Jon “Bones” Jones put the finishing touches on one of the most impressive calendar years in UFC history Saturday night in Toronto, retaining his light-heavyweight title with a win over Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida at UFC 140.
Jones (15-1), who already dominated division stalwarts Ryan Bader, Mauricio Rua and Quinton Jackson in 2011, made the Brazilian karate expert his latest victim by stopping him with a standing guillotine choke at 4:26 of the second round in Air Canada Centre.
Machida (17-3) started strong, winning the first round with a combination on counter attacks from angles that wobbled the champion and left him on the defensive.
Jones came out much crisper in the second, finding his range with a strong right hand that set up a takedown against the cage. The champion unleashed his trademark elbow strikes, opening a massive cut on Machida’s forehead that brought a medical stoppage. The doctor cleared Machida to continue, but the Brazilian never got back in the fight.
After an exchange of punches Jones landed a knee and pushed the challenger against the cage before locking in the guillotine. Macheda went limp and the champion dropped him and walked away.
“The first round was very, very confusing for me,” Jones said. “In the second round, once I cut him with the elbow in the top position, my confidence really started to skyrocket.”
Consider the boss impressed.
“Jon Jones is the real deal man,” UFC president Dana White said after the fight. “He’s had an incredible year fighting the best in the world. ...I don't see anybody beating this guy any time soon.”
Jones is the first light-heavyweight champion since Chuck Liddell to make consecutive successful title defenses. He said he’s taking a break after a busy 2011 and hopes to stay out of the octagon for at least four months.
“Fighting three times in 2012 would be nice,” Jones said. “It’s really up to the UFC. One of my goals is to be a company guy. If they ask me to do something, I won’t put up much of a fight.”
Canadian UFC featherweight Mark “The Machine” Hominick had a rough return to the octagon, losing in just seven seconds to “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung.
In his first fight since the death of his trainer, mentor and best friend Shawn Tompkins, the Thamesford, Ont., native missed the first punch he threw then was stunned by a quick straight right that sent him tumbling to the canvass. He never recovered as his Korean opponent pounced, striking him with blows until the referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the fight.
“It was over so fast that it took me a few seconds to realize what just happened,” Jung said. “When I hit him I knew immediately it was over. I stood over him and threw more punches on the ground.”
White immediately tweeted that the Jung had tied the record for fastest knockout in UFC history.
“I came into a little too wild,” Hominick (20-10) said in the octagon after the loss. “I’m definitely disappointed.”
The partisan crowd roared as Hominick made his way to the octagon. With fellow Team Thompkins members Sam Stout and Chris Horodecki joined by Tompkins’s brother Fred in his corner, Hominick admitted the moment got to him.
“I let my emotions get the best of me and didn't follow my game plan,” he said. “I fought out of character. I don't think anybody's ever seen me come out with a wild left hook leading the fight. I fought not as composed as I normally am. I just came out too aggressive and paid the consequences.”
Hominick’s last fight was a memorable five-round loss to featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 129 in Rogers Centre last April. He had hoped a win Saturday night would vault him back into the division title picture.
In other bouts on the pay-per-view portion of the card, Brazilian Rogerio Nogueira steamrolled UFC veteran Tito Ortiz, scoring a TKO in the first round of their light-heavyweight fight.
“I feel so great. It’s like a dream come true,” Rogerio (20-5) said. “Tito Ortiz is a legend of this sport, so I’m very, very happy. I wanted this win badly. I knew he was going to come out aggressive because in his last two fights he came out that way. Once we took it to the ground I got on top and gave it my all.”
For Ortiz (17-10-1) it was a second consecutive loss in the octagon. The 15-year pro hopes to have one more fight before retiring.
“I'm going to take some time off and enjoy the holidays with my family,” Ortiz said. “I have one more fight in my contract. I'm going to give the fans one more fight that is my best.”
Frank Mir (16-5) submitted Nogueira’s brother Minotauro in the first round of a heavyweight bout, appearing to break the Brazilian’s arm with a kimura from top position.
"I had a strong inclination he was not going to tap," Mir said after the bout. "I took a deep breath ... you guys saw what happened."
Minotauro remained down in the ring for several moments after the bout, eventually making his way to the back with his arm in an air cast.
Toronto welterweight Claude Patrick lost a split decision in his hometown to Australian Brian Ebers.
In earlier action involving Canadians, Montreal lightweight John Makdessi saw his undefeated run in the UFC come to a crashing halt when he was completely dominated by Dennis Hallman, tapping out to a choke at 2:58 of Round 1. Winnipeg light heavyweight Krzysztof Soszynski fell just 35 seconds into the first round to Igor Pokrajac, unable to continue after absorbing a number of huge punches from the Croatian.
Montreal bantamweight Yves “Tiger” Jabouin beat Walel “The Gazelle” Watson by split decision in a highly entertaining tilt that saw Jabouin twice wiggle his way out of two deep choke holds to eke out the win. Judges scored the fight 29-28 Watson, 29-28 Jabouin, 30-27 Jabouin. New York native John Cholish beat Edmonton’s Mitch Clarke with a second round TKO in a battle of lightweight fighters making their UFC debuts. Woodbridge Ont., native Mark Bocek defeated Nik Lentz by unanimous decision in another lightweight bout.
White announced after the card that UFC 140 drew 18,303 fans for a $3.9-million gate. Jones and Machida won fight of the night honours, while Mir was awarded submission of the night and Jung took knockout of the night. Each bonus was worth $75,000.