UFC 172 Results: The Real Winners and Losers from Jones vs. Teixeira
BALTIMORE — When the best fighter in the world comes calling, you know what you do? You accept the charges.
It doesn't matter whether you remember what a collect call is. Doesn't matter. Here in Baltimore on Saturday night at UFC 172, the great Jon Jones showed up to do what he does best: defend his light heavyweight belt. This time it was against Glover Teixeira, the Brazilian who, despite his fearsomeness, was a heavy underdog against the prodigy.
At the still-young age of 26, Jones made his seventh consecutive title defense. That's already a light heavyweight record.
So what went down against Teixeira? And, for that matter, what happened on the rest of the card, which was pretty dang loaded?
Who prevailed between redemption-seeking headhunter Anthony Johnson and sudden microphone fiend Phil Davis, two men who might just make Jones' contender short list with a victory? How about Luke Rockhold, the would-be middleweight kingpin who tangled with bear-of-a-man Tim Boetsch?
As always, the stat lines only reveal so much. Here are the real winners and losers from UFC 172, hand-selected at cageside for freshness.
Winner: Jon Jones
All in a fortnight for Jon "Bones" Jones.
The best MMA fighter on earth did best-MMA-fighter-on-earth stuff Saturday night against a very game opponent in Glover Teixeira. Though he didn't get the stoppage, everything was there for the champ.
Jones' weapon of choice was the elbow. In the clinch or in the pocket, he used short and step-in elbows to gash up Teixeira's mug and prove again that those joints of his are the two most dangerous weapons in mixed martial arts.
Throw in a few takedowns and those classic long jabs (and a standing arm crank!), and you pretty much have another reel-to-reel masterwork. And he did it Teixeira's way, which is to say he beat his opponent at his own game.
Jones also grabbed a different sort of win Saturday night. After the previous week's controversy surrounding the homophobic comments made on his Instagram account, he needed a public-relations boost. He looked for it and got it from the Baltimore crowd.
With Ray Lewis in the house, Jones (whose brother, Arthur, won a Super Bowl title with the Ravens) did the famous Lewis "Gladiator" dance during his walkout. The crowd rewarded him with deafening support throughout.
It's easy to get the feeling that another Jones misstep away from the cage is inevitable. Almost as inevitable as more mastery inside it.
ESPN Stats & Info put Saturday's win in perspective: "Jon Jones won his 7th title defense, the most in UFC light heavyweight history and longest streak among current UFC champions."
Winner: Glover Teixeira
The Teixeira playbook has two abiding qualities: It's thin, and it's open.
Bull rush forward, throw counter rights, clinch and fire uppercuts. There you go.
The Brazilian didn't add many wrinkles for this title fight. And by "many" I mean "any." He waded in, and he landed his uppercuts. He did so, to one degree of success or another, for 25 minutes. He danced with the horse that brought him, to use a colloquial phrase.
It wasn't his fault that Jones met him on his own ground and handily beat him there. Time after time, Jones used those aforementioned elbows to get the better of those phone-booth exchanges.
But Teixeira kept coming and standing up, and that in and of itself is pretty good. It was only in the final three minutes or so that he caved.
He was a heavy underdog coming in, and understandably so. But he's a tough out and a very good fighter. and he offered a reminder of that Saturday despite the defeat.
Loser: Phil Davis
I almost don't feel a need to write this slide because this slide here writes itself.
Then, Davis got in the cage Saturday and couldn't get anything done. He was outmuscled, outstruck and, yes, outgrappled, seeing as how he couldn't get a takedown.
After the fight, he was quieter than he had been all week, saying in a statement released by the UFC: "That was obviously not how I planned on it going. I fought tough, but it is what it is."
Thanks for that insight. In any case, Davis is still elite. He'll have more wins and better fights. He's a good member of the UFC light heavyweight division. It would be a lesser division without him. But he's going to have to eat some serious crow (and maybe develop a better striking game) before he thinks about anything else.
Winner: Anthony Johnson
Anthony Johnson had more than a puncher's chance. He had a full advantage over Phil Davis in the entire striking phase, and he displayed that and then some Saturday night.
"Rumble" thoroughly battered Davis from bell to bell, stuffing several takedown attempts from the national wrestling champ in the process.
The former welterweight definitely has a home in the UFC light heavyweight division, proving he can dominate here just as he did in the World Series of Fighting after his UFC release in 2012 following repeated problems with making weight.
