after the first 30 seconds of Round 1.
Jon Jones defeats Mauricio Rua by TKO (strikes) at 2:37 of the third round.
Man am I glad I changed my pick.
Jesus, Jon Jones literally destroyed Shogun out of the gates in the second round.
Savage left jabs landed at will while too many knees, kicks and elbows landed to list. It's just an all-out clinic from the kid; the only risk is that he punched himself out. But there are serious questions as to whether that's possible without Rua suffering permanent, irreparable damage.
More leg kicks, more puches found there home before he grabbed another takedown and started up with the elbows again. At some point, l started to feel bad for the champion—talk about bad timing to ascend to his first title with this next-generation talent looming in the shadows—but Mauricio Rua wasn't gonna quit.
He kept trying to fend of Bones, but Jon was having such a good time that he threw in an attempted leg lock as the horn sounded on another 10-8 round (going on the Jon Fitch scoring system) for the contender.
Holy lord, here we go—I still can't quite believe this fight is already happening.
The duo shook hands after the instructions, touched gloves to start and then Jon jones started with his crazy bag of tricks. A flying kee opened up the scoring before a spinning side kick was deftly avoided by the champ.
What Shogun couldn't avoid was a cushing takedwon from the accomplished wrestler and then Bones powered through a sloppy triangle attempt from the Brazilian star.
As elbows landed from the challenger and each jiu-jitsu defensive maneuver was foiled, the bigger problem for Shogun became Jones' comfort level. Each bony elbow landed to Mauricio's head or midsection reminded Jones he was just in another fight.
An Andeson Silva special front kick almost ended the matter after a previous salvo wobbled the UFC light heavyweight kingpin.
And the entire time brutal sidekicks to Shogun's left knee risked blowing out every tendon in the champion's most vulnerable joint.
That's a 10-8 for Jones.
I felt too guilty—I'm changing my pick to Jon "Bones" Jones because I'd rather get it wrong than bail on him now.
Plus, LOOK AT THAT DUDE!
What an absolute freakin' beast.
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua should be the favorite and is an all-timer, but I'm going with the kid. He's got such an air about him that you can't ignore the eye test. Oh, and there's the 85-inch reach.
Give Eddie Wineland credit—I stand by my statement that he wasn't brought in to beat Urijah Faber, but the would-be cannon fodder did everything in his power to do just that and he came uncomfortably close.
Once the California Kid established his rhythm in the waning moments of the first round, he never really looked back and actually got stronger as the bout wore on—landing his best strikes of the night and securing yet another beautiful takedown to tie a bow on the victory.
Eddie just didn't have an answer for the fierce pressure exerted by Faber and couldn't take enough advantage of Urijah's unsteady start. Nevertheless, he gave the audience a better battle than expected and took one of the sport's brightest stars the full distance.
There aren't any moral victories in the combat game (or so I'm told), but this has to be close.
Urijah Faber defeats Eddie Wineland by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
The second round was an easier chore from a judge's perspective.
Maybe the California Kid suffered a few UFC debut nerves in the opening stanza because he seemed to get his sea legs under him in its final seconds and looked like a different competitor in Round 2. The striking was sliding in the underdog's favor until Faber grabbed a double-leg takedown and used his rabid determination to ride the position for basically the entire round in the face of active resistance from Eddie.
Granted, Urijah didn't inflict much harm on his opponent since his most malicious offense either missed or had most of the impact blocked. However, he enjoyed dominant control and that must've translated to sure points on the scorecards.
Says here it's 10-9 round for the California Kid who is coming on strong after an uneven first round. My sheet says we're split at a round apiece, but Faber could easily be up 20-18 where it counts.
I don't want to belabor this point because Eddie Wineland seems to be a motivated, hard customer. But I really didn't expect this tussle to be a long one.
Which only proves that I never learn to avoid underestimating anyone.
The California Kid is the physically smaller of the two and Wineland used his height advantage and at least equal strength to neutralize every Faber attempt to get the pleasantries to the ground. Consequently, Urijah was forced to stand and trade, probably not the ideal strategy hatched in his camp.
Except on the occasion where Eddie took Urijah to the mat.
Urijah finally found his standing range toward the end of the five minutes, landing a couple nice looping rights and avoiding further damage despite leaving his hands dangerously low.
The late flurry notwithstanding, I've got that round 10-9 in Wineland's favor. But it was a razor thin margin so it could've gone either way...always a troubling development.
I don't have any stats to back this up, but it would seem that you really don't want to be trailing badly in the judges' eyes when you're in the cage opposite Jim Miller. He doesn't take too many reckless chances in his most vulnerable or desperate times, so sitting on a comfortable lead is not a challenge you want in front of you.
And Jim proved it in the final round.
Things were going OK for the Prince of Persia; he certainly wasn't in danger of pulling off the miracle, but he was acquitting himself well. Then a big left uppercut found a chink in the Iranian's armor (read: the human chin) and it was followed by a tremendous left knee that moved the bout into "game over" territory.
