baltimoresun.com

« February 2011 | Main | May 2011 »

March 25, 2011

UFC Jon "Bones" Jones versus the world?

With the crowning of Jon “Bones” Jones as the new UFC light heavyweight champion, the obvious question is: Who has a chance of beating him? He clearly dominated the former champion Maurico “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128, landing 87 strikes to Rua's 13.

 

Let’s first start with his next opponent and first defense of his light heavyweight belt.

 

“Suga” Rashad Evans

“The truth of the matter is that I know how to beat Jon (Jones) and he knows how to beat me ... we are brothers through blood and through sweat and through training,” said Rashad Evans. This is a video of Rashad Evans talking about fighting Jon Jones from MMAheat.com. It's quite funny.


At The Ultimate Fighter 2 finale Rashad Evans fought as a heavyweight taking on a much taller fighter in Brad Imes, who stood 6’7” tall. So Evans fought and has won against a much taller fighter. But Jones isn’t just a taller fighter, he has a combination of reach, speed and unpredictability.

If you look at Rashad Evans' last fight against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, you could see that it was easy for him to train for that fight. Most mixed martial arts fighters like to have dislike for their opponent. During the taping of The Ultimate Fighter 11, Evans and Rampage had heated exchanges on every episode. And even after the show they talked about each other on the Internet.

So Rashad is once again turning to twitter and the Internet to get into a battle of words with his opponent. The only thing is Jones isn’t falling for Evans' trick.

Jones, a Christian is taking the high road, so this makes Evans look quite foolish. There are several cruel words that you can call a Christian, a hypocrite*, the devil and Judas**. Rashad choose the latter calling Jones, “Judas Jones” for saying he would never fight Evans because they were teammates.

Guess what Rashad?  You said that you wouldn’t fight a teammate as well. But here you are training to fight Jon Jones. Where I’m from, they call that a hypocrite. 

• I give the edge to Jones

*Hypocrite: a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

**Judas: a person treacherous enough to betray a friend; traitor.

 

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

Quinton Jackson bring a lot of experience in the octagon, but lately he has shown very little of what we remember of his days with Pride Fight Championship and his earlier fights in the UFC. He has had only one knockout in his last six fights. Also in his last six fights, five of the fights have gone the distance. I don’t see that happening with Jon Jones as his opponent. Rampage had problems with the unorthodox style of Lyoto Machida. I don’t see Rampage doing the one thing that could disrupt Jones’ rhythm. And that is Jones is receptive to front leg kicks. His fighting stance is quite wide and we have not seen him tested with a good soccer style leg kick. If you kick his front leg, you must be ready to block his long jab or be ready to take him down. I thought Maurico “Shogun” Rua would try an attack his leg but it looked as though the fight was won before it had begun (that’s my opinion for another blog post).

• I give the edge to Jones

 

 

Dan “Hendo” Henderson

It would be great to see how Jon could handle himself against a world-class wrestler. Not just a Division 1 or juco wrestler but a former Olympic wrestler with a great ground game and a good right hook. Henderson has fought and beaten some heavyweights, like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Gilbert Yvel so he is accustomed to fighting taller and bigger fighters. He has also been a champion in two different weight classes. He has a great jaw and he’s never been knocked out in the cage.

When Henderson made his pro debut, Jon Jones was 9 years old in June 1997. I see that as an advantage for Jones, because Henderson has had his better days.

• I give the edge to Jones

 

Come back and see my review of Jon Jones versus the following fighters: Phil Davis, Anderson Silva, Muhammed Lawal, Stefan Struve, Alistair Overeem, Fedor Emelianenko, Junior dos Santos & Cain Velasquez.

 

Give me your thoughts.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 12:18 PM | | Comments (8)
        

March 20, 2011

UFC 128: The Jon "Bones" Jones era has begun

Hours before Saturday's UFC 128 championship fight event took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., light heavyweight challenger Jon “Bones” Jones was walking to a waterfall to meditate when he saw a guy stealing items from a car. He chased the robber and apprehended him until the police arrived. Fast forward to several hours later, and Jones was running down light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and beating him like he stole something.

