The UFC returned to Canada for the second time this year with UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort, which took place in Toronto, Ontario. Jon Jones successfully defended his UFC light heavyweight championship against Vitor Belfort in the main event of the evening while Demetrious Johnson edged Joseph Benavidez by split decision in the co-main event of the night to become the fitst flyweight champion in UFC history.
Aside from the main event, underdogs were the story of the night as eight of the 12 betting favorites on the card were on the wrong end of an upset. The high points of the undercard were Vinny Magalhaes submitting Igor Pokrajac in his UFC return, Cub Swanson knocking out Charles Oliveira and T.J. Grant defeating Evan Dunham in the ‘Fight of the Night’.
Catch my UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort post-fight thoughts and analysis for the main card below.
- In the main event of UFC 152 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 with 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 submitting in the fourth stanza. Belfort put up a much better fight than most expected, but in the end Jones was victorious once again and kept his championship belt.
- Demetrious Johnson made history in the co-main event of UFC 152 when he defeated Joseph Benavidez by split decision to become the first flyweight champion in UFC history. The flyweights competed for at a high pace for 25 minutes in an extremely close fight, but ultimately it was Johnson’s speed that made the difference as he was able to keep Benavidez on his heels and score multiple takedowns. Benavidez had a hard time dealing with Johnson’s movement and aside from a knockdown in the fourth round, the Team Alpha-Male product was never able to establish control of the bout. Few expected Johnson to prevail at UFC 152, but the 26-year-old proved everyone wrong and walked out of the Air Canada Centre with the flyweight championship belt around his waist.
- Michael Bisping and Brian Stann engaged in a three-round battle in the featured middleweight bout of the night. Bisping walked away with the decision with 29-28 scores across the board, however his performance was not as dominant as he would have liked to be. “The Count” was able to outstrike Stann overall, but the takedowns of the British fighter scored him the most points on the judge’s scorecards. Stann had his high points in the fight, hurting Bisping in the first round with an overhand right. In the end, though, Bisping showed he was the most complete fighter and earned the decision. Bisping’s performance did not cement him as the number one contender in the middleweight division, but he did avoid losing two fights in a row for the first time in his career and at the very least secured a fight that will put him in line for a title shot.
- Matt Hamill was victorious in his return to the UFC, winning a unanimous decision against UFC newcomer Roger Hollett. The fight was far from exciting as was fought at a very slow pace with rare bits of action sprinkled in over the course of the 15-minute contest. After 13 months away from the sport, Hamill did what he needed to do to win the fight, landing occasional strikes while securing takedowns and working his ground-and-pound. It is hard to judge where “The Hammer” goes from here, he is clearly never going to be a title contender and after retiring from the sport once before, there is no telling how much time is left on his clock or if he is willing to stick around as a light heavyweight gatekeeper.
- 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. 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 is now 3-1 inside the octagon and is 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.