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Jones beats Sonnen, breaks toe
Jon Jones ended the night on a stool, the victim of one of the several odd injuries at UFC 159.
Fortunately for Jones, he was smiling through the pain with the UFC light heavyweight belt secured to his waist after a first-round TKO victory over Chael Sonnen at Prudential Center early Sunday morning.
Even the discovery of a gruesome, broken toe couldn't knock Jones off his game during the post-fight interview in the Octagon — where he delivered the line of the night:
Jon Jones appears to have broken his big toe. "I was supposed to go to Jamaica, but I don't know if that's going to happen now."— A.J. Perez (@ajperezfox) April 28, 2013
Jones suffered what UFC president Dana White called a “compound fracture” of the big toe on his left foot. Jones said the injury occurred — possibly as his toe fell through a gap in the mat — on a takedown of Sonnen.
“I looked down and saw blood,” Jones said. “The closer I looked, I saw that my toe was upside down. Maybe it’s not that serious of an injury. Who knows?”
Jones earned the stoppage with 27 seconds left in the first round after he trapped a fallen Sonnen along the cage. Jones unleashed several elbows and punches before the fight was halted.
Had Sonnen been able to maintain for those final few ticks in the round, there was the very likely possibility Sonnen could have claimed the belt. White said there was no way a referee would have let the fight continue had he seen the extent of Jones’ injury — much like a stoppage for a hand injury that occurred earlier in the night.
“He wouldn’t have been able to go back out,” White said. “They would have stopped the fight. A bone was sticking out of his toe.”
Sonnen said if that were to happen, he’d be under “no illusions” who was the better fighter.
"I had my questions answered," Sonnen said.
The quick stoppage followed months' worth of trash talking and a full season of The Ultimate Fighter, where Sonnen and Jones faced each other as coaches. The victory by Jones pulls him even for the most title defenses in UFC light heavyweight history (five), a mark he now shares with Tito Ortiz.
What’s next for Jones, who seems to have run short on worthy challengers at light heavyweight? White said he got a call from longtime UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva during UFC 159. Anderson wanted in on the so-called Super Fight.
Ever the promoter, however, White didn’t say whether Anderson wanted to face Jones or welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre.
The last word on Jones' UFC dominance, from one pre-fight tweet . . .
If Kimbo Slice and Lebron James has a baby it would look like Jon Jones. #UFC159— MMA Roasted (@MMARoasted) April 28, 2013
REMAINDER OF MAIN CARD
The term “technical decision” became familiar to those who watched this card. Two fights were stopped due to accidental eye gouges, including in the co-main event.
Michael Bisping was cruising to an easy win over Alan Belcher as Bisping used his jab to control the fight. Then one of Bisping’s fingers found the right eye of Belcher. Belcher dropped to the ground immediately as blood began to trickle out his eye.
Referee Herb Dean halted the fight and sent it to the cards, where Bisping won a unanimous technical decision, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.
“It was a complete accident,” Bisping said in the post-fight interview. “My apologies.”
Prior to Bisping-Belcher, Roy Nelson’s celebratory climb atop the cage — something he did three times — may have been more strenuous than his fight. Nelson used a blind right hand that found Cheick Kongo’s chin, dropping him to his knees. One more right hand led to the a stoppage and a first-round TKO win for Nelson.
“I knew when I hit him that he was out but he also recovers very fast as we saw in the Pat Barry fight,” Nelson said. “I went in and hit him again then looked to the ref to let him know I was prepared to keep going if necessary”
After Nelson showed off his climbing skills, he said that he deserved a heavyweight title shot. Next month’s UFC 160 features heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez against Antonio Silva.
“I’m ready for the title if that’s what’s next for me,” Nelson said. “I know I can give Cain fits and if it’s Bigfoot then I’m ready for that too.”
Phil Davis’ ascent to challenge for the light heavyweight title was derailed by Rashad Evans in January 2012. He’s won two fights since, but his latest effort that came Saturday isn’t likely to move him up the ranks much.
