In the breakneck world of the UFC, a six-week hiatus between events feels like an eternity. But absence makes the heart grow fond, and if you’re anything like us, you’re super freakin’ pumped to watch some fights tonight. It doesn’t matter that the UFC light-heavyweight champion is defending his belt against a middleweight in a PRIDE New Year’s Eve-caliber squash match, or that the flyweight championship co-main event will very likely go to decision, or that Michael Bisping is the biggest asshole east of the Atlantic. Because when you add those guys up — and toss in Brian Stann, featherweight fight-finisher Charles Oliveira, and the return of Matt Hamill — you’ve got one of the most talent-rich UFC main cards of the year. Thanks, Jon.
Handling our liveblog for the UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort pay-per-view broadcast is beloved CagePotato feature writer Jim Genia, who will be stacking round-by-round results after the jump beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and tell us what you’re drinking in the comments section.
UFC 152 preliminary card quick results:
- Vinny Magalhães def. Igor Pokrajac via submission (armbar), 1:14 of round 2
- TJ Grant def. Evan Dunham via unanimous decision (29-28 x 2, 30-27)
- Sean Pierson def. Lance Benoist via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
- Marcus Brimage def. Jimy Hettes via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
- Seth Baczynski def. Simeon Thoresen via KO, 4:10 of round 1
- Mitch Gagnon def. Walel Watson via submission (rear-naked choke), 1:09 of round 1
- Kyle Noke def. Charlie Brenneman via TKO, 0:45 of round 1
Greetings, Potato dudes. It is I, Jim Genia, about to render you some UFC 151 livebloggery. You ready for some MMA jibber-jabba?
First up: Cub Swanson vs. Charles Oliveira
Swanson was more or less a ham-and-egger during his tenure in the WEC, but he’s been looking good in the Octagon of late. Oliveira, meanwhile, failed to make the featherweight cutoff by 0.2 pounds, so it’s okay to call him “Fatty” for this bout.
Round 1: Both men start off be feeling each other out with various kicks and punches, with Oliveira’s reach advantage apparent from the outset. The Brazilian gets a takedown before a minute passes, but Swanson’s guard is solid and in no time the WEC vet is back on his feet. If that brief turnabout instills Swanson with any confidence of his chances on the ground, his power on the feet makes it all irrelevant. The American blasts Oliveira with a left hook body blow, and a few second later he wings an overhand right to the eye socket that drops the Brazilian like a sack of potatoes (tenuous pun intended). That’s all she wrote.
Cub Swanson def. Charles Oliveira via KO (Punch) at 2:40, Round 1.
Next: Matt Hamill vs. Roger Hollett
TUF veteran Hamill – the toughest deaf dude around – returns from retirment to take on the Canadian Hollett, whose claim to fame is almost getting ganked by Bellator’s rigorous fighter contracts. Question: how does Hamill choose his walkout music? Okay, I’m going to hell.
Round 1: Hamill comes out aggressive, chasing his foe down with jabs and low-kicks. It takes nearly a minute for Hollett to lose the deer-caught-in-the-headlights look and fire back with a right hand of his own, but someone stepped into this cage with a boatload of confidence, and it ain’t the Canadian. The chase continues, with Hamill landing about six strikes for every one of Hollett’s. The TUFer gets the takedown with a minute and a half left in the round, and after dumping Hollett onto the canvas, he wrestler-rides him and peppers the turtled fighter nonstop with a barrage of short punches. Hollett makes it back to his feet with ten seconds left and nails the American in the gut with a punch, and then the bell rings.
Round 2: Hollett comes out pretty stiff, but Hamill just stands there, so the UFC rookie throws a few single punches and a spinning back-kick. A minute and a half in, Hamill rushes forward and easily gets the takedown, but nothing really happens while he’s in Hollett’s guard, and the Canadian kicks him away and stands. Hamill looks winded – did his barrage in the first round tire him out? Hollett gains in confidence, and when it becomes apparent that Hamill is less-than-dangerous, Hollett opens up a little more with his punches (and he even throws another spinning back-kick). The pace slows even more, with Hamill looking like he didn’t know this bout was slated for three rounds so he trained only for one. He does get another takedown in the waning seconds of the round, but, blah. The bell rings.
