UFC 159 went down on Saturday night from Newark, New Jersey. The card culminated with a main event pitting light heavyweight champion Jon Jones against challenger and ace promoter Chael Sonnen.
All told, the card featured 11 fights. But when you're talking about hype, the discussion begins and ends with the biggest names on the old marquee. And that's never more true than it is when Chael P. is involved.
So now that the event is over, did it live up to all that hype? Did it make up for that endless onslaught of promos?
Well, no. No, it didn't.
Everyone and his mama expected Jones to win this fight. And win it he did, hammering Sonnen into the mat with ground-and-pound to force a stoppage with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first round. The TKO was the ninth knockout victory of Jones' career, which is already looking illustrious after only 19 fights and 25 years on planet Earth.
This one gained an interesting postscript when Joe Rogan, who just trying to do his regular post-fight interview, discovered that Jones had gruesomely broken the big toe on his left foot. Think of Kevin Ware's leg in miniature, right down to the nauseating slow-motion replay and the bone sticking out.
It was horrendous.
So kudos to Jones for finishing the fight with that foot and not even noticing it until Rogan did, thanks to adrenaline. But that has no bearing on whether the fight was equal to the hype.
Because Jones is one of the best two or three fighters in the world and was fighting a 36-year-old converted middleweight whose outside-the-cage career options list seems to grow longer by the day, Jones was heavily favored. To put a finer point on it, this was a major mismatch, and everyone knew it.
The only fig leaf covering that inconvenient truth was Sonnen and his merry band of soundbites. In other words, hype was the only thing holding this match together. And that hype was a one-man band. It all came from Sonnen.
So in order for the fight to equal the hype, it had to be compelling—compelling in this case meaning Sonnen winning or at least being competitive to a surprising degree.
Neither one of those things happened. It's always a pleasure to watch a fighter as brilliant as Jones do his thing. But his own dominance in this mismatch was too wide of a gulf to be bridged by mere words.