Jones aims to extend his year-long win streak
LAS VEGAS, NV – NOVEMBER 30: Mixed martial artist Jon Jones holds the Fighter of the Year award at the Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2011 at The Pearl concert theater at the Palms Casino Resort November 30, 2011 in Las …
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Last Updated: 14 hours and 18 minutes ago
- By BOB EMANUEL JR, Scripps Howard News Service
Although his work is not yet done for the year, Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champion Jon Jones already has turned in one of the most impressive calendar years in the brief history of mixed martial arts.
Jones dispatched a top contender in Ryan Bader in early February via a second-round choke. Just six weeks later, he ran through Mauricio “Shogun” Rua with a third-round TKO to capture his first UFC championship.
A hand injury delayed his next bout until September, when he returned to defeat another former UFC light heavyweight champion, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, with a submission in the fourth round.
Saturday night, Jones will attempt to knock off another former light heavyweight champion when he faces Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida in the main event of UFC 140 in Toronto (Pay-per-view, 9 p.m. Eastern).
“It’s been a great year,” Jones said. “I’m not looking at 2012 yet. I feel I still have this opportunity to do something in 2011 by beating these former champions. That’s my primary goal right now.”
Jones, a native of Rochester, N.Y., said he believes he is ready for Machida, whose only losses in 19 fights came to Rua and Jackson.
“I fought a lot this year,” Jones said. “I learned a lot about myself, about how to train better, how to eat better and all these types of things. I’ve taken all the knowledge that I’ve had from the Ryan Bader training camp, from the Shogun camp, from the Rampage camp. This is the last one of the year. I’ve just been growing so much from all these camps. I think this has been one of my most educating camps. Everything’s in order.”
The card also features several other former champions, including a rematch between former heavyweight champions Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Mir defeated Nogueira via TKO in 2008 to win the UFC interim heavyweight championship.
Mir, who defeated Mirko Filipovic and Roy Nelson in the past 15 months, said he believes he could move back into contention for a potential third title run.
“I think so,” said Mir, 15-5. “The advantage of the heavyweight division is there’s not as deep of a pool. That’s the nature of the business. At that point if I’m victorious (against Nogueira), that’s three wins in a row. I think I’ll be right back up there again.”
The remaining fights on the pay-per-view card include former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, welterweights Claude Patrick vs. Brian Ebersole and featherweights Mark Hominick vs. Chan Sung Jung.
Four preliminary fights will air live on Ion Television (7 p.m., Eastern) — light heavyweights Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Igor Pokrajac; middleweights Jared Hamman vs. Constantinos Philippou; lightweights John Makdessi vs. Dennis Hallman; and bantamweights Yves Jabouin vs. Walel Watson.
The remaining preliminaries (www.facebook.com/UFC, 5:45 p.m., Eastern) include: lightweight Mark Bocek vs. Nik Lentz; welterweight Rich Attonito vs. Jake Hecht; and lightweights Mitch Clarke vs. John Cholish.
Bellator Fighting Championships announced its sixth season debuts March 2, and will run on Fridays throughout the season.
“Our focus was to find the right night, where the largest number of MMA fans could enjoy the show,” Bellator chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “We’ve been discussing this move with our partners at Viacom for months … we agreed that Fridays provided a great night for us to reach MMA fans with our live, real sport, tournament events every week.”
The tournaments include competition at featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and middleweight. A fifth division will be announced soon.
The British Association of Mixed Martial Arts presents its first card on HDNet on Saturday night. BAMMA 8, from Nottingham, England, will air live (4 p.m. Eastern).
Undefeated light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa, who recently signed a four-fight deal with the promotion, will debut versus Antony Rea in the main event. Welterweights Jim Wallhead and Joey Villasenor, lightweights Andre Winner and Diego Gonzalez and bantamweights Paul McVeigh and Erik Perez will also fight on the televised portion of the card.
Winner, the season nine runner-up on The Ultimate Fighter, spent two years with the UFC prior to his BAMMA debut in September. The fight versus Gonzalez will determine the top contender for the promotion’s lightweight title.