UFC 135 live results: Jon Jones vs. Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson
UFC 135 takes place from Denver, headlined by a UFC light heavyweight title fight between Quinton Jackson and Jon Jones. Jones won the light heavyweight title in his last fight and many feel he will dominate his weight class for years to come. However, his career is still very young and he is for the most part untested despite having elite athleticism and size for his division. Jackson is a tough veteran of the sport and former UFC light heavyweight champion in his own right. Jackson and Jones have engaged in a war of words leading into the bout, with Jackson accusing Jones of spying on his training camp.
In preliminary action earlier in the evening, James Te Huna knocked out Ricardo Romero with punches in the first round. Romero reacted very poorly to getting hit and was rendered unconscious by punches as he shot in for a takedown. Takeya Mizugaki defeated Cole Escovedo via second round TKO. The fight was competitive until Mizugaki took over with strikes in the second round and the referee called off the bout. Junior Assuncao beat Eddie Yagin via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26). The fight was dull and the crowd reacted negatively to it. Assuncao dominated the standup and ground game.
In the first Spike TV bout, Tim Boetsch defeated Nick Ring via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27). Ring had some success in the standup early but Boetsch took over as the fight progressed. Boetsch generally got the better of the striking over time and mixed in takedowns including a beautiful judo throw to take the decision. In the other Spike TV bout, Tony Ferguson defeated Aaron Riley via TKO after the first round. Ferguson broke Riley's jaw with an uppercut and the fight was stopped between rounds.
Nate Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi
This opens the pay-per-view portion of the card. Gomi had a classic bout in Pride with Nate's brother Nick. Nick won and Gomi is gunning for revenge of sorts in this contest. Diaz has solid standup and an excellent submission game, while Gomi is primarily a power puncher.
Round 1. Nate Diaz opens by peppering Gomi with his jab. Gomi tries to land some big overhand punches but Diaz is able to avoid them with ease. Diaz staggers Gomi with a straight punch but Gomi is fine. Diaz continues nailing Gomi with straight punches and Gomi just can't figure out Diaz's reach advantage. After Diaz punishes Gomi with continual jabs, Gomi shoots for a desperation takedown. Diaz immediately works for a triangle choke. Gomi moves back to avoid danger and Diaz transitions into an armbar for the submission. Diaz looked phenomenal here.
Winner: Nate Diaz, submission, round 1.
Rob Broughton vs. Travis Browne
Broughton is a British heavyweight fighter with a well rounded game. Browne is an undefeated Hawaiian with strong striking.
Round 1. The action is slow at the start. Broughton, a shorter man with less physical definition, has trouble getting at Browne with punches. Browne is able to land some punches from distance but for the most part it's a stalemate. Towards the end of the round, Browne gets a takedown and mounts Broughton. He fires down punches at the close of the round. 10-9 Browne.
Round 2. The standup is again tentative. Browne lands a few nice punches and then scores a takedown. He works over Broughton with strikes as the round progresses. Broughton isn't able to mount any offense from the bottom or threaten with any submissions. 10-9 Browne.
Round 3. Browne again goes for a takedown. He throws some punches from the top, and works into better position. He briefly has Broughton mounted but Broughton works Browne back into his guard. Broughton looks for a kimura from the bottom and pulls it out, but Browne transitions into side control to avoid the submission. Browne throws a few additional punches as the round comes to a close. 10-9 Browne. Browne took the fight clearly but was unimpressive in the process and likely lowered his stock with many.
Winner: Travis Browne, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Ben Rothwell vs. Mark Hunt
Mark Hunt is a former K1 kickboxing star with elite striking but a losing career MMA record (against consistently high level competition). Hunt's ground game has always been his weakness but he has worked to improve that aspect of his game over time. Ben Rothwell was the most dominant heavyweight in the now defunct IFL and has fought some of the best fighters in the division. He is returning following an extended absence from the sport due to a torn ACL.
Round 1. Rothwell shoots for a takedown at the opening but Hunt defends it easily. Hunt throws a pair of hooks and backs up as Rothwell pushes forward. Rothwell looks for a takedown from distance again but can't get it. Rothwell shoots for a third time and this time he gets the takedown. Rothwell mounts Hunt quickly but Hunt gets out of that position and tries to stand up. Hunt works his way up back to his feet. Rothwell tries two additional takedowns. The first is easily blocked but Rothwell grabs a leg and comes close on the second. Hunt then lunges forward with big punches. Rothwell goes for a takedown but Hunt brushes him off and takes top position and side control. Rothwell gets back up. Rothwell is bleeding badly from the face. Rothwell gets a takedown with 30 seconds left in the round. 10-9 Hunt.
Round 2. Hunt throws a few leg kicks and blocks a Rothwell takedown attempt. Hunt takes Rothwell down and throws some solid punches from the top. He mixes in some elbows as well and works his way into side control. Hunt keeps pounding on Rothwell until Rothwell finally tries to stand back up. Hunt stops that and takes full mount. Hunt grabs Rothwell's arm and looks for an armbar as the round comes to a close. Rothwell is just barely able to survive the round and defend against the armbar. 10-8 Hunt. Rothwell had trouble getting back to his corner at the end of the round.
Round 3. Hunt opens up with big punches on an exhausted Rothwell. Rothwell can barely stand and Hunt throws a spinning elbow. Hunt takes Rothwell down, a curious decision given how exhausted Rothwell is. The referee stands them back up when there is no activity on the ground. Rothwell looks for a takedown but it is easily defended. Hunt lands a nice uppercut. Rothwell takes Hunt down briefly but Hunt works his way up and grabs Rothwell's back. They stand back up and Hunt lands a huge punch to the jaw of Rothwell. Hunt walks away like it was a knockout blow but Rothwell doesn't go down. Hunt then takes Rothwell back down. Rothwell is completely spent. Hunt is in side control but the referee stands them up. Commentator Joe Rogan heavily criticizes that decision by the referee given the dominant position. Rothwell puts his hands on his knees but Hunt tries to take him down. Rothwell blocks the takedown and gets top position to close the round. 10-9 Hunt, 30-26 Hunt. That was not an impressive showing from either man. The altitude in Denver clearly played a big role for the conditioning of two very big fighters.
