UFC 159 takes place Saturday night from Newark, New Jersey. The event is headlined by a UFC light heavyweight title bout between champion Jon Jones and challenger Chael Sonnen.
UFC light heavyweight title: Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen
Jones is one of the most skilled and dominant fighters in the history of the sport, even at an early age. He seemingly has no weaknesses, mixing great wrestling with dangerous striking and a winner’s mentality. However, he hasn’t connected with fans in the way that UFC would have hoped for such a successful champion. Sonnen is one of the sport’s most colorful characters and best trash talkers. A very good wrestler, he gave Anderson Silva great difficulty in the middleweight division. However, few believe he has any chance against Jones. He has no UFC wins at light heavyweight and his strengths are likely to be negated by Jones’. The fight was made so that Jones and Sonnen could coach opposite one another on the Ultimate Fighter television series.
Round 1. Sonnen presses forward. Jones changes levels and takes Sonnen down. Sonnen stands up and they exchange punches from inside the clinch before separating. They clinch again and Jones takes Sonnen down. Sonnen has a butterfly guard near the cage. Sonnen works his way back up and they clinch next to the cage. Jones looks for a lift but Sonnen blocks it. Jones goes for a spinning back elbow but it misses. Jones then moves in and grabs a deep double leg that he uses to slam Sonnen back down. Jones begins throwing punches and elbows from inside Sonnen's guard. Jones drops down elbos and pins Sonnen's arm. Sonnen covers up and Jones begins dropping down heavier elbows. Sonnen is bleeding. The fight is stopped.
Winner: Jon Jones, TKO, round 1.
Jones has a broken foot and only realized it at the beginning of his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. Sonnen says he agreed with the decision to stop the fight and that Jones was the better fighter.
Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher
This is a crucial fight for each man. Bisping has long sought a middleweight title shot but following a loss to Vitor Belfort, it looks like he may never receive it. He desperately needs a win here to stay in the title picture. Belcher is in a similar boat. He won a series of fights that got him mentioned as a potential contender but looked unimpressive in losing to Yushin Okami in his last fight. He needs a win to make fans forget about that.
Round 1. They feel each other out early, with Belcher establishing range via kicks. From close range, each man lands a shot. Belcher has thrown a number of hard head kicks but thus far Bisping has been able to block all of them. Bisping connects with a right hand up the middle that is his best shot of the fight. A little bit later Belcher lands a nice that connects very well to the chin of Bisping. Bisping blocks a takedown at the end and lands a couple punches. Very close round. 10-9 Bisping.
Round 2. Bisping starts off the round well. He lands a low kick and a jab and then hits Belcher with a hard straight punch. Bisping is over time throwing more than Belcher, which is changing the tempo of the fight. Bisping lands a nice hook. Bisping loads up a straight right up the middle that lands well. Halfway through the round, Bisping is now firmly in control. Bisping lands an overhand right and then counters nicely when Belcher looks for a shot of his own. Bisping lands another right to the jaw moments later. Belcher goes for a takedown and Bisping stuffs it. Belcher connects with a hard punch shortly thereafter and another after that. Bisping does answer with a good combination to close the round. 10-9 Bisping.
Round 3. Belcher moves in aggressively and immediately gets countered by Bisping with a punch. Belcher is smiling at Bisping and Bisping responds with a hard punch in response. Bisping is pressing the action and throwing frequent shots, but not landing with much power. He's very effective at making Belcher pay when Belcher moves in looking to change the tone of the fight. Bisping lands a nice hard overhand right and then goes to the body with a few additional shots. Belcher goes for a takedown and is blocked with ease. Bisping catches Belcher with a bad accidental eye poke that goes deep into the eye. Belcher is bleeding badly from the eye and the fight is stopped.
Winner: Michael Bisping, unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27).
Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo
The charismatic and popular Nelson has built a fan following with exciting fights and by playing up his rotund physique. Kongo is one of the sport’s biggest anomalies. He has arguably the most impressive physique in the sport and an excellent skill set but throughout his career he has always found ways to lose fights.
Round 1. Nelson catches a leg kick and goes for a takedown. He presses Kongo against the cage but isn't able to get any further than that and the referee separates the action. Nelson drops Kongo with his big overhand right and then knocks him unconscious as he tries to get up. That was a spectacular finish.
Winner: Roy Nelson, KO, round 1.
Steven Siler vs. Kurt Holobaugh
Siler, an Ultimate Fighter veteran, was building momentum in the featherweight division with wins over Cole and Micah Miller. However, he suffered a setback in his last contest with a unanimous decision loss to Darren Elkins. Holobaugh is a Strikeforce veteran who was undefeated heading into a loss in his last fight against Pat Healy. Both fighters will look to turn around their recent fortunes in this bout.
Round 1. The fighters exchange low kicks early and immediately initiate a very fast pace. They clinch and Holobaugh lands some nice punches to the body. Siler looks to take the fight to the ground but is prevented from doing so. Siler does land some nice knees to the body and slams Holobaugh down with a hard takedown. He immediately sinks in his hooks and looks to apply a rear naked choke submission. Holobaugh defends well so Siler lands a constant barrage of punches from the inside. Holobaugh stands up but Siler maintains his dominant position and controls Holobaugh’s back from the standing position. They eventually roll to the ground and Siler locks in a really tight rear naked choke/neck crank. With blood gushing from his mouth, Holobaugh refuses to submit. He spits out his mouthpiece and Siler gives up the hold. Siler continues landing punches for the remainder of the round. 10-8 Siler.
Round 2. Siler ducks down and looks for a takedown at the start of the round. Holobaugh grabs a guillotine choke but Siler patiently waits to pull his head out of danger. Holobaugh nicely reverses and takes top position. Holobaugh drops down a solid punch but as he postures up, Siler stands up himself. Holobaugh lands a heavy hook to the chin of Siler. Siler appears a little dazed and shoots for a takedown. Holobaugh defends and takes top position. Holobaugh lands some nice punches from the top while Siler looks to utilize rubber guard. Holobaugh drops down some elbows. Siler finally stands up with a minute left in the round and lands some solid punches from the standing position. Holobaugh answers with a nice hook of his own and Siler shoots for a takedown. Holobaugh defends and looks to isolate Siler's arm for a potential kimura submission. But there just isn't enough time in the round. 10-9 Holobaugh.