Even that combination couldn't chase the fight totally from Shalorus as he still rolled in defense. But Jim swarmed over his fallen prey and gave the ref no choice but to take mercy upon Kamal.
Jim Miller defeats Kamal Shalorus by TKO (strikes) at 2:15 of the third round.
The second stanza didn't unfold with quite the same intensity as the first, but it still featured lots of fireworks from both competitors.
Again, Jim Miller landed more shots of both the punch and kick variety before scoring the most definitive points of the round with a sweet single-leg takedown. Even better than the takedown was the transition to Shalorus' back which seemed to happen before the duo even hit the ground.
The Prince of Persia showed good submission defense with a relentless attacker on his back, but Jim cranked in a body triangle that limited Kamal to only that and gave him no window for escape.
In other words, it wasn't the prettiest 10-9 round Jim Miller has ever won, but it might have been on of the easier such beauts he's ever secured. Once he completed the takedown, he basically did nothing but maintain position and enjoy it.
That's two round for him on my card.
Howdy-do, Kamal "Prince of Persia" Shalorus!
It might not have been the wisest of game plans, but he came out swinging for the fences and playing a willing foil to Jim Miller's take-no-prisoners approach. Both men were throwing furiously and a little wildly right off the bat and each landed some strikes with genuinely evil intentions.
Miller began to get the upperhand as a sinister body kick found it's mark on the Iranian. Whether it was that scud or just the overall pace that slowed Kamal down is uncertain, but something definitely took the bounce out of his step with about two minutes left in the round.
A big head kick from Jim landed and Shalorus showed his granite skull as he took it flush without so much as a wobble, probably the reason he was willing to meet Miller head on. Soon after that, Jim grabbed a guillotine choke and dove down to finish it off, but the move backfired and the Prince of Persia was able to score some points of his own from top position.
Not enough, though, as the horn ended a 10-9 round for Jim Miller.
The good news is the third round is over.
What was a pretty good scrap for two rounds deteriorated into a one-sided exhibition of ground 'n' pound as Dan Miller finally hit 'E' in the last stanza. The dude is one tough cookie, but he just didn't have enough to turn back the more seasoned and skilled Nate the Great.
Marquardt spent the vast majority of the last five minutes using a combination of fists and elbows to turn Miller's left eye into a rainbow of nastiness. Truth be told, the rest of Dan's grill didn't look all that fit for photographing as Nate's relentless approach took an observable toll.
One half of the fightin' Miller Brothers acquitted himself well against a dangerous opponent on very short notice, but he had little left by the end. A single guillotine choke was about all he could cobble together in another 10-9 round that went against him.
Nate Marquardt defeats Dan Miller by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Wow, after a mundane ground battle in the first stanza, both competitors opened up the throttle on the feet to begin the second round.
Miller landed the first enthusiastic shot, but Nate the Great took over from there. He landed with a barrage of right hands and even threw a flying knee for good measure. The rest of the round feature more of the same as Marquardt exerted control over an ever-game Dan Miller.
The latter threatened with another choke and manged to inflict a little visible damage to the favorite's face, but he also absorbed more than his share of the same. Ultimately, it was a rather uneventful 10-9 round for Nate Marquardt despite the colorful start to the five minutes.
Dan's gonna need a stoppage or a judge that drastically disagrees with me to take this fight.
And in the latter case, he's still gonna need to reverse the tide and toss together an good final round.
Dan Miller and Nate Marquardt kicked off the action by eschewing the usual feeling-out process and getting right to the hostilities. Miller seemed to be getting the better of the early going, landing a nice uppercut in the clinch before grabbing a takedown and then threatening with a sincere choke attempt.
However, Nate the Great escaped the sub attempt with a nice defensive ground game and was able to take top position in the process. From there, it went decidedly more poorly for Dan—the New Jersey native swallowed a straight left from Marquardt before finding himself on the receiving end of a monumental slam from Nate (OK, so it might've only looked that good).
Despite the early salvo, I think it was a close 10-9 round in the favored Marquardt's direction.
It's also worth mentioning that Miller also flirted with a kimura and was the closest to finishing the scrap, as noted by Rogan. So it wouldn't be crazy to call the first for Miller.
It looked like we might be headed for a draw considering the point deduction and an apparently broken nose that had disrupted Brendan Schaub's rhythm.
However, the Hybrid seemed to sense the possibility so he abandoned the standing exchanges and shot in for a couple takedowns. The second time proved to be the charm and he rode the position out using nice balance for a couple minutes, scoring valuable points with some ground 'n' pound in the process.
Cro Cop finally pushed the American off and sprung to his feet, but Brendan used his size and athleticism to fend off the Croatian's advances until the anvil dropped in a moment eerily similar of both Mirko's loss to Gonzaga and Mir.
A straight right to Mirko's left temple slammed him to the canvas and one insult to injury fell before Dean saved the sleeping giant.
Dear me, that got really ugly really quickly.
Brendan Schaub defeats Mirko Cro Cop by TKO (strikes) at 3:44 of the third round.