It’s time to step into UFC territory again as we take a look back at the show headlined by the title clash between Jon “Bones” Jones and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, the main event of UFC 135, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on ESPN here in Britain.
The show began in the lightweight division as Nate Diaz went up against Takanori Gomi.
To say that this was a great performance from Diaz would be an understatement. From the moment where he dropped Gomi in the first minute he put in a dominating performance.
Gomi seemed helpless as Diaz picked him off at will with a beautiful jab, and when the first entered it’s final stages Gomi tried to counter by taking the fight to the ground.
Once again Diaz proved how good he is on the ground, going for a leg triangle, and after Gomi tried to slam his way out Diaz transitioned to an arm bar for the submission win. Tremendous, just tremendous.
The big boys of the heavyweight division came out to play next as Travis Browne faced Rob Broughton.
Even though he’s a big bear of a man Broughton had trouble dealing with Browne’s height and reach advantage early on, especially when Browne connected with a big left hook to the chin the first round.
Broughton was able to get off some good shots as the fight progressed, but Browne was able to take the Brit down with ease, especially towards the end of the second, the buzzer ending his sustained period of ground and pound.
Browne took the fight to the ground again in the third, controlling the action but not really going for any kind of finish. The big man was visibly tiring as the fight progressed, and that was enough for Broughton to attempt a kimura late on.
So with the fight going the distance the judges came into play, with Browne taking the unanimous decision with a workmanlike performance.
The heavyweight action continued as Ben Rothwell took on former K1 star Mark Hunt.
This was by far the best MMA performance I’ve seen from Mark Hunt. Even though he was giving away a huge amount in height and reach the super Samoan was able to put in a great performance.
Rothwell had his moments, but when he tried to take the fight to the ground Hunt easily escaped. Later on Hunt opened up a nasty cut above Rothwell’s eye with a big elbow.
Hunt dominated completely from the second round onwards. His striking looked great and his ground work looked good. He pounded the hell out of Rothwell, and as the round went on exhaustion came into play, so much so that Rothwell had to be carried back to his corner at the end of the round.
It was so bad at the beginning of the third that it looked like Rothwell would quit, but he decided to go on, and was more or less easy pickings for Hunt on his feet and on the ground, and although he took the dominant position late when he took Hunt’s back he just didn’t have the energy to finish the fight off.
Further work for the judges saw all three of them giving the fight to Hunt, and rightfully so. Kudos to Rothwell as well, who could have easily bowed out before the third round.
It was down to welterweight for the next fight as Hall of Famer Matt Hughes took on Josh Koscheck.
Hughes began this fight with a series of jabs that really hit the spot, and although Koscheck looked in good condition it seemed as if Hughes had found the right game plan.
That was until Koscheck connected with a big right. Hughes was staggered, and Koscheck followed up with more rights as Hughes went to the ground.
Koscheck followed him down for the ground and pound, and as the clock ticked down to the final seconds of the first round Koscheck unloaded with a series of hammer fists, knocking Hughes out with just one second left in the round.
The main event saw former champion Quinton Jackson challenging Jon Jones for the Light Heavyweight title.
We may very well seen the performance of the year in this fight. Jones put in a tremendous performance against one of the greatest of all time, dominating the action as soon as the fight began.
Jones began his defence in a rather unique way, scooting along the mat on all fours, looking like a spider in the process. From there he outwitted Rampage at almost every turn.
Rampage just couldn’t get close to the guy in the striking department. His punches looked crisp and his kicks looked fantastic.
Jackson’s best moment came after Jones took him down in the third, and it says a lot about the champion’s performance that the challenger’s best moment was when he escaped Jones’ mount.
The end came in the early stages of the fourth round. Jones scored with the take down, pushing Rampage up against the cage. Moments later Jones took his back and synched in a rear naked choke for the tremendous submission win.
The show rounded out with filler material as Takeya Mizugaki faced Cole Escovedo in the bantamweight division.
If you ever wanted to see a great display of striking in the lower divisions then take a look at this one. Mizugaki began by coming forward with a series of blows, and even though Escovedo had some success of his own it seemed as if he couldn’t keep up with the Japanese fighter.
The end came in the second round when a three punch combination sent Escovedo down. Mizugaki followed him down but the referee stepped in just a few seconds later to give Mizugaki the TKO win.
In conclusion - who would have thought it?
This was another quality show from Dana White and his crew. The undercard delivered, and the main event delivered big time as Jon Jones did what hardly anybody thought he could do, dominate Rampage Jackson, proving that he is a tremendously special talent.
So in all UFC 135 gets the big thumbs up from this particular writer. If you haven’t seen it yet…well…you know how this line ends.