Davis wasn’t tested as he jabbed his way to a unanimous decision victory over Vinny Magalhaes (30-27, 30-27, 29-28). He controlled the fight, but never had Magalhaes in serious trouble.
“Tonight was about precision and risk management,” Davis said. “I’m not going to shoot for takedowns that I can miss. I’d rather be precise with my techniques. I was playing it smart in there because Vinny is dangerous on the ground.”
Former Strikeforce lightweight contender Pat Healy, whose only UFC fight came in a loss more than six years ago, looked headed for another setback in his UFC return as Jim Miller pounded away on Healy’s face as the first round ended.
Healy righted himself in the second and began to push the action much of the rest of the fight before he submitted Miller with a rear-naked choke with under a minute left in the fight.
“I know I look a little beat up and my eye is swollen, but I feel incredible,” said Healy, who extended his winning streak to seven fights. “I’ve been working. so hard for this return to the UFC. It’s been seven years since I’ve been here and I’ve gone through so much since I’ve been gone. The only thing that kept me going is my love for fighting.”
The undercard that was shown on FX was gruesome and bewildering.
Gian Villante was rallying in the third round when his light heavyweight bout was stopped after his opponent, Ovince St. Preux, inadvertently gouged Villante’s right eye.
Villante told referee Kevin Mulhall at the stoppage that he couldn’t see and Mulhall immediately called the end to the fight. The decision came as Villante pleaded to continue and without the ringside doctor’s opinion.
“He said the fight was over and I didn’t expect that because I was just reacting to his question,” Villante said.
The bout went to the cards and St. Preux won with a majority technical decision 30-28, 29-29, 30-29.
There was no second-guessing the second fight on the undercard stopped for medical reasons. One look at Yancy Medeiros’ mangled right thumb was enough.
Medeiros was thrown to the ground by Rustam Khabilov midway through the first round. Medeiros braced himself for the fall, but got his thumb bent in a direction that it wasn’t supposed to and the ref called an immediate stoppage.
Khabilov earned the TKO to improve to 2-0 in the UFC.
“I wanted to keep going so bad,” Medeiros said. “I’m praying for a quick recovery so I can go back in there and be stronger.”
According to Dr. Jonathan Gelber of Fight Medicine, and based on the pictures, it looks like Medeiros suffered a dislocation of the metacarpal-phalangeal joint of his thumb. That is the joint which connects the beginning of the finger with the hand. The severity of the injury will be determined by what else happened with the dislocation. A simple dislocation which is relocated and stable will usually be splinted for only a couple of weeks. However, if there is an associated fracture, or torn ligaments, the joint will no longer be stable and will require splinting for twice as long, and likely surgery.
The third women’s bantamweight fight in UFC history wasn’t quite as entertaining as the first two, but it was anything but boring.
Sara McMann and Sheila Gaff had to be separated after a period of inaction on the mat early in the first round. The pace picked up considerably from there as McMann took control on the ground, pinned back Gaff's arm and began throwing repeated punches to Gaff’s face before the fight was halted with 54 seconds left in the first round.
“The more fights I have, the better I'm going to get,” said McMann, a silver medal-winning Olympic wrestler who improved to 7-0 as a pro. “Her strongest threat was on the feet so I took her down. I'm a wrestler. I can take people down whenever I want to. I put myself in the captain's seat where I could do the most damage and I plan to keep doing that.”
Bryan Caraway forced Johnny Bedford to tap out with a guillotine choke with 16 seconds left in the third round in the first FX fight of the night.
Also of note, one of the three preliminaries that were to be shown on Facebook had to be scratched just hours beforehand after Nick Catone was hospitalized, his opponent, James Head, said on Facebook.
Roy Nelson won KO of the Night, Pat Healy won Submission of the Night and Fight of the Night went to again, Pat Healy and Jim Miller.