1) Jon Jones Returns To Dominance-
After defending his title for the seventh consecutive time via a clear and one-sided decision against challenger Glover Teixeira, Jon Jones is back to his dominant ways. When Jon Jones is on, he doesn’t just beat guys; he dominates them from bell to bell. In-fact Jones has dominated 14 of his 15 UFC fights; the lone competitive bout in that span was his previous outing in September against Alexander Gustafsson. Against Glover Teixeira, he not only defended his title, he did a lot to restore his aura of invincibility. He proved to fans that the Gustafsson bout was a lone hiccup and not a trend. Jon Jones didn’t get the finish Saturday night, but he also didn’t leave any doubts on who the better man was. After excruciating wars like the one Jones had with Gustafsson, some fighters never return to their previous form. It was encouraging to see Jones is still the same killer he has been for the past five years. Jones should be back in the cage sometime in the late summer, early fall, but at least now us fans know Jones is still a very dangerous man. There is no denying he is the best pound for pound fighter on the planet.
2) Giant Rematch Looming-
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Even before the scorecards were read Saturday night, fans were already discussing Jon Jones’s next fight against a familiar foe. After UFC 165 this past September, fans were clamoring for an instant rematch between champion Jon Jones and too Swedish challenger Alexander Gustafsson. Instead Jones decided to take on Glover for his next title defense, citing he wanted to give fresh blood a chance at the world title. Now with Glover cleared, fans haven’t forgotten about Gusafsson and he is waiting in the wings for another crack at Jones. Because Jones had dominated all the best 205-pounders in the world, the Gustafsson rematch is a huge and marketable fight. It would be the only time Jones is facing someone who we know he won’t steam roll. The first time these two competitors fought neither man gave up an inch, and the decision is still disputed to this day. With Jones taking care of business against Glover Saturday night, the UFC can now capitalize and deliver the biggest MMA rematch since Chris Weidman fought Anderson Silva this past December. The first time these two men fought everyone expected a devastating Jones victory and what they got was an instant classic. Now the second time they fight it will be very important factor in determining how Jon Jones’s legacy will be viewed in history. Every great champion needs a rival, and by the buzz around the MMA community Gustafsson is definitely Jon’s rival.
3) “Rumble” Already In Title Contention-
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson made a triumphant return to the UFC Saturday night impressing in the co-main-event. He earned a decision against top five-Light Heavyweight Phil Davis. Johnson’s take down defense was flawless; he didn’t allow one take down in 15 minutes against one of the division’s better wrestlers. With the win, I don’t think it’s far fetched to say he’s about one more notable win away from a world title shot. I think Johnson is the dark horse in the division right now, he is athletic enough to give any one fits and he can end the fight at any moment. If I were matchmaking I’d have Johnson take on the winner of next month’s Daniel Cormier-Dan Henderson contest for the next shot at Jones after Gustafsson. Regardless Johnson came through even as a big underdog and delivered what is most likely the biggest win of his career. Welcome back to the UFC Anthony Johnson.
4) Davis Talked The Talk, Didn’t Walk The Walk-
Phil Dais was getting passed up in the title discussion pretty often because of a lack of finishes and not marketing himself enough. So Davis told the media at nausea this past week, that he would crush Jones in a fight, and he would start finishing his fights. In the UFC 172 co-main-event, Davis didn’t back his words up, as a more aggressive Anthony Johnson consistently beat him to the punch throughout their 15-minute encounter. Phil helped create a stir leading up to the pay-per-view, but he forgot to perform where it’s most important, the octagon. Phil is still a top-10 205-pounder, but after coming up short in this big spot, Davis will have a long climb in order to get back in immediate title contention. With hindsight, now Phil looks silly for all his banter with champion Jon Jones because he clearly overlooked a motivated Anthony Johnson. Who Phil fights next is a mystery, but I bet you he won’t count his eggs before they hatch ever again. He learned his lesson the hard way in a very embarrassing manner.
5) Main Card Delivers-
I always tell people that the biggest difference between boxing and MMA is that in boxing you pay for the main-event and not much else. In MMA sure the main-event is important, but it’s the whole pay-per-view main card that really gets fans invested. MMA fans are interested in the entire card, from untelevised prelims to the main-event. UFC 172 was a perfect example of why fans are correct to care about the entire card, and not just the main and co-main events. Max Holloway submitted Andre Fili in the 3rd round of an exciting Featherweight tilt that had momentum swings for both fighters. Jim Miller than followed that up by putting Yancy Mederios out cold with a tight guillotine choke in the first round in a fight at 155-pounds. Then Luke Rockhold showed off why grappling can be a beautiful art when performed correctly as he used an inverted triangle-kimura submission to tap out Tim Boestch in 128-seconds in a Middleweight showcase. This is why I believe MMA has so many fans and blew up as quickly as it did. When fight-cards go out there and deliver excitement from the opening fight all the way till the main-event, it is inevitable that new/casual fans become hardcore fans. Like a box of chocolates, you never know what each fight card will bring you, but when fight cards turn out as exciting and action-packed as UFC 172 it’s a nice reminder of why this sport is criminally under-appreciated.
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