UFC 140: Let the bodies hit the floor

It was already perhaps the most violent night in UFC history. Then came the main event at UFC 140 yesterday in Toronto; the first round, excitingly, looked like a Lyoto Machida fight. The challenger kept his distance and used his uncanny sense of timing to tag champion Jon Jones several times and do something no man has ever done in the cage before: make Jones look human. Though the judges were being their typical inscrutable selves (two out of three gave the opening round to Jones despite Machida landing more significant blows and dictating the fight), Machida snatched a round from Jones’ Mr. Fantastic limbs.

But that would be the Dragon’s fill for the night. In round two, Jones clipped Machida and took the fight to where he is most frightening: the clinch. Jones then brought Machida to the ground and fired off an adamantium-laced elbow that opened a gash on the Brazilian’s forehead and changed the course of the bout. Round two was a different story. A Jon Jones fight.

Near the end of the frame, Jones beat Machida to the punch yet again, dropping his opponent who then attempted to grab a leg. Jones easily wrapped his limbs around Machida’s neck and forced him against the cage where he executed a standing guillotine supported by the fence, his height, and a vicious torque. Machida was out and as he crumpled to the floor Jones walked away from him like an action star sauntering away from an exploding building. Who can stop this force of nature?

Jones’ uncanny performance capped off an amazing year in which he already felled Ryan Bader, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson in succession. It also capped off a night already full of sudden turns and visceral finishes.

In the co-main event, Frank Mir snapped Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s arm after a punch from the Pride legend that screwed up Mir’s senses. Nog, sensing victory, jumped on Mir’s neck to attempt a submission finish, but an amazing scramble ensued that allowed Mir to add to his trophy collection of broken limbs.

Nog’s twin brother, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, had better fortune when he dropped Tito Ortiz with a penetrating knee to the body and then proceeded to batter that same spot with punches and elbows from the guard, leaving the Huntington Beach Bad Boy heartbroken and wincing in pain.

Earlier in the night, hometown hero Mark Hominick lunged with a looping hook at Chang Sung Jung after the opening bell and paid for his gusto when the underdog Korean Zombie evaded and crashed forward with a flurry of punches. The Zombie is now tied for the fastest knockout in UFC history at seven seconds.

The entire night was full of quick, nasty finishes, and proved to be one of the best cards of the year. Aside from a wrongful split-decision win for Brian Ebersole over Mississauga’s Claude Patrick and an even keel bout between Walel Watson and Yves Jabouin that likely could have gone either way, winners were winners at UFC 140. It was a night of dominant victors and losers going out on their shields. “I will die before I tap,” Machida once said, an amazing quote in retrospect. It was a night of warriorship.

Full results:

Jon Jones def. Lyoto Machida via submission (standing guillotine), round 2
Frank Mir def. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira via submission (kimura), round 1
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Tito Ortiz via TKO (strikes), round 1
Brian Ebersole def. Claude Patrick via split decision
Chan Sung Jung def. Mark Hominick via TKO (strikes), round 1
Igor Pokrajac def. Krzysztof Soszynski via KO (punches), round1
Constantinos Philippou def. Jared Hamman via TKO (strikes), round 1
Dennis Hallman def. John Makdessi via submission (rear-naked choke), round 1
Yves Jabouin def. Walel Watson via split decision
Mark Bocek def. Nik Lentz via unanimous decision
Jake Hecht def. Rich Attonito via TKO (strikes), round 2
John Cholish def. Mitch Clarke via TKO (strikes), round 2

Photo: SB NATION
Photo: SB NATION