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Jones wins in return, Johnson KOs Cejudo

Jon Jones

Maybe it for the best that Daniel Cormier had to pull out of his fight against Jon Jones. ‘Bones’ was clearly rusty in his return after over a year out of the octagon. We also got to see a very interesting fight against Ovince Saint Preux that we probably otherwise never would have gotten to see and in the end we may get the big rematch as the headliner to UFC 200 without their being any excuses for Jones should the result not go his way.

Jones took a while to get going against Saint Preux. He was pretty tentative and early one seemed to have trouble figuring out Saint Preux’ awkward striking style and southpaw stance. But at the fight went on Jones picked things up, Saint Preux started to wear down and the true champion of the light heavyweight division picked up his 13th-straight win and remained unbeaten.

His night was highlighted by some devastating takedowns where he picked the former Tennessee Volunteers linebacker up off the ground and bodyslammed him to the mat. His slam in the fifth round was one of the hardest slams we’ve ever witnessed and clearly hurt Saint Preux’ left arm. After that slam, Saint Preux barely did anything with it and at times just let it hang.

Jones was able to land some huge shots on St. Preux when he was on the mat, and did wear down the up-and-coming contender who was fighting in the biggest fight on the biggest stage of his career. Saint Preux showed some tremendous ability against arguably the best in the world and taking him the distance on such short notice was practically a victory in itself. Saint Preux showed some massive power and landed some really hooks that forced Jones to shake off the hard shots. But he was not active enough in the fight and failed to build on any of them.

Jones out-landed Saint Preux 131 to 58 and beat him on takedowns 2-0. Saint Preux was impressive and clearly entered the title picture, but he still needs his fight game to meet up with his athleticism more before he become a real contender.

After the fight Dana White wrapped the interim light heavyweight title around Jones’ waste. The former undisputed champion was quick to take the belt off and give it back. He wanted nothing to do with that fake title, he made it clear he wants his real title that he never lost back, but did admit that he had some rust, and maybe he needed a fight before he took on Cormier again, which at this point seems like a sure thing to be the main event of UFC 200.

Demetrious Johnson eases past Cejudo, makes claim for best ever

Demetrious Johnson

Just when you thought the UFC finally found a legitimate challenger for Demetrious Johnson, ‘Mighty Mouse’ showed everybody once again why he might be the best fighter ever.

Johnson was taken down by Cejudo very early in the first and only round of the fight, but kicked for Olympic gold medal winner off of him, got up and proceeded to wreck his challenger. Johnson pushed Cejudo against the cage and never allowed Cejudo to get the ground so he could take advantage of his great wrestling.

Johnson threw all sorts of weird strikes. He was even popping Cejudo with his shoulder. But what did Cejudo in was a heavy right elbow up against the cage. That hurt the challenger. He staggered Cejudo with that shot and Cejudo tried to get away as fast as possible. The problem was all he did was run into another hand by Johnson, went down to the mat and Johnson ended it perched on top while Cejudo was helpless.

Going into the fight, Cejudo seemed like the best challenge to beat Johnson. He is an elite wrestler with an Olympic gold medal on his resume. He is a very good kick boxer and tremendous athlete. But Johnson never allowed Cejudo to get his gameplan. Johnson fought a perfect fight by crowding Cejudo up against the cage to prevent him from landing hard strikes and showed his ability to alter strategy. It’s really watching a masterpiece when Johnson fights. He’s arguably the most complete fighter in history.

The fight was stopped at 2:10 in the first round for Johnson’s 11th-straight victory.

Barboza out-duels Pettis for decision

Edson Barboza

While it did not featured the highly explosive and beautiful strikes we had figured it would produce, Anthony Pettis vs. Edson Barboza’s fight was a standup chess match. And Barboza won it.

The former UFC champion lost his third-straight fight with the loss to Barboza. He once again was not able to showcase his flashy strikes by creating distance against an opponent who likes to brawl.

Knowing that Pettis can do bad things with his kicks, Barboza focused on taking Pettis’ legs out of the fight. The entire time he threw leg kick after leg kick after leg kick. But the end of the fight, Pettis’ inner thigh looked like he was beaten with a baseball bat. His leg was a dark purple and swollen.

Early in the fight Pettis was moving better than he did against Rafael dos Anjos and Eddie Alvarez, but after the constant assault on his leg he was standing still much more and Barboza was able to catch him with more accuracy as the fight went on.

Barboza, who had always been a tough challenger but ever took the next step and beat a true title contender, out-landed Pettis 77-35 in the fight.

Whittaker continues rise with decision over Natal

Robert Whittaker

Robert Whittaker is quickly rising up the rankings with some pretty big wins. He out-dueled Rafael Natal for a unanimous decision victory to earn his fifth-straight victory that will surely get him in the title picture.

The fight was close than the scorecard showed as the judges gave Whittaker the 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 decision, but he was the one who controlled the action and landed the bigger shots at the bigger moments.

Whittaker never wanted the fight to go to the ground, and impressively stuffed all seven of Natal’s takedown attempts. He then out-struck him 88-63.

In the first round, Whittaker hurt Natal with a hard right that put Natal on the mat. Natal was able to get up, but it became clear that Natal was not going to out-strike his opponent for a victory.

In the second round Whittaker continued to do damage, but Natal started to focus on leg kicks to keep the rising Australian away. The tactic was working to an extend as Whittaker’s leg was bright red and bruised, but he didn’t stay away. He took the punishment and kept moving forward. Whittaker hurt his right hand on Natal’s head in the third round, but that did not stop him from focusing on kicks and his left hook

Rodriguez ends Fili with flying knee

Head kick RodriguezAt the 2:15 mark of the second round, Yair Rodriguez nailed a perfectly-placed jumping knee to Andre Fili’s face to end his night. Fili’s crashed to the mat, his head bounced off the canvas and it was done.

Rodriguez was showing off his striking in the first round and that set Fili up to be taken down in both rounds. He was able to get up in the first, but a hard leg kick quickly sent Fili back down to the mat. It was clear then that Rodriguez was in control.

In the second round Rodriguez took Fili down again. Fili was just in survival mode hoping for something, but his night was ended with with a devastating flying knee to the face.

Without surprise, Rodriguez won a $50,000 bonus for his shin that landed flush on Fili’s chin.

Pettis shows off wrestling ability in win over Kelades

Sergio Pettis

Sergio Pettis continues to blossom in front of our eyes. Nobody should be surprised that Pettis out-performed Chris Kelades striking while they were on their feet, but seeing him out-wrestle his opponent was definitely sign of how much better the 22-year-old is getting every time he fights.

Pettis targeted Kelades’ head with his strikes, landing 58 of his 72 landed strikes on Kelades’ face. He was moving well, taking great angles when throwing his punches and created distance to make it easier for him to be creative in his strikes.

Kelades really made an effort to close the distance and take Pettis down, and when he did, Pettis was able to showcase his wrestling ability that we never really saw before.

In the second and third round, Pettis went for his own takedowns and that caught Kelades by surprise. He didn’t really know what to do and just seemed like he was in survival mode most of the fight after that. Pettis just kept the pressure on to secure his second-straight UFC win.

Esparza dominates Lima for decision

Carla Esparza

Carla Esparza fought like she wanted to get back in the title picture. Juliana Lima fought like she was in over her head against a former world champion.

Esparza out-landed Lima 142 strikes to 31, took her down five times (and was no taken down at all) and controlled pretty much the entire time. Esparza was able to take Lima down and tee off on her while in the dominant position on the ground. Lima never was able to get into the fight. All three judges had Esparza sweeping the fight on their scorecard.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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