Well, it happened: 24-year-old UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones faced adversity – and he again showed that he’s championship-caliber by adjusting and overcoming to take home the win.
Former champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida came to the Air Canada Centre tonight intent on taking Jon Jones’ belt and after the first round, it looked like he might just be able to do it. The Brazilian karateka worked the distance masterfully against Jones, getting inside his massive reach to land hard punches and kicks before backing away to avoid the counters. The biggest shock of the fight came when Machida sprung after Jones and clipped him with a solid punch, visibly affecting the champ and causing him to stumble backward. Throughout the first frame, Machida made Jones miss and made him pay, sending him to his stool concerned possibly for the first time in his career.
And then Jon Jones showed why he’s the champion: he collected himself, made what adjustments he needed to and took back the fight.
The momentum shift began when Jones hit a double leg on Machida and cracked him with an elbow that immediately opened a deep gash on his forehead. Leaking crimson, Machida fought on, but it was clear that the wind had left his sails. He came at Jones with a vicious left hand counter shot, but Jones almost effortlessly blocked it and caught him with his own short left hand response shot, dropping him to the mat. Jones presses Machida into the fence while he worked a front headlock and then locked on a nasty guillotine choke, cranking it until Machida was limp as a corpse.
Jon Jones again defeated a savvy veteran to remain UFC light heavyweight champion, but this time around he finally answered the critics who wondered about his fortitude. Jonny Bones can take a shot and come back from it. So the question now must be: what can’t he do?