The UFC fans at the sold-out Baltimore Arena, in downtown Baltimore, were treated to quite the undercard of competitive fighters. Even the preliminary fights, available to fans via UFC Fight Pass & Fox Sports 1 before the pay-per-view main event, were hand-picked to be fights that the fans wanted to see.
Fans that arrived early enough to see the very first fight, Patrick Williams vs Chris Beal, were witness to a spectacular knockout. A flying knee from Beal to the jaw of Williams 1:15 into the second round. Although it began entertaining, after that knee, the fight was instantly over and the tone for the evening was officially set.
If you weren’t lucky enough to have the channels that broadcasted the prelims or didn’t make it to your seat in time, you still had another chance to see a textbook “rocking to sleep” occur. Unfortunately for Charlie Brenneman, who was knocked out by a powerful right-hand from Danny Castillo, that honor befell him just a mere twenty seconds into round two. Before the knockout blow, the fight was very technical. Both men had been choosing to wrestle their way to scores, before Castillo unleashed a vicious haymaker to the left jaw of Brenneman that put an abrupt end to his consciousness, as well as the fight.
If knockouts were too sudden for you, the event still featured FOUR straight bouts that ended in submission. First, Joseph Benavidez completely outclassed Timothy Elliot, locking him in a ground headlock that rendered him temporarily unconscious long enough for the referee to stop the fight 4:08 into the first round. Then, Max Holloway beat Andre Fili (3:39 into second round), Jim Miller beat Yancy Medeiros (3:18 into first round), and Luke Rockhold made extremely short work of Tim Boetsch (2:08 into 1st round), all by submission.
There were also three fights on the undercard (excluding the main event), that would go the distance; putting the responsibility of deciding the winner on the judges. First, in the women’s bantamweight match-up, Bethe Correia outlasted Jessamyn Duke to beat her by a score of 30-27 from two judges and 29-28 from the third judge. Takanori Gomi also defeated Isaac Vallie-Flagg in a unanimous decision of 29-28. Then, Anthony Johnson, who was fighting literally for his career in the UFC, pummeled Phil Davis for three rounds before winning by unanimous decision 30-27.
The main event of the night, Jon Jones vs Glover Teixeira, didn’t disappoint either. From the entertaining entrance of Jones, to the striking power of Teixeira, to the heart both men showed standing and boxing toe-to-toe for five brutal rounds; the fight stood up to all of the commercials and trailers we’ve been subjected to over the past few weeks. What was most evident however, was the fact that as good as Teixeira was last night, Jones was in another class altogether. His ability to absorb the punishment given by Teixeira early on proved to contribute to his winning by unanimous decision, 50-45. Many, including Teixeira himself, believed Jones would try to maintain distance to keep away from potential knockout blows, but, thats not what he did. Jones got right in the kitchen of Teixeira and stayed there, forcing him to try to out-box him with short, quick flurries and kicks. Teixeira, over the course of the fight, lost striking power, due to exhaustion from chasing Jones and it was then that Jones began to go on the offensive, racking up points on quick jabs, high knees, and those famous spinning elbows. Both men put on a show, but, it was Jones who proved he was worth every cent UFC fans paid to see him defend his Light Heavyweight championship.
The night was a total win for the fighters and the UFC overall. Fans left the arena in awe of the ability of the athletes and still clamoring about the exciting knockouts. Many also stood around downtown Baltimore until long after press conferences were over, just to get glimpse of Jones and the winners who had stayed around the area. Many people feel the UFC could be heading for dark days ahead, but if last night’s event was any indication of the health of the sport, I’d say it’s doing just fine. At least if you ask the people who really care.
Fight highlights below, courtesty of FOX Sports: