Somehow, for reasons I can't fathom, I've managed to go 6 for 6 in my picks on this card, and 11 out of 12 counting the two most recent UFC cards. UFC 172 turned out to be an exciting fight card with 3 finishes and 2 hard fought and exciting decisions on the pay per view card.
In the main event, Jon Jones won a dominant decision over Glover Teixiera, who didn't win a single round on a single judges scorecard over the reigning champ. Jones did a mix of keeping Teixiera at bay with his monstrous reach, avoiding and countering Teixiera's strikes from the inside, and dominating Teixiera inside the clinch. Teixiera was throwing big, wound up haymakers that were very predictable, he got rocked by Jones' quicker, crisper, and unpredictable striking. Teixiera had his right shoulder hurt only minutes into the fight by a weird arm pull when his arm was trapped in a position that mimicked the strain an americana would put on the shoulder. Teixiera was built up to only have a puncher's chance, and after what Jones did to him it is debatable he even had that. Teixiera was cut by Jones' sharp elbows against the cage, his legs were battered by powerful straight leg kicks, he was rocked by Jones, he has a cut and probably broken nose and possibly has broken ribs. Could the shoulder injury have had a big impact on Teixiera's poor performance? Possibly, but I doubt that he would have gotten much more offense even if he had that weapon more readily available, and he would have probably performed the same. Jones has just further cemented himself as the greatest light heavyweight of all time, and made the gap between himself and the rest of the division even bigger. Jones will face off against Alexander Gustafsson next, likely in Sweden later this year, and Gustafsson might be one of the last hopes to be a legitimate challenger to the title, at least until the division gets sorted out a bit more. Teixiera needs to go back to the drawing board, work on his strategy when it comes to his striking game, and get some more wins before thinking about the title.
In the co-main event, Anthony Rumble Johnson dominated Phil Davis in a fight that will shake up the whole division, and earned a 30-27 from all 3 judges. Johnson looked like he belonged in the UFC all along, coming 2 years after he was released for having a couple losses on top of several weight issues. I would even go out on a limb and state that if it weren’t for the eye poke TKO and weight issues, Johnson might be an undefeated fighter right now, but he has recognized the error in his past ways and has owned up to his mistakes like the future contender that he is. Karma was likely the real opponent that both Johnson and Davis faced on Saturday, because Johnson after paying for his weight problems by winning 6 straight fights outside the UFC, finally got his time to shine and pulled through in flying colors. Davis on the other hand, spent the week leading up to this fight trash talking Jones and seemingly ignoring the beast in Johnson, leading to a lopsided decision loss. Johnson looked patient, didn’t try to finish too hard but still made a couple attempts to put David out, stuffed every takedown from the decorated amateur wrestler, didn’t seem to tire a bit and looked quick, crisp and motivated to take the division by storm. Davis was hesitant to strike first, barely committed to his strikes to avoid being countered, set up his takedowns poorly, tired out before the once notoriously low gas tank of Johnson looked depleted and was unable to threaten Johnson with anything. This has to be the biggest upset of the night, and provides a considerable amount of confusion and excitement to the division with Johnson’s resurgence.
In the third bout on the pay per view card, Luke Rockhold made quick work of Tim Boetsch and showed off his high level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game in the process. Boetsch shot for a takedown quickly after the start of the bout, and would up getting tossed around in a scramble ending with Rockhold locking up a reverse inverted triangle. The scramble showed Rockhold’s stellar fight IQ and body awareness, as he effortlessly locked up his legs in the triangle position around Boetsch’s head and arms, and looked to advance the position immediately after locking it up. Rockhold threw a few strikes to the body, took little time to start working a kimura on Boetsch’s arm, and after some brief adjustments secured the tap. Rockhold looked to be on another level from Boetsch, and likely only needs 1 more fight against a tougher opponent to earn him a title shot. Boetsch is at a cross roads, he has been in the UFC for awhile and must be earning a fair salary, without any exciting, standout performances since his come from behind knock out over Yushin Okami, he is just a mid-tier grinder. It wouldn’t be too surprising if Boetsch was released and re-signed when he picks up some more exciting wins outside the UFC, crazier things than this have happened recently. If Boetsch remains in the UFC, he will likely face a lower ranked opponent for his job, and regain his momentum with an exciting finish.
In the second fight on the pay per view card Jim Miller faced off against Yancy Medeiros in a quick fight that ended with Medeiros asleep on top of Miller from a tight guillotine, the third guillotine in a row on this fight card. The fight started off with some quick exchanges of blows between Miller and Medeiros, the most significant being a front kick to the solar plexus of Miller. Miller hurt Medeiros to the body, clinched up and exchanged some knees, got a trip and jumped on an arm in guillotine. Medeiros tried flailing and muscling his way out of it the best he could, but the submission ace Miller didn't let go until the ref reaffirmed that Medeiros had gone unconscious following Miller prompting this. Following the tap in a rather frightening sight, Miller celebrated while Medeiros laid unconscious on top of Miller until he came to and moved enough for Miller to get up. Miller has now proven that he is likely the best submission artist in the division, and needs a tougher opponent in his next outing. Medieros proved that he is brave and did quite well considering he took this fight on only a few weeks, but regardless he needs another win before facing another ranked opponent, and at least another win beyond that before facing someone of Miller's caliber again.
In the first fight of the pay per view card, Max Holloway faced Andre Fili, and Holloway managed to lock up the second guillotine choke of the night. While Fili was able to establish his wrestling and get 3 takedowns, Holloway was able to hurt Fili to the body early in the fight. Holloway stuck out the second round and hurt Fili, forcing him to take a sloppy shot in the final round. When Fili shot for a sloppy takedown to avoid the striking of Holloway, Holloway locked up a guillotine choke, rolled over, threw his leg over Fili's body and from there the tap came within seconds. Holloway at only 22 years old is proving with every fight that he is getting better and the sky is the limit. Fili is still a hot prospect who needs to prove himself in his next bout to keep the flame alive.
In the main event of the prelims, Joseph Benavidez looked to steamroll through number 8 ranked Tim Elliot, but was met with more resistance than anticipated. Elliot with his awkward, somewhat unpredictable style had a quick takedown immediately after throwing a couple punches at the start. Benavidez got back up only long enough to get thrown back down by Elliot and wound up in a crucifix briefly before getting up from the bottom again. After a brief exchange Elliot managed another takedown, but quickly wound up in a headlock turned mounted guillotine until he had to flail frantically to tap, as Benavidez had both his arms locked up between his legs. Benavidez was clearly losing the bout before finding the guillotine, and proved that while Elliot is a tough challenger deserving of a spot in the top 10. Benavidez is a top level finisher who won another performance of the night bonus with this performance, and can change the outcome of a bout with just 1 move.
There were some spectacular moments early in the night that I want to briefly mention, starting with Takanori Gomi's exciting fight of the night win against Isaac Vallie-Flagg. Gomi won't be in a spot to be a contender anytime soon no matter how bad he wants it, as his glory days were back in the Pride era, but this bout is definitely worth a watch if it's replayed on Fox Sports 1 soon. Bethe Correia had a dominant performance over 1 of the 4 horses of women's MMA, Jessamyn Duke. Correia can take the division by storm with more dominant performances, and Duke needs to learn to benefit from her exceptionally long frame in the future. Danny Castillo knocked Charlie Brenneman out cold just seconds into the second round after having a competitive first round. Castillo will look to prove himself in the same manner his next time out, while Brenneman will almost definitely be released after another quick loss. In the only fight on the fight pass prelims that was replayed at the end of the Fox Sports 1 prelims, Chris Beal knocked Patrick Williams out cold, and earned his spot on the roster as well as a performance of the night bonus.
What did you think of the fights on fight pass, Fox Sports 1, and pay per view? Please leave any feedback and comments below.