It was a bizarre night at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. for UFC 159. Seven months of trash talking by Chael Sonnen concluded with an anti-climactic, one-sided beatdown, dished out by UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones inside of a round. The 15,227 fans that came out to watch saw a card that failed to live up to the hype.
Sonnen came out hard and right at Jones but was no match for the physicality and athleticism possessed by the champion. All that buildup, all the talk and an entire season of The Ultimate Fighter, for a fight that didn't even last a round.
All told, there were rarer occurrences than the outcome of the main event.
“It was a very weird night,” said UFC president Dana White at the post fight press conference. “It started out weird and ended even weirder.”
It certainly was an odd affair with two fights going to “Technical decision” due to inadvertent eye pokes, another fight being stopped for a thumb dislocation and Bruce Buffer incorrectly announcing Jim Miller as the winner after he lost to Pat Healy.
The icing on the cake unfurled as Joe Rogan noticed Jones badly broken toe during the post-fight interview.
Not to say the card didn’t have some bright moments—because it did. Roy Nelson brought the crowd to its feet with his “Knockout of the night” win over Cheick Kongo, and the opening fight of the main card between Miller and Healy earned “Fight of the night” honors for both and “Submission of the night” honors for Healy.
Also looking outstanding was Sara McMann, who gave a sound beating to Sheila Gaff, earning a TKO win in the third-ever women's fight in UFC history.
Phil Davis notched a win over Vinny Magalhaes in a non-entertaining contest, earning boos from the crowd throughout the three-round fight, and Michael Bipsing’s one-sided victory over Alan Belcher was one of the fights that ended with an eye poke.
After a month of putting on great cards, the UFC was due for a dud.
“We’ve done four fights in the last four weeks all over the country, all over the world,” White said. “I always say every weekend you put on a fight, it’s not going to be the greatest show you’ve ever done. These guys came out, they fought hard tonight. Yeah, it was a weird night.”
It could’ve been worse. If Sonnen had survived the first round, Jones may very well have not been able to continue due to his broken toe. That would’ve been the second TKO stoppage due to injury on the night and a new light heavyweight champion would’ve been crowned.
Sonnen winning due to a Jones injury would’ve just made the card even odder, not better.
The questions of a rematch would’ve littered the post-fight press conference. White said during his post-fight media scrum that a second Jones vs. Sonnen match might not have occurred right away.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do an immediate rematch, who knows how long Jones is going to be out,” White said. “Chael probably would’ve had to defend the title once, you know what I mean? I don’t know. I don’t know how long this thing is going to take. That would’ve been horrible if that happened.”
It didn’t. Jones is still the champion. Despite his toe injury, he survived. The UFC 159 hype did not.
Michael Stets is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.
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