Round 3: Hamill comes out moving forward a little more, and after a minute passes, he shoots for a double-leg and succeeds in getting his foe down near the cage. Hollett rolls to his knees and turtles again, so again the American rides him and feeds him some love-taps. With a little over two minutes left Hollett gets back to his feet, but Hamill shoots for another takedown and we’re left wondering if the Canadian spent too much time training spinning kicks and not enough time wrestling. Not much output by Hamill in terms of ground and pound from top position, but when referee Dan Miragliotta stands them, Hamill effortless gets Hollett down. Time runs out with Hamill huffing and puffing while delivering the kind of punches from above that would instill fear in no man. Regardless, it’s pretty obvious who deserves the decision.
Matt Hamill def. Roger Hollett via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Next: Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann
Bisping, a TUF 3 winner and the UFC’s resident mouthy Brit, is about to do the man-dance with Stann, who’s a strong puncher, a former WEC champ, and is most famous for being a member of the G.I. Joe team.
Round 1: As soon as Bruce Buffer announces that this bout is sponsored by Corn Nuts (“Corn to the core!”), expectations for fireworks are suddenly high. The bout begins with Stann coming forward, Bisping circling out to his opponent’s weak side, and then some huggery against the cage. They seperate about a minute and fifteen seconds in, and for about a minute they stand in front of each other and display some sweet boxing punches and footwork. The Brit tries to mix things up with a takedown attempt – which Stann expertly stuffs – and then to two ding each other with kicks tot he man-berries. After a brief pause they resume the bangfest, and after Bisping fails another takedown attempt, he eats a knuckle sandwich that wobbles him. He survives to the bell.
Round 2: Bisping is clearly the better boxer technically, but Stann’s got the edge in power, so after about thirty seconds have passed in the second he goes for – and succeeds in getting – a takedown. He lands in side-control, yet the dominant position yields no fruit and Stann reverses him. The two scramble and wind up on their knees, and the Brit briefly gains the upper-hand with front head-control before they return to their feet. With thirty seconds left Bisping nails another takedown, dumping the American onto his back, and the round ends with Bisping trying to land some big leather from above.
Round 3: Forty seconds into the third round sees Bisping getting another takedown, but Stann pops back up and feeds the Brit a right hand. The TUF winner can clearly win on points if he can maintain the pressure with his takedowns and his jab, but Stann’s got the power to turn his thick Cockney accent into something Professor Higgins would be proud of, so anything can still happen. Does the American manage to find the KO? No. Thanks to a three more takedown attempts, two of which are successful, Bisping is able to avoid slumber, and when time runs out it’s no stretch to imagine the Brit did enough to take it.
Michael Bisping def. Brian Stann via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Postfight, Bisping gives props to his opponent, stating that Stann is a “tough son of gun”. Joe Rogan strokes him re: his cardio, and Bisping says that he’s hungry. “This is mah time.” Then he asks Rogan if he “laks dags”, and tries to sell him a Perriwinkle blue trailer. Or something.
Next: Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson
It’s time for the first-ever UFC flyweight championship bout, with Benavidez and Johnson vying for a belt that probably weighs more than they do. Seriously, Frank Mir has eaten more than their combined poundage in one sitting, so ascribe value to this fight accordingly.
Round 1: Benavidez takes the center of the Octagon and Johnson flits about like a yellowjacket, wary of the Team Alpha Male reps power while he tries to give him his sting. Johnson succeeds in tagging him with a left, and after some brief (but furious) wrestling clinchwork, they continue to zoom about. After Johnson hits him a right hand, Benavidez turns up the heat with his wrestling – clearly trying to slow his foe down. With about three seconds left in the round, Benavidez rolls for an ill-advised kneebar, and Johnson pegs him with one hammerfist before the bell rings.
Round 2: Johnson continues to be an elusive ball of movement, and when Benavidez manages to tie him up in the opening seconds of the second round, Johnson is able to stifle every attack. When they reset, Benavidez does score here and there with the occasional kick and punch, divining where his opponent will be with probably skill mixed with magic. At the three-and-a-half minute mark Benavidez flubs a takedown, Johnson shucks him off and gets behind him briefly, and Benavidez manages to score in the final seconds.
