It has been a bumpy ride outside of the Octagon in 2012 for UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Come fight night, however, the man known as “Bones” always delivers the goods. When he squares off with Vitor Belfort, Jones will look to erase at least some of the ill will generated by the UFC 151 cancellation by doing what he does best: providing high-quality violence.
Jones checked in at 204.6 pounds for his five-round title defense against Belfort (204.2) in the UFC 152 headliner on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The eight other fighters slated for main card duty, including flyweight championship hopefuls Joseph Benavidez (124.4) and Demetrious Johnson (125), also met their contracted weight requirements at Friday’s official weigh-in at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
A Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts product, Jones has reeled off seven consecutive victories since being disqualified for the use of illegal elbows against Matt Hamill at “The Ultimate Fighter 10” Finale in 2009. The 25-year-old New York native last appeared at UFC 145 in April, when he captured a five-round unanimous verdict over former teammate Rashad Evans in Atlanta. His resume also includes notable triumphs over three more former UFC 205-pound kings: Lyoto Machida, Quinton Jackson and Mauricio Rua. Jones was originally scheduled to face former two-division Pride Fighting Championships titlist Dan Henderson at UFC 151 on Sept. 1, but when “Hendo” was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury, the champion balked at facing Chael Sonnen on eight days’ notice. Without a suitable main event replacement, the entire card was canceled.
A former UFC light heavyweight champion himself, Belfort will be making his first appearance at 205 pounds inside the Octagon since UFC 51, when he dropped a split-decision to Tito Ortiz. Outside of a 195-pound catch-weight matchup against Rich Franklin in 2009, “The Phenom” has been entrenched at middleweight since his return to the promotion. A front kick from Anderson Silva ended Belfort’s bid for the 185-pound strap at UFC 126, but the Brazilian has since rebounded to post back-to-back first-round stoppages of Yoshihiro Akiyama and Anthony Johnson in his last two outings.
UFC 152 “Jones vs. Belfort” -- which airs on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT -- also features a key middleweight duel between former WEC light heavyweight king Brian Stann (185.4) and “TUF 3” winner Michael Bisping (185.6), a light heavweight conflict pairing the recently unretired Matt Hamill (205.6) with Maximum Fighting Championship staple Roger Hollett (203.6) and a featherweight clash pitting Jackson’s MMA representative Cub Swanson (145.8) against fast-rising Brazilian prospect Charles Oliveira (*146.4).
Two hours prior, the FX network will air four preliminary contests, Igor Pokrajac (205) battles Vinny Magalhaes (204.8), Evan Dunham (155) locks horns with T.J. Grant (154.6), Lance Benoist (170.4) collides with Sean Pierson (169.4) and Jim Hettes (145.8) locks horns with Marcus Brimage (145.4). The three remaining undercard bouts -- Seth Baczynski (171) vs. Simeon Thoresen (170.4), Mitch Gagnon (135.2) vs. Walel Watson (135) and Kyle Noke (170.4) vs. Charlie Brenneman (170.8) -- will stream live to the UFC’s Facebook page.
UFC 152 Weigh-In Results:
Jon Jones (204.6) vs. Vitor Belfort (204.2)
Joseph Benavidez (124.4) vs. Demetrious Johnson (125)
Brian Stann (185.4) vs. Michael Bisping (185.6)
Matt Hamill (205.6) vs. Roger Hollett (203.6)
Cub Swanson (145.8) vs. Charles Oliveira (*146.4)
Igor Pokrajac (205) vs. Vinny Magalhaes (204.8)
Evan Dunham (155) vs. T.J. Grant (154.6)
Lance Benoist (170.4) vs. Sean Pierson (169.4)
Jim Hettes (145.8) vs. Marcus Brimage (145.4)
Seth Baczynski (171) vs. Simeon Thoresen (170.4)
Mitch Gagnon (135) vs. Walel Watson (135.2)
Charlie Brenneman (170.8) vs. Kyle Noke (170.4)
Oliveira missed weight on his first attempt.