 

Not since Cain Velasquez's TKO of Brock Lesnar has there been such domination of a UFC champion for the entire fight. Rua had no answer for Jones' 84.5-inch reach or his unorthodox style. Jones could have ended the fight in the second round, but it looked like he got tired from beating Rua. The bout ended at 2:37 of the third round when Jones scored a technical knockout with a body punch and a knee to the head of the champion Rua.

 

Many thought the only way Rua could win this fight would be for him to kick Jones' front leg. But, it was Jones that did the kicking throughout the fight, even soccer kicking the Brazilian in one exchange.

 

Jones’ striking coach, Mike Winkeljohn told sherdog.com, “I see the progression in the gym. I was telling everybody that he could beat ‘Shogun’ standing up. I’ll never say it was easy, though. ‘Shogun’ is very tough, and he was inches away from a few counters in there when Jon was punching. But, for the most part, [Jon] dominated. He stayed long, and he hit him long and often. He [used] angles and he took [Rua] down when he wanted to. It was a great performance. I’m very happy.”

 

After the fight, UFC announced the next fight for Jones. It will be former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans; his training partner at Greg Jackson's mixed martial arts.  Evans was greeted with boos when the camera panned to him in the octagon.  Both fighters had said in the past that they would never fight each other -- a rule that was in place at Jackson’s MMA. UFC analyst Joe Rogan asked Evans about the statement of never fighting training partner.

 

"I guess you should never say never," Evans said. He also tweeted the next morning "I no longer will use Greg Jackson as my coach but we r still cool!."

 

At the end they shook hands. The next time we see them they will be in the middle of the octagon for Jones' first title defense.

 

Jon “Bones” Jones will dominate this division for years to come.

 

Below are the full undercard results.

 

Erik Koch defeated Raphael Assuncao by knockout (punches) at 2:32 in the first round.

 

Nick Catone beat Constantinos Philippou by unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 30-27.

 

Joseph Benavidez beat Ian Loveland by unanimous decision. One judge scored it 29-28, while the other two had it 30-27.

 

Gleison Tibau beat Kurt Pellegrino by split decision. One judge scored it 29-28 Pellegrino, while the other two had it 29-28 for Tibau.

 

Mike Pyle defeated Ricardo Almeida by unanimous decision. One judge scored it 29-28, while the other two had it 30-27.

 

Edson Mendes Barboza Jr. defeated Anthony Njokuani by unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 29-28.

 

Luis Artur Cane Jr. defeated Eliot Marshall by technical knockout (punches) at 2:15 in the first round.

 

Brendan Schaub defeated Mirko Filipovic by knockout (punches) at 3:44 in the third round.

 

Nate Marquardt defeated Dan Miller by unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 30-27.

 

Jim Miller defeated Kamal Shalorus by technical knockout (punches) at 2:15 in the third round.

 

Urijah Faber defeated Eddie Wineland by unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 29-28.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 7:56 AM | | Comments (4)
        

March 18, 2011

UFC's Jon Jones training his brother, Ravens' Arthur Jones

Many fans consider UFC light heavyweight Jon “Bones” Jones one of the best fighters in the world. He is known in mixed martial arts as a very unorthodox fighter with exceptional grappling stills. But if you ask him who the best grappler in his family is, he would tell you that his brother, Arthur Jones, is hands-down the best in the family.

 

Arthur, the eldest brother, was a New York State heavyweight champion wrestler in 2003 and 2005 and was the runner-up in 2004.

 

I asked Jon about Arthur one day fighting in the octagon. “I think my brother would do great in the octagon. My brother has been living with me for about three weeks now, and his wrestling is on a completely different level. Honestly I think my brother’s clinch…well without starting anything. I really don’t see anyone in the heavyweight division right now being about to punch with my brother and not get thrown. My brother has amazing Greco-Roman wrestling [skills], and since he has been here, my Greco-Roman has come back completely.”

 

Arthur plays defensive end for the Ravens, with whom he just completed his first year. One of his teammates is safety Tom Zbikowski, who just fought as a heavyweight boxer in Las Vegas and plans to fight again this month in Atlantic City. He is able to compete in another sport because of the NFL lockout. If the lockout continues into the season, we could possibly see another Ravens player cross over into another sport.

