Jon Jones vs Ovince St. Preux (Interim Light Heavyweight Title)* Demetrious Johnson (c) vs Henry Cejudo (Flyweight Title) Edson Barboza vs Anthony Pettis (Lightweight Bout) Rafael Natal vs Robert Whittaker (Middleweight Bout) Andre Filli vs Yair Rodriquez (Featherwegith Bout)
Preliminary Card (Live on Fox Sports 1 @ 8PM EST)
Chris Kelades vs Sergio Pettis (Flyweight Bout) Danny Roberts vs Dominique Steele (Welterweight Bout) Carla Esparza vs Juliana Lima (Women's Strawweight Bout) Glainco Franca vs James Vick (Lightweight Bout)
- Yair Rodriquez is a hell of a prospect at 145 lbs. He is a bit wild at times and he needs to be a little more calculated, but he honestly reminds me of bit of Jon Jones when he first broke into the UFC in that sense. At 23 though he definitely has a hell of a future, I just hope they don't try and rush his growth too much like they do to a lot of their prospects.
-Robert Whittaker continues to look great at 185 lbs and has quietly been sneaking his way into the top 5 of the middleweight division. I didn't see the fight as being as close as Rogan did going into the third round last night and apparently neither did the judges. Props to Natal for hanging in there too, he took some huge shots.
-Huge statement win for Edson Barboza. I think most people were already convinced that Barboza had the most vicious kicks in MMA but last night cemented it. I've never seen a bruise on someone's side where you could very clearly make out all the toes from the foot that caused it. Between that and how bad Barboza ate up Pettis' leg, I'm surprised he was able to finish the fight. Hard to say what is next for Pettis, the wheels have completely fallen off of the "Showtime" bandwagon. He goes from being the champ of the 155 lbs. division and ranked in the Pound for Pound rankings to riding a three fight losing streak. What's worse is he got the exact type of fighter he wanted (someone who will stand with him the whole fight) and he still got outclassed in every round. Pettis might want to consider dropping to 145 lbs, he contemplated the move before and it's becoming more and more apparent that he simply can't hang with the top guys at lightweight anymore.
-Demetrious Johnson may very well be one of the most complete fighters in MMA. His speed is unmatched and he completely just dominates his opponents from beginning to end. Can't think of a better case of a guy becoming so much better with each fight. I admittedly was worried about Cejudo and his wrestling pedigree going into this fight but Johnson just picked him apart. The second that he shot up from Cejudo's takedown with such authority I felt the wind quickly leaving the sails of Cejudo. Those knees then just destroyed, and try as he may he couldn't muster a poker face any longer as he stumbled away to his corner. Really hope people start paying more attention to Johnson, he deserves better buyrates than he gets for his events. He has 8 consecutive title defenses right now with five of those coming via finish. The record is 10 held by Anderson Silva, with GSP having 9 before he "retired" as champion, and Jon Jones had 8 before being stripped. Very possible that Johnson ties or breaks the record next year.
-Jon Jones may not have had a marquee performance but he hardly had a bad one either. He did seem a little hesitant at times but he also had a lot to lose. First off a rematch with DC is a big money fight and if health permits it is heavily suggested that those two will now headline UFC 200 which will be an even bigger fight. A loss to OSP or even an injury in victory takes that off the table. OSP also didn't engage very much which allowed for Jones to not have to shift gears. Speaking of OSP, I don't feel that last night helped his stock too much. Don't get me wrong, him hanging in there for three more rounds after breaking his arm (apparently he broke his arm in the second round from a Jones' kick) shows he is tough as hell. I just feel like OSP simply survived rather than doing anything to raise his own profile.