UFC 135 Results: Report Cards for Every Main Card Fighter
Photo Props: UFC.com
This past Saturday in Denver, CO, the Jon Jones era officially began.
Over three rounds, Jones used his sizable reach advantage to keep Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at a distance where he was unable to land his bungalows.
Then in the fourth round, Jones got the fight to the ground, secured a rear-naked choke, and that was all she wrote.
Also on the card, Josh Koscheck may have sent Matt Hughes into retirement when he scored a TKO victory with just one second remaining in the first round.
There was also a pair of lackluster heavyweight duals, and Nate Diaz followed in his brothers footsteps when he submitted former Pride champion Takanori Gomi.
Now, despite whether they left the Octagon with a win or loss, how did each fighter on the main card perform?
It's once again time for the unofficial official professor of Bleacher Report MMA to dish out grades to all the main card fighters.
Jon Jones: A+
What is there really left to say about the new phenom of the light heavyweight division?
Jones dominated his fight against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson from the moment the fight started, until he secured the fight ending choke in the fourth round.
Now let's make this clear; Jones is not unbeatable. However, after seeing his past three performances, it is difficult to see anyone in the light heavyweight division giving Jones any sort of problems.
Matt Hughes: D
You have to give Matt Hughes credit for taking on an opponent of Josh Koscheck's level on short notice. Koscheck is a much better striker than his originally scheduled opponent, Diego Sanchez.
The difference in striking ability was visible from the get-go. Hughes did everything he could to hold his own, but it was only a matter of time before the younger fighter put an end to the bout.
Hughes' bout at UFC 135 will more than likely be the last time we see him compete in the Octagon. If this is the case, Hughes can look back and know he is the most accomplished welterweight in UFC history.
Josh Koscheck: B+
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Josh Koscheck looked really good against Matt Hughes, but the problem is he looked really good against Matt Hughes. Had this fight happened three or four years ago, it would have been much more competitive than it was.
But to Koscheck's credit, he showed his ever improving striking skills against the former welterweight champion. By watching the fight, everyone could see that Koscheck just needed to land one solid shot to end the fight.
Koscheck landed that one punch, followed up with some hammerfists, and did what everyone knew he was going to do—stop Matt Hughes.
Nate Diaz: A
After a failed stint at welterweight, Nate Diaz returned to the lightweight division to take on Takanori Gomi.
Diaz had Gomi's number all night. To put it as simply as possible, Diaz had his way with Gomi from the moment the fight started, until he finished off Gomi with an armbar late in the first round.
Was this a case of Diaz reinventing himself, or Gomi just being overrated?
Maybe it is a bit of both, but we will all find out as he continues on in his career.
Mark Hunt: B
The heavyweights had a rough go at it this past Saturday. The two bouts they were featured in on the UFC 135 main card were lackluster affairs at best.
Mark Hunt showed everyone he was the superior striker and, to the surprise of nearly everyone, the better of the two on the ground.
Hunt probably saved his UFC career when he earned a decision victory over Ben Rothwell. While he will never be a contender, Hunt could play a solid roll as a gatekeeper in the division.
Takanori Gomi: F
I could go on and on about how badly Gomi failed against Nate Diaz, but I think one quote over the weekend pretty much sums things up—"Did Gomi even train for this fight?"
Ben Rothwell: D-
Ben Rothwell did not look good at all against Mark Hunt. After the first round, saying Rothwell looked sloppy would be a compliment.
Could it be the altitude that caused the heavyweights to perform poorly? Who knows, but none of them performed well at all.
Rothwell looked like he was spent after the first round. To his credit, he was able to hang in there and finish out the fight, but he did not do his career any favors in the process.
Rob Broughton: C-
Rob Broughton put on a spirited effort against Travis Browne. But even though Browne looked completely exhausted after the first round, Broughton could not capitalize on the fact that Browne was running on fumes for the majority of their fight.
While this shouldn't be the end of the road for Broughton, it will probably be the last time we see him on a pay-per-view anytime soon.
Travis Browne: B
There are many people out there who believe that Travis Browne will be the next contender to break through in the heavyweight division.
If that is to become the case, he will have to look much better in his next outing than he did against Rob Broughton.
Browne was able to take care of business and earn a decision victory against Rob Broughton, but it appeared that he struggled to do so throughout the entire fight.
There must have been something in the water that affected the heavyweights Saturday night in Denver.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson: D-
Quinton Jackson may have lived at the gym, and been in the best shape of his life, but it still wasn't enough to regain the light heavyweight title he lost three years ago.
Rampage had his openings to connect on Jones, but he could never pull the trigger when he had the chance to. Instead, he seemed content to swing wildly in hopes of landing the one fight-ending punch.
It doesn't seem likely that Rampage will be fighting for a title again anytime soon, but he will still be here to entertain all the fans.