Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 | 10:57 p.m.
UFC 152 coverage
- Could pre-UFC 152 distractions derail Jon Jones?/
- UFC 152 breakdown, betting odds and picks
- Michael Bisping vows to show his power and progression at UFC 152
- Casual friends turn championship-hungry foes at UFC 152
- Dana White, Jon Jones ready to move past UFC 151 fallout
- Jon Jones now scheduled to meet Vitor Belfort to end whirlwind day
- Dana White ‘disgusted’ with Jon Jones for causing UFC 151 cancellation
- UFC champion Jon Jones arrested on suspicion of DUI
- UFC coverage
Note: Full results from the rest of the card are available at the bottom of the page.
Jon Jones viewed a victory over Vitor Belfort on Saturday as a way to cure to all of the ills he’s felt since the cancellation of UFC 151.
Leading up to the bout, Jones said all he needed was a “spectacular performance” at UFC 152 in Toronto to make fans forget about their bitterness toward him.
Was a submission victory 54 seconds into the fourth round enough? That’s the question after Jones retained his light heavyweight championship at the Air Canada Centre.
The 25-year old champion wasn’t quite as dominant as most expected against the 35-year-old veteran, but he certainly supplied more drama. Belfort, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, pounced on a Jones mistake in the first minute and nearly pulled off a stunning submission with an armbar against the cage.
“He got that armbar in every way, shape and form,” Jones admitted immediately after the fight in the octagon. “I’ve never had my arm pop like that before. I felt it, but I worked too hard to give up.”
Jones held his arm up throughout his post-fight interview in the octagon and hinted he may need time off for the injury to heal.
After Jones escaped Belfort’s early hold, he took over. Jones used elbows to open a cut above Belfort’s right eye in the first round. He did significant damage landing kicks to Belfort’s body and knees in the second round.
In the third round, Belfort crumbled to the ground after Jones threw a strike into his solar plexus.
“He caught me with a kick to the ribs,” Belfort said. “I already had an injury in training. I was trying to work my jiu-jitsu, trying to catch my breath.”
Instead, it was Jones’ jiu-jitsu that decided the fight. Out of side control, Jones grabbed Belfort’s arm and forced him to tap out to an Americana submission.
It’s too early to tell whether Jones worked his way back into the majority of fans’ good graces. A few scattered boos were heard after the win, but the Canadian crowd was largely negative all night.
They even booed a razor-thin contest in the co-main event for the inaugural flyweight title. Demetrious Johnson became the 125-pound division’s first champion by winning a split decision (49-46, 48-47, 47-48) over Joseph Benavidez.
Although media scores were all over the board because of Benavidez’s power, Johnson landed more strikes and converted on six takedowns. “Mighty Mouse” couldn’t believe how close the scores were.
“I was a little shocked,” Johnson said. “I felt that in the stand-up, I got him there. On the ground, I took him down more. He didn’t get me down once. I controlled him. I had his back.”
The third headlining bout of the evening was much clearer, as Michael Bisping beat Brian Stann by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). Aside from one late first-round swarm from Stann, Bisping controlled the middleweight bout with his wrestling and striking.
“I’m not the most athletic guy in the world, but I’m hungry and I want it and that overpowers anything,” Bisping said. “My desire to be the world champion is not going away. So, to the owners of the organization, come on, hook a brother up.”
Full results for the rest of the card are available below.
A plodding light-heavyweight affair saw Matt Hamill win in his first fight out of retirement. Hamill defeated newcomer Roger Hollett by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) with six takedowns.
Cub Swanson knocked out Charles Oliveira at 2:40 of the first round to open the main card. Oliveira collapsed to the ground a few seconds after Swanson landed a flush left hand to his temple.
World-class jiu-jitsu player Vinny Magalhaes’ return to the UFC went exactly as he planned. Magalhaes submitted Igor Pokrajac in a light heavyweight bout with an armbar at 1:14 of the second round.
Pints of blood spilled out of a deep cut on Evan Dunham’s forehead for more than half of his fight, but the local lightweight fought the full three rounds anyway. But Dunham couldn’t do enough to pull off a decision against T.J. Grant, who won a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) in a fight that turned into a slugfest.
Sean Pierson survived a late knockdown and dodged a decision that could have reasonably gone a number of ways. The judges sided with Pierson over Lance Benoist unanimously, giving the hometown welterweight each of the first two rounds and scoring the final frame 10-9 instead of 10-8 for his opponent.
Marcus Brimage has now entered all three of his UFC bouts as an underdog. He’s won all three. Brimage defeated 4-to-1 favorite Jimy Hettes by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) to further move up the featherweight ranks.
Seth Baczynski knocked Simeon Thoresen out cold with a left hand at 4:10 of the first round. The underdog Thoresen had developed a rhythm before the one-punch knockout and likely led on the scorecards.
Canadian bantamweight Mitch Gagnon showed off a little bit of everything in his game against Walel Watson. After flooring Watson with an overhand left and following him to the ground, Gagnon transitioned to his opponent’s back and submitted him with a rear-naked choke at 1:09 of the first round.
Kyle Noke’s welterweight debut in the octagon went off without the slightest hitch. Noke stopped Charlie Brenneman 45 seconds into their fight with a right hand for a TKO victory.