After two rounds, the entire story of the UFC 128 main event could be told on Shogun Rua‘s battered face. The light heavyweight champion looked disheartened, bruised, swollen and exhausted while his challenger Jon Jones remained unscratched.
Jon “Bones” Jones started the fight with a flying knee in the first second and never let up the pressure on the champion for the remainder of the fight. Jones smartly used his reach, pummelling Shogun with side kicks, push kicks and jabs and keeping the champion at bay. Whenever Shogun attempted one of his patented leg or body kicks, he would be countered strongly with a takedown or a heavy punch to the face.
Jones also used his wrestling to dominate Shogun on the ground. Rua was constantly on the defensive, worrying about elbows on the ground and retaining his guard while Jones pressured him from above with a relentless attack. By the midway point of the first round, Rua’s pace had already slowed drastically.
Jones’ reach frustrated Rua terribly, forcing the champion to lunge in wildly with telegraphed strikes that Jones easily sidestepped. Jones was also dominant in the clinch, hammering Rua with knees to the body and head. A huge spinning back elbow in the clinch landed hard and knocked Rua into the fence, drawing “ooooohs” and “aaahhhs” from the New Jersey crowd.
Shogun, to his credit, slipped several of Jones’ wild spinning back kicks and elbows and took Jones’ back standing but was never able to utilize his positional advantage into anything credible. Jones simply outmuscled Shogun and continued to put him on his back, clobbering him with elbows and punches from full guard like no other fighter has ever done to Shogun in history.
Finally, in the third round, Jones hurt Rua with some vicious ground striking. Rua got to his feet but then Jones landed a devastating body punch and finished the champ off with a knee to the face that crumpled Rua along the fence as referee Herb Dean stepped in and mercifully stopped the onslaught at 2:37 of the round.
Jones was hyped severely before his title fight by the media and the UFC after blistering through the light heavyweight division. The 23 year old title challenger was even the overwhelming favorite on the betting lines which drew ire from many hardcore fans. Jones not only lived up to the hype, he exceeded it in overwhelming fashion. He made a statement on Shogun Rua’s face.
After the fight, Jones’ friend and teammate Rashad Evans met him in the cage and the viewers were informed that both men would put their friendship aside and fight for the title later this year. Somewhere, Dana White is smiling.
Local Reaction to Jon Jones winning the title
Chris Redmen – Jon Jones is the New UFC Light heavy weight CHAMPION….Hell Yeah!
Gerry Rodriguez – Shogun is tough. Forget GSP vs Silva, I’d rather see Silva vs Jones
Ray Flores – Well we have Manny Pacquaio in boxing and now Mma has Jon “Bones”Jones..what a special talent. Welcome to the era of Bones Jones!
Brian Rogers: Ton of people on the have been hating on Jon Bones Jones and they now get have to eat their words!
UFC middleweight Tom Lawlor: Fun Fact: Jon Jones made his debut on a show that I was the co-main event on April 12,2008. We also fought in the same weight class. Boy am glad I stopped drinking milk….