September was supposed to play host to four major MMA events, but after UFC 151: Jones vs. Henderson and Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy were canceled just days before the respective events, the month only saw two events take place in UFC 152 and UFC on FUEL TV 5.
There were slick submission finishes, brutal knockouts, all out wars and another successful light heavyweight championship title defense for Jon “Bones” Jones.
The past month has been unforgettable, but as MMA fans we are always looking forward to the next event – we rarely take time to appreciate the great moments that have passed us by. Before shutting the door on September for good, take a moment to look back and give credit to the best of the month that was.
Fighter of the Month – Jon Jones
UFC 152 marked just another fight, another win, and another title defense for UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Defeating Vitor Belfort definitely wasn’t as easy as Jones and his camp would have liked it to be, but the 25-year-old proved against Belfort that he is capable of overcoming adversity to win a fight. UFC President Dana White called the win Jones’ most impressive performance in the UFC, and while it wasn’t exactly a flawless effort, “Bones” did show off a lot of tools in the fight, particularly his brutal ground-and-pound and diverse submission arsenal.
Jones had a lot riding on the line at UFC 152 and didn’t let it faze him. He was facing a much smaller fighter who wasn’t supposed to have a chance, he had a new sponsor in Nike to impress, and most importantly of all, had issues like a recent DWI arrest, the cancellation of UFC 151 and a confrontation with the UFC boss in the forefront of his mind. “Bones” didn’t let any of it hinder him, though. He came out and did what he does best, putting on a show for the fans, defeating Belfort, and winning a cool $65,000 for ‘Submission of the Night’.
Honorable Mention – Demetrious Johnson
Fight of the Month – Stefan Struve vs Stipe Miocic at UFC on FUEL TV 5
Depending on which style of fight tickles your fancy, the ‘Fight of the Month’ could be interchangeable between Struve-Miocic and Grant-Dunham. If you like a fast paced battle between two smaller more technical guys, Grant vs. Dunham is the fight for you. On the other hand, if you like seeing giants do battle, Struve vs. Miocic was hands down the best fight of September.
The main event of UFC on FUEL TV 5 in Nottingham saw the “Skyscraper” win his fourth consecutive fight by knockout or submission when he put Stipe Miocic away with strikes at the 3:50 mark of the second round. The heavyweights put on an absolute slobberknocker in the event headliner with each man absorbing and dishing out punishment until Struve caught Miocic slipping and finished off the fight in devastating fashion with a combination against the cage.
Honorable Mention – T.J. Grant vs. Evan Dunham at UFC 152
Knockout of the Month – Cub Swanson def. Charles Oliveira via Knockout at UFC 152
Cub Swanson earned his third consecutive knockout finish when he put Charles Oliveira away with a massive right hand in the opening fight of the UFC 152 pay-per-view broadcast on Sept. 22. Swanson had an strong performance in all aspects, landing solid strikes in the stand up exchanges and finding his way back to his feet after surviving from the bottom position against the allegedly more dangerous ground fighter.
The 28-year-old blasted Oliveira at the 2:40 mark of the opening round and is now 3-1 inside the octagon, slowly creeping his way towards title contention as well as proving himself to be one of the most dangerous strikers in the world at 145-pounds.
Honorable Mention – Brad Pickett def. Yves Jabouin via Knockout (Strikes) at UFC on FUEL TV 5
Submission of the Month – Jon Jones def. Vitor Belfort via Submission (Americana) at UFC 152
In the main event of UFC 152 in Toronto, Jon Jones defended his light heavyweight championship for the fourth time against Vitor Belfort, submitting the Brazilian with an americana armlock in the fourth round. Belfort nearly took Jones’ belt when he locked in a tight armbar in the opening minutes of the first round. Jones didn’t escape the hold without damage though, the champ says he may have suffered ligament damage from the challenger’s submission attempt. It appeared Belfort exhausted himself attempting the submission as Jones took over more and more as each round went on. Belfort made a habit of pulling guard throughout the fight which left him a victim of Jones’ vicious elbows and caused him to be submitted in the fourth stanza. Belfort put up a much better fight than most expected, but in the end Jones showed he is particularly dangerous on the ground as he broke the record for most submission wins in UFC light heavyweight history.
Honorable Mention – Matt Wiman def. Paul Sass via Submission (Armbar) at UFC on FUEL TV 5