But that is a bit misleading because Bones Jones can beat Anderson Silva at this point if they were to be matched pound for pound or in some exhibition superfight. But we digress, but you get the point about how lopsided this title fight was tonight.
It wasn’t even a close match. Not in round one or two. Forget about three. The challenger (Jon Jones, 13-1) came in with all guns blazing starting with a flying knee at the buzzer of the first round. It was the Brock Lesnar bum rush but executed with precision and superior excecution. By the time the referee called off the fight at 2.37″ of the third round, Shogun Rua (19-5) the former Pride terror, had used up half of his nine (octagonal) lives to the flying knees and spinning back elbows of Jon Jones. It is a miracle that Shogun, with eyes nearly closed shut, wasn’t more hurt than he was. Brendan Vera of yore didn’t fare so well. He left the octagon with a broken orbital …. at the hands “of the second coming of Jesus Christ” (Brandon Vera’s own jeering refrain.)
What Jon Jones demonstrated tonight was preternatural talent and near flawless execution – a scary thought for potential opponents – which makes him the youngest champion in UFC history at 23 years.
The announcement that Jones would face team-mate Rashad Evans next was anti-climactic in mind-stultifying ways. Please wake me up when its over! Jones will go through Rashad Evans, former team mate or not, like a hot knife through butter. Rashad Evans is human. Jones is, well …. you get the drift sans Kool Aid. “The kid’s skill set and execution represents evolutionary leaps in the UFC’s arsenal history – the same one that was epitomized by Cain Velasquez in the heavyweight division when he dismantled Brock Lesnar with the steely precision of a gladiator. Jones, like Velasquez is representative of the “atleta nuevo school: young, clean, nervy and uber-cool under pressure, not to mention superior when it comes to executing the art of unarmed combat on the fly. But “unarmed” is probably a misnomer because Jones got toolz! Yep. TOOLZ like flying knees, elbows, kicks, hail Mary suplexes and the patented straight-ahead front kick that makes Anderson Silva look like he got lucky with Vitor Belfort. (Did you see how many times Jones threw that kick as if to say, “See ma! No arms here!” I know it’s hackneyed, but “the kid is a beast.”)
With Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez, it’s no longer your father’s UFC! The river that had started to flow upstream for a heart-skippin’ moment with the advent of Lesnar, has started to flow downstream again …… downstream towards the MMA ocean the way it was meant to from day one. Soon that small rivulet will be one with the ocean, “every drop” as Arthur Koestler rhapsodized, “catching a spark of the sun.”
With the first coming of Jon Jones at UFC 128 (or is it the second) it will be time before the UFC finds a worthy opponent for him (Rashad is a snack) – hence the call for a superfight with Anderson Silva at or below 205 before time robs fans of that possibility. The UFC needs to do a better job this time than it has done with Anderson Silva in his cross division tear.
Silva will not sneeze at Jon Jones. Not after tonight – and not after his own scrappy tussle with a much less gifted fighter, that political loud mouth from Oregon (Chael Sonnen.) Silva will need all of what remains of his octagonal nine lives to survive “the Second Coming of Roy Jones with the MMA Chops “. Word.
Crib Notes from the Virtual Edge of the Octagon:
- A couple of hours before the fight: Mauricio Shogun is relaxing and meditating in his dressing room. He is smilin’ an’ sh*t. Dude’s ultra cool. Unflappable. Just another day at the office for the Brazilian wunderkind. Meanwhile back at the other office the challenger, Jon Jones, is watching the prelims on closed circuit. He is smiling and muggin’ for the camera. Ultra casual. One wouldn’t think his head is about to be carpet bombed for the big cheese. This fight is gonna be a clash of the cools – sangfroid vs steely sangfroid.
- 9.12 pm PST – Jones, with his crew in tow, begins “the walk” to the to the octagonal gallows. All muggin’ is gone. Done. Dude’s game face is on like the Mau Mau with war paint. (Just made that up. Word.) Altered state. Zoned out, but honed in like a ninja shootin’ daggers through slits for eyes. (Y’all go back and watch an’ watch that s*it.) Focus dude – focus like you have never done before.
- The “half-hour” Jones prayer at the gate is a bit too much, but to each their own. Schtick I guess. The free-wheeling cartwheel is dang “cool”. Picturesque even. The shadow boxing is demonstratively menacing. Meanwhile back at the champion’s farm, Shogun Rua is waiting to walk the plank.
- 9.16 pm PST - Shogun with his camp mafia appears on live-cam walkin’ to the gallows. The champ has segued into a different altered state ….. tense and borderline frenzied. He is bouncing up a little as he presses through the grabby hordes. The normally calm and collected operator appears a bit out of sorts. Premonition? (We are normally in touch with our impending doom believe it or not.) No longer inside the eye of the unfolding storm? The thought proffered itself: Shogun has been more perturbed by the prospect of this fight than he had let on in interviews. His physique is pudgy. In contrast, Jones’ taut frame, now crowned with broad shoulders. He is long, strong and lean – like a whip. Factoid #1: 5.9% body fat will do it.
- 9.21 pm PST – M.C. Bruce Buffer gives the intros.
- 9.22 pm PST – The fight begins and Jones charges Shogun with a flying knee. Unbelievable but there it is. The challenger has brought weapons and he isn’t the least afraid to use them. Respect, or what passes for it, has just flown through the window. From that point on Shogun fights like the underdog that Las Vegas saw in him. It’ s tough bein’ the head pimp when the chips are down. Why Shogun survives the knee to the side of the head in the first round (as he is getting up from the ground) is anyone’s guess, but he definitely uses up at least one octagonal life right there.) Jones maintains an aggressive perimeter that Shogun shies from breaching. He is the punchbag when he is not squirming at the bottom of the pile …. under heavy manners.
- 9.38 pm PST: Having been weakened by Jones’ knees, fists, elbows and relentless choking attempts, a cowering Shogun succumbs to a brutal rib cage shot at the edge of the octagon. It’s not easy bein’ the head pimp. (And we say that in the most respectful of ways. Folks here at Cyberaxis love Shogun more than their luggage.)
End of crib notes from the octagon. Stay right here for more editions
After the fight, the new champion had occasion to hold court. Here, Jon Jones as comedic cut-up in “the robbery” that was foiled. Not bad for a dude whose day job is not to make people snicker
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UFC 128 Pictures (mmafighting.com)
Lorenzo Fertitta wants to see Jon Jones vs Anderson Silva (Bloody Elbow)