This Day in MMA History: August 1

By Ben Duffy Aug 1, 2020


UFC Live 2, more commonly referred to at the time as UFC on Versus 2, was one of six events the Ultimate Fighting Championship produced in cooperation with the cable channel Versus, now NBC Sports Network. The cards generally featured notable up-and-coming fighters, and in 2010 there was no up-and-comer more notable than Jon Jones, who headlined the first two UFC Live shows.

Jones’ opponent at UFC Live 2, Vladimir Matyushenko, was seen by some as a step back for the 23-year-old light heavyweight prodigy, or at the very least a lateral move in comparison to recent foes Brandon Vera and Matt Hamill. However, Matyushenko was in fact a logical, suitable next step for Jones. The 39-year-old Belarusian was a perfect example of the term gatekeeper as a compliment. His nickname, “The Janitor,” could not have been more appropriate, as he had spent his career taking out the trash in two weight classes across a half-dozen fight promotions. Ahead of his matchup with Jones on Aug. 1, 2010, Matyushenko was 24-4 and of the four losses on his ledger, the only opponent that could be said to have had an easy time with him was his much larger countryman, future UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski.

Despite Matyushenko’s solid résumé, he entered the Octagon that night in San Diego as a 6-to-1 underdog, a clear indication of just how dominant Jones had been to that point in his career. While it’s unlikely “Bones” picked up much action from the squares at those odds, if there were any, he didn’t leave them fretting for long once the fight started. In an early example of Jones’ propensity for attacking his opponents at their supposed strengths, he scored a trip takedown within seconds. From there, it was all one-way traffic, as Jones moved to side control, then trapped one of Matyushenko’s arms in a crucifix. He then smashed the older man’s head with what may have been an even dozen elbow strikes to the head, prompting the stoppage from referee Herb Dean at 1 minute, 52 seconds.

Nobody, including Arlovski, had done that to Matyushenko, let alone in under half a round. It was yet another effortless victory for a young man who was quickly becoming the most dominant fighter in the sport. Less than eight months later, Jones would be UFC light heavyweight champion, and from that day to this, the only one who has been able to topple him from the summit has been Jones himself.

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