Those problems are behind him now. And there are lots of better things ahead.
Give it up for the finishing move of choice on a card rife with finishes.
In three of the evening's six stoppages, someone tapped to the guillotine choke. With three fighters from Team Alpha Male—a camp famous for mastering that particular move—on the slate, you might think they were the culprits. But they weren't, at least not exclusively.
Alpha Male Joseph Benavidez did kick it off with that foot-tapper on Tim Elliott (more on that one in a second). Then, in a cruel—depending on whom you're rooting for—twist of fate, an Alpha Male found himself on the receiving end when Andre Fili submitted to Max Holloway in the final round of the main card opener.
Then, Jim Miller capped a fully dominant (if quick) performance by weakening Yancy Medeiros with a body shot, rag-dolling him to the floor and putting the Hawaiian to sleep.
I wouldn't want to be the bonus-check deciders Saturday night.
Winner: Luke Rockhold
Man, is Luke Rockhold ever good at mixed martial arts.
It was over fairly quickly. He wrapped up Boetsch early, got him to the ground and ensnared his head in a leg triangle, turning Boetsch's dome a rich shade of lavender.
Boetsch held firm, but Rockhold wasn't going away. He wrenched an arm free and cranked a kimura, and the tap came soon after.
After the fight, Rockhold told broadcaster Joe Rogan in the cage that he wanted to fight both Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping, via Ariel Helwani: "Rockhold calls out Belfort ... But also says, In the meantime, I got some personal business I got to take care of with Bisping."
It doesn't feel like a platitude when Rockhold talks about being the best. He has the talent, brains and, shall we say, photogeneity. What other UFC star takes photo shoots on the beach?
But first things first. He'll have to avenge that brutal head-kick knockout he suffered to Belfort in his UFC debut. Rockhold knows this, of course, hence the call-out. Something tells me he'll have his chance.
For a minute there, it was working.
Tim Elliott, in all his wacky and hard-to-handle glory, was beating Joseph Benavidez—and kind of handily, I might add. Benavidez wasn't able to land any substantial strikes, even as Elliott fearlessly dove in for takedowns. He was consistently getting the better of the scrambles, too, locking Benavidez in a crucifix at one point. And it seemed Elliott was on his way to an apparent first-round advantage.
But here comes the "but." When Benavidez escaped the crucifix, he also applied one of those classic Team Alpha Male guillotines. Awkward to the very end, Elliott, arms trapped in the hold, tapped out vigorously with his feet.
It was a huge rebound win for Benavidez and another valiant effort in defeat for Elliott, who will, one would assume, get another shot in the UFC Octagon.
Winner: The Early Birds
Baltimore is an MMA town. Even before the evening began, the arena was filling up in earnest, and there was serious lightning in the air.
And I say kudos to those early arrivals, because they witnessed two of the best knockouts of the year thus far. I'm not kidding, either.
In the opener, The Ultimate Fighter 18 alumnus Chris Beal put a flying knee directly on the jawline of poor Patrick Williams, felling the Arizona State wrestler in his tracks. The end came less than two minutes into the second round (and ended up netting Beal a $50,000 performance bonus).
Not to be outdone, Danny Castillo seemed to almost throw his shoulder out while reaching back for the right hook that collapsed Charlie "The Spaniard" Brenneman in the evening's second contest. That one only lasted 22 ticks into the second frame.
And if you don't think that win meant a lot to Castillo, you have another think coming.
Either way, pretty good incentive to keep track of your appointments.
Full Card Results
Jon Jones def. Glover Teixeira by unanimous decision
Anthony Johnson def. Phil Davis by unanimous decision
Luke Rockhold def. Tim Boetsch by submission (kimura), 2:09, Rd. 1
Jim Miller def. Yancy Medeiros by submission (guillotine choke), 3:18, Rd. 1
Max Holloway def. Andre Fili by submission (guillotine choke), 3:39, Rd. 3
Joseph Benavidez def. Tim Elliott by submission (guillotine choke), 4:08, Rd. 1
Takanori Gomi def. Isaac Vallie-Flagg by unanimous decision
Bethe Correia def. Jessamyn Duke by unanimous decision
Danny Castillo def. Charlie Brenneman by KO, 0:22, Rd. 2
Chris Beal def. Patrick Williams by KO, 1:51, Rd. 2
Scott Harris writes about MMA and other topics for Bleacher Report and other places. If you feel so inclined, follow Scott on Twitter.