Matches to Make After UFC 172

By Brian Knapp Apr 27, 2014
Jon Jones laid a serious beating on Glover Teixeira at UFC 172. | Patrick Smith/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Jon Jones tightened his grip on the Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight title with some close-quarters savagery.

Jones controlled and overwhelmed Glover Teixeira with his diverse standup arsenal, retaining his 205-pound championship with a lopsided unanimous decision in the UFC 172 main event on Saturday at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore. “Bones” pitched a shutout on the scorecards, as he took all five rounds in the eyes of all three cageside judges.

Teixeira had no answer for the superior skills and athleticism with which he was faced. Jones was effective at a distance, but he did his best work in the clinch. There, he attacked the John Hackleman protégé with a series of short slashing elbows, one of which opened a gnarly diagonal cut above the Brazilian’s right eye. Teixeira fired back in response, but his heavy hands seemed to have no effect on the relentless Jones. According to preliminary FightMetric figures, the champion out-landed the challenger by a staggering 138 to 53 margin in terms of significant strikes; he also secured the only three takedowns of the match.

Little mystery exists in regards to what comes next for Jones. Alexander Gustafsson bounced back from his controversial unanimous decision loss to “Bones,” as he put away the previously unbeaten Jimi Manuwa with a second-round knee strike and follow-up punches at a UFC Fight Night event on March 8 in London. The 27-year-old Swede pushed Jones to the limit in their memorable UFC 165 encounter some seven months ago and has pined for a rematch ever since. The stars seem to have aligned.

Teixeira, meanwhile, must retreat to the gym and take inventory following his first defeat in more than nine years. The respected 34-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt entered the cage on a 20-fight winning streak and left it as a broken challenger, Jones having dominated him for 25 minutes. A shallow pool of contenders at 205 pounds will likely keep Teixeira in the discussion near the top of the division. The loser of the forthcoming UFC 173 battle between the American Kickboxing Academy’s Daniel Cormier and former two-division Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Dan Henderson could provide Teixeira with the opportunity to spring back into the conversation.

In wake of UFC 172 “Jones vs. Teixeira,” here are five other matchups that ought to be considered:

Anthony Johnson vs. Ryan Bader-Rafael Cavalcante winner: In his first appearance inside the Octagon since January 2012, Johnson dismantled the world-ranked Phil Davis with surprising ease. The 30-year-old Blackzilians representative short-circuited Davis’ game plan with airtight takedown defense, turning away the four-time NCAA All-American wrestler at every turn. With “Mr. Wonderful” effectively trapped in a kickboxing match, Johnson picked apart the Alliance MMA export with high-velocity punches and kicks en route to a unanimous decision and a seventh straight victory. Bader and Cavalcante will toe the line against one another at UFC 174 on June 14 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Luke Rockhold vs. Vitor Belfort: Rockhold was cold and efficient in dispatching Tim Boetsch, as he trapped “The Barbarian” in an inverted triangle and submitted him with a first-round kimura. The 29-year-old former Strikeforce champion has won 11 of his past 12 bouts, a UFC on FX 8 knockout loss to Belfort the lone hiccup. Under the microscope over his use of testosterone replacement therapy, Belfort last competed in November, when he knocked out the aforementioned Henderson with a first-round head kick. Rockhold wants -- and arguably deserves -- a rematch with Belfort, provided “The Phenom” can get his licensing issues in order.

Jim Miller vs. Donald Cerrone: Since touching down in the UFC in October 2008, Miller has been a model of consistency. The AMA Fight Club mainstay improved to 13-3 inside the Octagon in his latest outing, as he choked Yancy Medeiros unconscious with a first-round guillotine. Miller, 30, has recorded back-to-back submissions for the first time in nearly seven years, reminding the MMA world that he remains one of the sport’s premier lightweights. Cerrone on April 19 delivered his third win in row at UFC on Fox 11, where he submitted former Ring of Combat champion Edson Barboza with a rear-naked choke.

Joseph Benavidez vs. Brad Pickett: Caught in flyweight purgatory, Benavidez continues to ply his trade with devastating results. The Team Alpha Male representative survived an early blitz from Tim Elliott and submitted him with a first-round guillotine choke. With two losses to UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson already in his rearview mirror, Benavidez will likely have to serve in something of a gatekeeper role at 125 pounds for the foreseeable future. Pickett made his flyweight debut in March, when he outpointed Neil Seery to a unanimous decision at a UFC Fight Night show.

Phil Davis vs. Mauricio Rua: No fighter saw his stock drop more at UFC 172 than Davis. The 29-year-old Harrisburg, Pa., native’s modest three-fight winning streak grinded to a halt in a unanimous decision loss to Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. Unable to execute takedowns and put Johnson on the ground, Davis was a non-factor in their 15-minute encounter. He had lost only once previously, bowing to Johnson’s Blackzilians stablemate Rashad Evans in January 2012. Rua tasted defeat for the third time in four appearances on March 23, when Henderson stopped him on third-round punches in Brazil.


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