Round 3: Benavidez keeps up the pressure and tries to land something heavy, and “Mighty Mouse” doesn’t let up in zooming in and out. A right hand by Johnson manages to open a small cut near Benavidez’s eye, and at the three-minute mark Benavidez gets Johnson down for all of .4 seconds before they’re back on the feet. Johnson nails him with another solid punch before the round ends – which probably earns him the round.
Round 4: Benavidez blasts Johnson with a right hand 45 seconds into the fourth, and he pounces on the fallen fighter and sinks a tight guillotine from mount. Johnson survives, though, and swivels into a heelhook attempt. Benavidez defends and gets back on top, but Johnson escapes back to his feet and winds up on top briefly when Benavidez whiffs a throw. A seconds later they’re back on their feet, and Johnson flips the script and gets a takedown of his own, then another. The round ends with Johnson in side-control.
Round 5: The final round, and I’d say it’s nigh-impossible to know for sure who’s ahead on points. Forty seconds in and Johnson gets a double-leg takedown, and when Benavidez gets back up to his feet, Johnson dumps him down again. But again they stand, and we’re back to the lightning-like delivery of strikes. Johnson gets another takedown about a minute later – his ability to change levels making all the difference in the world. Benavidez keeps looking for that stunning punch or kick, and he even goes for a fruitless takedown attempt of his own, and the clock runs down to zero with the crowd booing and Benavidez unable to hit Johnson with anything with meaning. So who is the UFC’s inaugural 125-pound king?
Demetrious Johnson def. Joseph Benavidez via Split Decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)
Postfight, and Rogan asks him if winning is everything he expected. Johnson says Benavidez is a great opponent, that “it means the world”, and that he did his job.
Next, the main event: Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort
UFC light-heavyweight demigod Jones earned his belt by destroying the best in the division. Belfort earned this shot at the belt because Dan Henderson is old and damn his old knee and UFC 151 being cancelled. Boo!
Round 1: Jones comes out in his usual crouch and Belfort responds by trying to kick him in the head (!). The champ stands, plants a side-kick on Belfort’s knee, and almost effortlessly takes the Brazilian down. However, before Jones can mount any offense, Belfort swings into an armbar from the guard, and sweet Jesus does he almost get it. “Bones” defends, and after some work, manages to slip out of it. From within Belfort’s guard, Jones delivers punishment, rendering him bloody while fending off two more armbar attempts. The round clearly goes to Jones, but damn was that initial armbar close.
Round 2: Belfort starts off the second round winging a high-kick, while Jones seems to find joy by keeping the Brazilian on the end of his low side-kick. The length of the champ’s limbs are most certainly presenting the challenger with a riddle, and though Belfort is able to fire off a couple more high-kicks and throw some punches to the body, the riddle remains unsolved. With about a minute and a half left in the frame, Belfort pulls guard, but aside from a triangle choke attempt with only a few scant seconds left on the clock, neither man really hurts the other.
Round 3: Jones keeps up the long-distance onslaught with his kicks, and a minute into the round he lands one to the body that crumples the Brazilian. Jones delivers an axe-kick to the body, but again, from within Belfort’s guard, he does nothing and they end up back on their feet. With two minutes left, Belfort pulls guard, yet all Jones can seem to do is pass to half-guard and grind him half-heartedly.
Round 4: Belfort has about five seconds of pep in him, and he uses it to throw a high-kick and a few flashes of leather. But he pulls guard and Jones doesn’t hesitate to slide into side-control, where he deftly applies the keylock that earns him the tap out. Jones defends his belt.
Jon Jones def. Vitor Belfort via Submission (Keylock) at :54, Round 4
Postfight, and Jones says “he got that armbar in every way, shape and form… But I worked too hard to give up.” He goes on to say he was going to let it break. “It was numb.” How does the win feel with all the adversity? “It feels great… I really feel like a stronger young man talking to you today.”
Rogan gives kudos to Belfort, too. Says Belfort, the arm “was cracking and popping.” The Brazilian alludes to a training injury that factored in to him dropping from that kick to the body. Then Jones and Belfort join in and praise God together, and toss Watchtowers into the audience.
That’s it for me, amigos. Adios, and don’t forget to tip your waiter.