 

Jon gave an estimated time to yahoosports.com on how long it would take for Arthur to get ready to fight in the octagon if he chose to fight. “If he dedicated one year to the twice-a-day training lifestyle, I think he could compete with the UFC heavyweight champion. He's that special. It took me three years to get where I am, and Arthur is so special. He could get here in a year and a half.”

 


I talked to Arthur in the Ravens locker room back in November 2010 about potentially fighting in the octagon. I saw him at a local MMA event in Baltimore earlier that fall. He told me that he would like to fight one day in the octagon, but he would want his first fight to be against a super heavyweight similar to a guy we saw that lost that night. The fighter was 6-2 and weighed more than 350 pounds. This guy wasn’t in the best of shape. “I would beat him by putting him on his back right at the start of the fight,” Arthur said.

 

When you talk to Arthur or Jon, you get a sense that their parents, Arthur Sr. and Camille, did a wonderful job in raising these young men. No matter what they would have done in life, they would have been successful.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 3:50 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Video
        

March 10, 2011

Jon Jones a star in the making?

UFC light heavyweight Jon “Bones” Jones is on the doorstep of stardom. If he is able to win his upcoming bout against light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128, we could see him take MMA to heights we have never seen before.

On top of being extremely talented, Jones is a very bright and articulate young man that could be the face of MMA for years to come.

Despite mixed martial arts being one of the fastest growing sports in the world, there are some that still believe the sport is little more than human cock fighting.

But that’s where a fighter like Jon Jones could change that perception of the sport, and allow MMA to finally knock out boxing and even pro-wrestling as the number one combat sport on PPV.

When Muhammad Ali, who was then known as Cassius Clay, came on the seen, there were no boxers who could give you more than a few words on camera. Ali could hype a fight, talk all night and do it all in front of the bright lights. He took the sport of boxing to heights it had never seen before. When Ali's career was winding down, along came Sugar Ray Leonard, another talented, good-looking young man that could look straight into a camera and go word for word with any sports commentator.

If you look at the champions in the UFC, all are good in the octagon, but none of them are great on the microphone. The one thing that bridges the gap from being a star to being a superstar is charisma. Heavyweight champion Cain Velaquez seems to be a quiet guy while light heavyweight Rua, middleweight Anderson Silva and featherweight Jose Aldo are all Brazilians that speak very little English. Welterweight champion George St. Pierre speaks English pretty well, but it’s his second language. Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and lightweight champion Frankie Edgar are both Americans, but they fight in lighter weight divisions that don’t get as much promotion as the heavier weight classes. The UFC has several fighters that are good on the microphone -- Chael Sonnen, Stephan Bonnar, Quinton Jackson, Rashad Evans and Brock Lesnar. But in my opinion, none have the total package like Jon Jones.

If you look back over the last 3 1/2 years, you could see that UFC president Dana White did not push Jones up the ranks as fast as other fighters. They had a well-planned, methodical progression for each of Jones' fights. Even after the disqualification to Matt Hamill, they stepped up the competition to Brandon Vera for his next opponent.

Talking with Jones recently he said, “It is in God's will for me to be a champion right now … God has blessed me with a talent, and God has blessed me with an ability and this is something that he has given me and this is my time.”

Jon Jones has come to MMA at the right time, a time when the sport needs to broaden it’s audience and its appeal to mainstream sports enthusiasts. Come March 19, at UFC 128 many fans of MMA will be cheering, praying and seeing the dawn of an new era.

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 12:19 PM | | Comments (5)
        

March 7, 2011

Video: Chad Ochocinco vs. Anderson Silva?

Posted by Baltimore Sun sports at 4:16 PM | | Comments (1)
        
Keep reading
Recent entries
Archives
Categories
About the blogger
Kevin Richardson has been a fan of mixed martial arts competition ever since UFC 3, when 600-pound sumo wrestler Emmanuel Yarborough was beaten by Keith Hackney. Kevin will cover the world of MMA — in Baltimore, nationally and internationally. He plans to take readers into the locker rooms and MMA schools, where they'll hear from local fighters and trainers. If you have a news tip or suggestions for the blog, please e-mail him.

-- ADVERTISEMENT --

Poll
Sign up for FREE local sports alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local sports text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Categories
Blog updates
Recent updates to baltimoresun.com sports blogs  Subscribe to this feed
Stay connected