Jim Miller vs. Pat Healy
Both of these guys look like they're forged from recycled spitoons and they fought like some property rights were on the line. Miller beat his opponent soundly for most of the first but Healy repeatedly took down his opponent throughout the fight and asserted dominance. Healy finally managed to submit a bloodied Miller late in the third. This fight largely cemented Jim Miller's role as a gatekeeper in the lightweight division. Barring a move up or down, Miller has dropped to 2-3 in his past two years of fights. Though he still poses a threat in the division, it becomes less likely to ever see him face Bendo or Diaz again. Healy, on the other hand, now has a top ten competitor to his name and another win added to his 7 in a row streak. He will probably creep his way into the top ten rankings of many publications following his win, but he needs to face another top ten guy before being considered a viable threat here at Rough Copy.
Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes
What happens when you pit a top tier wrestler in the light heavyweight division against a BJJ beast who can make the cinnamon challenge tap out? 15 minutes of nervous jabbing. Davis was fleet of foot enough to keep on the outside of Magalhaes for almost the entirety of the fight. He occasionally took Magalhaes off of his feet to score points but wanted no part in actually engaging there. The only success Magalhaes had was when he employed kicks. Davis really had no answer for those, and I expect the next standup fighter to face him to work his legs hard. He showed improvement in one aspect of his game, but showed weakness in another. His jabs were consistent and found their home, but he was unable to string anything significant together in the form of combos. Magalhaes on the other hand, is a disaster on his feet. He's going to need FEMA training before he's allowed to throw another punch. Davis was largely in and out, in and out, and Magalhaes offered nothing in the way of head movement, angles, or counterstrikes.
Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo
Roy Nelson earned one of the largest pops of the night after his two minute knockout of Cheick Kongo. This was one of many fights at UFC 159 to suffer from poor officiating as two obviously working opponents were separated from a clinch at one point. Shortly after Nelson capitalized on a moment's worth of dropped hands and sprung forward swinging his enormous bear claw at Kongo, dropping the Frenchman. Kongo dropped and ate another fist that ended the fight. Roy Nelson finished the rest of his bear claw and demanded a title shot. Will he get it? Maybe. Antonio Silva is lined up next. If Mark Hunt defeats JDS, Big Country could conceivably get a shot in the ensuing shake up. There are still a few notable opponents waiting ahead of him though.
Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher
This fight was absolute shit from opening bell to technical decision. It was less a competition between two men and more a spectacle involving two fragile egos duking it out in an Applebee's parking lot. Belcher was just awful. Sometimes you see fighters realize they have no hope of matching their opponent's frenetic pace. This frustrates them to no end, and usually the result is to drop hands and get punched a lot just to prove that while the other guy may be beating your ass, you're still going to be able to go home and shave for church tomorrow morning. This strategy has won exactly 0 fights. He was fatigued and slowing nearing the end of round one while Bisping was able to maintain a steady pace throughout the three rounds. That's the only compliment I have for Bisping, because despite having a clear boxing advantage, he rarely chose to land more than single shots. He didn't fight to win. He fought to embarass his opponent, and his opponent was doing the same. Bisping vs. Belcher was a fight about two less than capable contenders desperately fighting for relevance. One fighter was fighting to remain relevant and the other was fighting to become that. If either were particularly skilled or interesting, he would have finished his opponent at any number of intervals. Bisping circled right as he always does and Belcher threw some pretty fierce smirks. Bisping never appeared to break out of sparring mode. The fight was finally stopped in the third when Bisping poked Belcher's damaged eye. This was the third fight of the card to be stopped because of some weird injury. It's like the curse of 151 stalked this event claiming victim after victim.
Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen
This fight, though short, tells a very entertaining story. Jones claimed before the fight that he wanted to embarrass Sonnen. How he planned to do this had yet to be seen, but few expected Jones to "Chael Sonnen" Chael Sonnen. Defeating your opponent using his signature style against him isn't just defeating, it isn't merely crushing, it's poetic. It's the kind of dramatic flair normally reserved for epic poems from days of old. Just as predicted, Sonnen came straight to the center of the ring, but Jones didn't back down. In fact, he engaged him, and he was able to soundly wrench Sonnen, who had not been taken to the ground more than three times in his career, to the ground on three separate occasions. Sonnen did not go down quietly and landed several short uppercuts amidst clenches that seemed to sting Jones. Jones maintained composure and with 27 seconds to spare rained knees, fists, and elbows upon a turtled up Sonnen. These 27 seconds would matter, because Jones suffered a grotesque compound fracture of his big toe during the closing assault. Had the fight continued, Jones would have lost by medical decision. Some argue that the fight was stopped prematurely but Sonnen had no real escape from his situation and though technically blocking wasn't offering an actual defense that would have stopped the assault. Chael Sonnen once again came seconds away from a UFC title only to have it snatched away. However, even Sonnen knows it would have been a hollow victory as he admitted to being highly outmatched after the press conference.