MANILA, Philippines – Jon "Bones" Jones survived a first round scare to successfully defend his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight title against Brazilian legend Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC 152 Saturday in Toronto, Canada (Sunday in Manila).
|Vitor Belfort congratulates Jon "Bones" Jones after their UFC light heavyweight championship bout. Jones submitted Belfort in the fourth round to retain the title in the main event of UFC 152 in Toronto, Canada.
Jones submitted Belfort in the fourth round to succesfully defend his championship for the fourth time, but not before nearly getting submitted himself.
Belfort locked an armbar on Jones early in the first round and looked like he was close to pulling off an upset, but the champion managed to escape and dominated the rest of the opener.
"I've never had my arm popped like that," Jones admitted. "I was waiting for it to break. I was not gonna tap out."
After the near-submission, Jones quickly asserted control and bloodied up Belfort with several elbows to the face. He unveiled another facet of his game in the second and third rounds, using front leg kicks to the body and thighs of Belfort.
In the third round, Jones sent Belfort to the canvas with a well-placed kick to the stomach and went for the kill with elbows to the face. Belfort managed to survive the round, but not before taking more punishment.
"I watched the Lyoto Machida fight and saw that it was a successful technique, so I went back to it," Jones said of his leg kicks.
Jones ended the fight in the fourth round, when he nearly broke Belfort's arm with an Americana submission. The official time of submission was 54 seconds into the fourth round.
Despite another dominant performance, Jones may have suffered an injury to his arm and acknowledged that he still needed to improve.
"I've never felt (my arm) like that before, it felt numb. I gotta see what’s wrong with it," Jones said, adding that he still have to work on dealing with southpaws like Belfort inside the Octagon.
Belfort, for his part, was gracious in defeat.
"I didn't have so much time to prepare, and he caught me with a kick to the ribs...He was long, he moves very well. That's why he's the champion," he said.
"I really thought I would win tonight, but as a champion I respect him. Tonight, he fought better," Belfort added.
In the co-main event, Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson made history by outpointing Joseph Benavidez to become the first ever UFC flyweight champion.
Johnson showed off his remarkable speed in evading the hard-hitting Benavidez in the first three rounds, while landing several pinpoint strikes.
But "Mighty Mouse" found himself in trouble in the fourth round, when Benavidez finally caught him with a hard strike that sent him to the canvas. Benavidez tried to go for the kill when he applied a guillotine choke, but Johnson managed to escape and survive the rest of the round.
Johnson sealed the victory in the final round when he took down Benavidez three times.
"I though that on my stand-up, I got him there, in the takedowns I took him down more and I controlled him on his back. I did my job, and that was the fight," he said.
Johnson won a split decision with scores of 48-47, 47-48, and 49-46.
Meanwhile, Cub Swanson knocked out Charles Oliveira in the very first round of their undercard match. After a slow start, Swanson clipped Oliveira in the forehead that sent the latter to the canvas.
Swanson won a Knockout the Night bonus worth $65,000, while Jones was awarded the same amount for getting the Submission of the Night.