• UFC 140

Jones' chin passes the test in gripping Machida win

ESPN staff
December 11, 2011

Jon Jones clocked up champion number three on his 2011 hitlist, but only after he came through the nerviest moments of his career against Lyoto Machida at UFC 140 on Saturday.

The myth is over. Jones can be hit, but he can also take a punch. Twice Machida nailed him and rushed forward in trademark Machida style, but all he succeeded in doing was angering the beast. The UFC light-heavyweight champion's response was to open a huge gash on Machida's forehead, before locking on a sensational standing guillotine - dropping an unconscious Machida to the mat for victory at 4.26 of the second round.

After a fight that started by giving every other 205lb competitor hope that Jones could be beaten, the sight of Machida slumping to the mat quickly reminded all in attendance of the quite chilling lethal streak of the champion. Just like Mauricio Shogun Rua, and just like Rampage Jackson, Machida was left needing medical help, while Jones was left to reflect on the toughest test of his career.

"He didn't have me hurt but he did punch me pretty good and wobbled me a little bit," the champion commented. "One of my biggest critic points is that I can't take a punch, so it was good to prove to myself and everyone else that I can take a legit hit."

Machida's first round was close to perfect. Staying on the outside, he made Jones miss and then miss again. Landing the odd leg kick Machida kept Jones guessing, and then he picked the right moment to ambush the champion - rocking him with a left hand.

Jones' chin looked strong, but he wore a concerned look in his corner for the first time. That concern grew to genuine belief - certainly amongst the crowd - that Machida could pull off the unthinkable when he smashed Jones with an even bigger shot in the second, almost knocking him off his feet this time.

However, the momentum of the fight quickly changed when Jones landed his first takedown, opening up a huge gash across the forehead with an elbow. Machida needed to be stopped so that the doctor could check the wound, but Jones quickly did the doctor's job for him.

Upon resumption, both men threw left hands but Jones' landed to drop the challenger. Machida leapt straight back to his feet but Jones rammed him against the cage, where he twisted on Machida's neck to choke him out, the Brazilian's arms falling limp as Jones discarded the body - tossing aside yet another world class challenge at the age of just 24.

Any other night Jones' submission would have earned Submission of the Night honours, but Frank Mir stole that cheque by coming back from the jaws of defeat to break Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's arm in the heavyweight division. In 12 years of fighting Nogueira had never been submitted, but Mir produced a quite outstanding kimura to end the battle at 3.28 of the first round.

Frank Mir is not done in the heavyweight division © Getty Images

Big Nog had been dominated in their first meeting three years ago but he flew out of the blocks in the rematch, hurting Mir badly with elbows, a big right hand and a thudding knee. Mir dropped to the mat, where he ate a series of hammer fists as the Brazilian tried to end the fight.

The mistake, if you can call it that, came when Big Nog went for Mir's back, sparking Mir into life as he worked for the kimura. Even then, Nogueira looked to have escaped the submission as he rolled out of danger, but Mir showed his own world class ground game to roll again, staying heavy on top to pop Nogueira's arm.

"I'm the first person to knock him out, and now I'm the first person to submit him! I was stunned, he caught me," Mir said after the fight.

Tito Ortiz's career may well have entered its final chapter after the Huntington Beach Bad Boy was stopped at 3.15 of the first round by Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Ortiz, the most dominant light-heavyweight champion in UFC history after a three-year reign, was in trouble early and appeared to suffer a cracked rib in defeat.

After a fast start by Ortiz, he got rocked by an elbow from Nogueira, who then dropped his foe with a big knee to the body. From there, Little Nog unloaded on Ortiz's body, and one elbow clearly stopped the American from defending himself as the ref stepped in.

Immediately after the fight Ortiz refused to say he was quitting, preferring to take time and discuss the situation with his camp back home.

In the welterweight division, Brian Ebersole stayed undefeated after a contested 29-28 28-29 29-28 split decision victory over Claude Patrick. Typical of a Claude Patrick fight, there was plenty of clinching and only short doses of action, but he did threaten with a guillotine in the first and an anaconda choke in the third. Ebersole was the man pushing the (slow) pace though, and that registered with the judges.

The main card exploded into action with a lightening knockout by Chan Sung-Jung, who finished Mark Hominick in seven seconds. Hominick, fighting for the first time since the death of Shawn Tompkins, came out swinging and left his chin wide open, and the first punch thrown by the Korean Zombie was enough to do the job.

UFC 140 results:
Jon Jones def. Lyoto Machida via standing guillotine choke - Round 2, 4:26
Frank Mir def. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira via kimura - Round 1, 3:38
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Tito Ortiz via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 3:15
Brian Ebersole def. Claude Patrick via split decision (29-28 28-29 29-28)
Chan Sung Jung def. Mark Hominick via TKO (punches) - Round 1, 0:07
Igor Pokrajac def. Krzysztof Soszynski via knockout (punches) - Round 1, 0:35
Constantinos Philippou def. Jared Hamman via knockout (punches) - Round 1, 3:11
Dennis Hallman def. John Makdessi via rear-naked choke - Round 1, 2:58
Yves Jabouin def. Walel Watson via split decision (28-29 29-28 30-27)
Mark Bocek def. Nik Lentz via unanimous decision (30-27 30-27 30-27)
Jake Hecht def. Rich Attonito via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 1:10
John Cholish def. Mitch Clarke via TKO (strikes) - Round 2, 4:36

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