Winner: Mark Hunt, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 30-27).
Matt Hughes vs. Josh Koscheck
Hughes is one of the UFC's all time best fighters, but is on the tail end of his career. His strength is his wrestling and he also has a solid submission game, but he has always been a subpar striker. He was originally supposed to fight Diego Sanchez but Sanchez was injured and Koscheck stepped in. Koscheck has wanted to fight Hughes for years but Hughes always resisted the fight because he didn't like Koscheck and didn't want to give him the opportunity. Now on short notice he took the fight. Koscheck is a younger man with better wrestling credentials and better striking. It's a tough stylistic matchup for Hughes and Koscheck is the heavy betting favorite.
Hughes comes to the cage with the old Miletich Fighting Systems crew: Pat Miletich, Robbie Lawler and Jeremy Horn. That was one of the first elite training camps in MMA and one of the most important training camps in the evolution of the sport. Hughes has trained more with Lawler in recent years and the group coming out together is clearly meant as a statement.
Round 1. Hughes throws a few jabs to start the fight. Koscheck is mostly able to avoid them but Hughes does land one pretty well. Koscheck lunges in with hooks that move Hughes back. Hughes lands a nice left hook of his own and follows with another. Hughes throws a few jabs and a nice uppercut. Koscheck throws a few big power punches but doesn't connect. Koscheck then does land a big uppercut. Koscheck shoots for a takedown but Hughes defends it. Hughes continues throwing jabs while Koscheck is inactive. Koscheck rocks Hughes with a big book and uppercut. Koscheck then opens up with big power punches and continues with big punches and hammerfists on the ground that knock out Hughes at the close of the round. Hughes looked great early but Koscheck took over with his power.
Winner: Josh Koscheck, KO, round 1.
Hughes after the fight said he's not retiring but he's going to tell UFC to "put him on the shelf" for the time being. Hughes seemed on the version of tearing up but kept his emotions in check.
UFC Light Heavyweight Title: Jon Jones vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
Jones comes from a wrestling background but has picked up striking very quickly. One of his greatest strengths is his natural size and reach, which keeps opponents off balance and allows him to attack from unique angles and in unique ways. Jackson was originally more of a wrestling based fighter but over time he has fallen in love with boxing and he utilizes primarily boxing to win these days. Jackson is also noted for having an excellent chin. Jones has a colossal 11 and a half inch reach advantage.
Round 1. Jackson stares right at Jones during instructions, while Jones just looks down. Jones comes out with one hand on the ground and then he lunges forward into a clinch. Jones throws some knees to the legs and body. Jones grabs Jackson's neck and looks for a guillotine choke but Jackson gets out. Jones throws a big elbow from close distance. Jones throws some foot stomps and looks for a trip takedown unsuccessfully. They break from the clinch two minutes in. Jones throws a high kick that Jackson defends. Jones clinches and then throws Jackson off. Jackson throws a couple looping punches that miss by a wide margin. Jones throws some heavy leg kicks and mixes in head kick attempts as well. Jones clinches again. Jackson throws a few uppercuts from close distance and Jones lands a spinning back elbow. Jones misses a wheel kick and big elbow. Jackson lunges in with big overhand punches at the close of the round but Jones nonchalantly moves out of the way. 10-9 Jones.
Round 2. Jones opens with a head kick and leg kick. Jackson charges forward with punches and they clinch again. Jones misses a spinning elbow and looks for a takedown that is defended. Jones throws a pair of side kicks to the leg. Jones lands a nice straight punch to the head. Jackson lands a hook from close enough range but doesn't follow through. They clinch again with Jones throwing knees before a separation. Jones throws a few leg kicks and baks away when Jackson moves in with punches. Jones is doing so many things and Jackson just throws the same punch combinations over and over again. That doesn't mean Jackson can't connect with a power punch but it's like one guy is playing chess and the other is playing checkers. Jones lands a few nice straight right punches and they clinch again. Jones pulls guard and looks for a triangle choke as the round comes to a close. 10-9 Jones.
Round 3. Jackson throws a leg kick at the start of the round and Jones grabs his neck. Jackson gets out of trouble. Jackson lands a couple more leg kicks. Jones keeps switching his stance from orthodox to southpaw. Jones shoots and takes Jackson down. Jones quickly takes side control and throws a couple elbows. Jones then mounts Jackson. Jones drops down punches and elbows with three minutes still left in the round. Jackson powers out back to his feet. Jackson is cut. Jones throws a few leg kicks. Jackson lunges with a couple power punches that miss. Jones lands a couple straight punches and a side kick to the knee. Jackson charges forward with big overhands and Jones just calmly moves out of the way. Jones throws a flying knee but Jackson blocks it. Jones lands a big straight punch that moves Jackson back. Jones goes for a takedown at the end of the round. The end of the round signals and Jones lifts Jackson up and then drops him back down. 10-9 Jones.
Round 4. Jones lands a few jabs and a hook. Jackson backs up as if he's hurt and Jones throws a big kick to the head that misses. I think Jackson was playing possum there. Jones takes Jackson down and throws a knee to the body. Jones takes Jackson's back and locks in a rear naked choke. Jackson taps out.
Jackson walks over and shakes Jones' hand after the fight to pay his respects.
Winner: Jon Jones, submission, round 4.