The aptly named Baltimore Arena was the venue for UFC 172 on Saturday night. The “most stacked card of 2014” according to Dana White did not disappoint fight fans who enjoyed a night of high octane MMA action featuring submissions galore.
Glover Teixeira took on undisputed champion Jon Jones for his light heavyweight belt in the main event. Jones entered this fight looking to secure his seventh title defence against an opponent who was unbeaten in 20 fights. Jones landed a stinging body kick in the first which was prompted Teixeira to answer with an overhand right. Teixeira then showcased his kickboxing skills landing a one-two combo followed by a body kick. Jones scored a brief takedown and closed the round with a nice spinning back kick followed by a high kick.
“Bones” put on a striking masterclass in the second, mixing it up with jabs, oblique kicks, body kicks and an axe kick or two. Teixeira got inside and briefly let his hands go to land some big shots but Jones was never in any real trouble. Jones hurt his opponent with a head kick followed by a sharp elbow against the fence. Jones had great success working his dirty boxing in the clinch.
Teixeira landed first in the third with a hard body shot but the champ responded with 2 devastating knees followed by a huge uppercut. Despite Teixeira’s best efforts, he was at the mercy of Jones who continued to pepper him with knees, hooks and punishing elbows. Jones opened up a big cut on Teixeira’s face after consistently landing sharp elbows.
Jones Continues To Dominate UFC 172
Jones continued his dominance as the fight headed into championship rounds. He drove Teixeira against the fence and landed flush with a series of elbows. Teixeira looked more demoralised as his responses lacked the force they had behind them in the earlier rounds. Jones punished him with kicks, punches and spinning elbows for the remainder of the round.
Jones scored a takedown early in the final round but Teixeira was able to stand back up. When the clinch separated, both fighters let loose with their striking with Jones doing considerably more damage with his varied striking game. The judges gave the unanimous decision victory giving all 5 rounds to the undisputed champ. Next up is a highly anticipated rematch against Alexander Gustafsson.
More light heavyweight action featured in the night’s co-main event as number four ranked contender Phil Davis faced the UFC’s prodigal son Anthony Johnson. Davis tried to keep his distance and fight from the outside in the opening exchanges but was tagged with a massive uppercut.
After a failed takedown attempt, Davis kept his distance well by jabbing and avoiding the heavy hands of “Rumble” Johnson responded with a series of heavy right hands which caused his opponent to stumble to the mat. Johnson punished Davis on the mat with some heavy right hands but “Mr Wonderful” was able to recover and get back to his feet. Davis ate some bruising leg kicks towards the end of the round and struggled to land anything of note.
The pair exchanged leg kicks at the start of the second while Johnson continued to stuff Davis’ takedown attempts. “Rumble” showcased his stand up prowess throughout the round landing strong hooks and destructive kicks. Davis had no answer for his opponent’s superior striking bar trying to take the fight to the mat with no success.
Great Head Movement
Johnson landed a brutal body shot before stuffing yet another takedown attempt at the beginning of the final round. Davis engaged in a clinch at the fence which allowed both fighters to work their dirty boxing skills before they separated. Johnson showed great head movement to avoid his opponent’s strikes and simply landed more often and with more venom for the entirety of the fight. All three judges scored the fight 30-27 in favour of Johnson. He sent out a message to the 205 lb division with this victory.
Next on the main card was a middleweight clash between former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold and Tim Boetsch. “The Barbarian” started the fight by closing down his opponent and shot for a takedown in the opening moments of the first round. Rockhold scrambled well on the mat and managed to get in a dominant position and lock in an inverted triangle. After some good work on the ground, Rockhold tried to isolate his opponent’s arm and eventually forced a tap just 2 minutes into the bout.
Jim Miller squared off against Yancy Medeiros in the lightweight division. After a somewhat tentative start, Miller began to close off his opponent, negating his considerable reach advantage and score from the inside. After eating some stiff jabs and front kicks, Miller hurt the Medeiros with a heavy hook, forcing the Hawaiian to clinch at the fence. Miller was able to sink in a guillotine in the clinch and pull guard. Medeiros showed great to hear to try to escape the choke on the mat but was eventually put to sleep at around the mid-way point of the first round.
A Featherweight Contest
A featherweight duel between young guns Max Holloway and Andre Fili kicked off the night’s main card action. Both fighters seemed content to play this fight out on the feet from the start as Fili moved in while Holloway dodged and countered. “Touchy” Fili landed more significant strikes in the first, including a devastating left hook that momentarily hurt his opponent but Holloway stayed standing and returned fire. Fili scored an extremely brief takedown towards the end of the round.
“Blessed” landed a forceful spinning back kick to the liver at the beginning of the second. Holloway then drove his opponent against the fence and began punishing him with nasty knees to the head. Fili, who was taking a lot of damage, took the fight to the mat in the latter stages of the round but was unable to stay busy before the ref stood them back up. Holloway landed another bone-crushing spinning back kick to the solar plexus at the end of the round.
Holloway had continued success working the jab at the beginning of the third before being taken down by Fili. “Blessed” immediately got back to his feet and landed a nice combo. Fili shot for a takedown but Holloway was able to stuff it and sink in a guillotine. The Hawaiian’s grip was tight and he forced a tap from Fili to earn the submission victory with just 81 seconds left in the fight.
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