September 22, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Jon Jones applying the Americana shoulder lock on Vitor Belfort to defend light heavyweight championship during UFC 152 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
T.P. Grant looks at this weekend's events in Mixed Martial Arts: A champion gets his arm broken but still manages to win and a new weight class crowns its first king.
The main events of UFC 152 delivered all the action and drama that fans come to expect from high-level Mixed Martial Arts. Jon Jones retained his UFC Light Heavyweight, but not without a serious scare from former champion and sport pioneer VItor Belfort, who caught Jones in a full on armbar. Jones' right elbow clearly hyper-extended at one point, but he refused to tap out. In the end it was Jones who submitted Belfort, catching the Brazilian in a shoulder lock.
The status of the champion's arm is unknown but there was clear damage done to the elbow and a medical layoff is very likely for Jones. While Vitor failed to defeat Jones, he still had the most impressive showing of anyone who has fought him to this point in his career. While not living in Florida, Vitor did spend the months leading up to the fight training with the Sunshine State-based fight team known as the Blackzilians, named from an internal joke at the camp that all their fighters there are either Black or Brazilian. Home to Jon Jones' former friend and now rival Rashad Evans, it is very likely that Evans was able to point out key weaknesses in the champion's skills to Vitor as Evans spent a great of time training with Jones as he was coming up.
The UFC also crowned its first Flyweight champion as Demetrious "Might Mouse" Johnson was able to use his amazing speed, wrestling and ever-improving boxing to defeat Joseph Benavidez in a five-round decision. This was the conclusion of a four-man tournament to crown the first champion, going into which Benavidez was considered to be the favorite. Training out of the California-based Team Alpha Male, Benavidez's loss is yet another title fight defeat in the team's growing reputation for close but no cigar performances.
Other notable fights included Michael Bisping getting another quality win at Middleweight as he was able to out-maneuver former marine Brian Stann to a one-sided decision, Vinny Magalhaes' triumphant return to the UFC with a slick armbar win and T.J. Grant putting the Lightweight division on notice as he put a beating on Evan Dunham.
The UFC also had two of its brighter prospects suffer serious setbacks last night as Cub Swanson knocked out promising young Brazilian fighter Charles Oliveira, and Florida's own Marcus Brimage, one of the largest underdogs on the card, defeated Jimy Hettes.
In other MMA news for the weekend, Florida native and Blackzilian fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson notched his third win outside of the UFC on Friday night. Cut from the UFC for struggles making weight, Johnson is trying to redeem himself in the eyes of the UFC on the regional circuit and his head kick knock out Jake Rosholt and successful weight cut both bode well.