Jones stops Sonnen to retain UFC light heavyweight title
Ben Harvey (The Philippine Star) - April 28, 2013 - 2:40pm

NEWARK, New Jersey – Chael Sonnen talked the talked and promised a fist fight against UFC champion Jon Jones. He delivered on his word but fists just weren't enough to save him at UFC 159.

Fighting for the UFC lightweight championship belt in Newark, New Jersey, Jones (18-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) finished Sonnen (27-13-1 MMA, 6-6 UFC) four minutes and 33 seconds into the first round of the fight.

Jones steered clear of his usually long range fight strategy, opting for an up-close-and-personal brawl with Sonnen.

At the sound of the bell the pair met in the middle of the Octagon and, as promised, Sonnen went forward like a tank. With punches and kicks he briefly pushed Jones back, but then the champ pulled off a swift takedown from the clinch. Sonnen quickly got up and pushed forward again.

But more takedowns followed as Jones easily controlled his smaller opponent. Eventually Jones trapped Sonnen on the ground up against the cage, and delivered a brutal knee to the stomach before finishing the fight with vicious elbows.

Referee Keith Peterson dived in over Sonnen, who was still defending himself, but it was clear escape from his position was near impossible.

Before his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Jones noticed his big toe was severely broken. The expression on his face quickly changed once he looked at the gruesome injury on his left foot. The toe had clearly snapped and was cocked out to side, pointing away from his other toes.

"I don't know, but when my adrenaline calms down, I'm going to be in some pain tonight," Jones said.

"I was just so happy to get past Chael Sonnen,” said Jones. Chael Sonnen's an awesome opponent. We went through a lot of drama that motivated me a lot. I really wanted to try to 'Chael Sonnen' Chael Sonnen. I think I did a good job of that."

Jones' win means he has now tied the record for the most UFC light heavyweight title defenses, equaling UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz at five.

UFC president Dana White said Jones was an unbelievable fighter considering he just 25 years old.

"It would be hard not to call him the greatest light heavyweight of all time," White said.

The win in New Jersey comes after a long stint coaching opposite Sonnen on The Ultimate Fighter 17, which Sonnen won when his team members Kelvin Gastelum and Uriah Hall fought in the finale recently.

But that victory was shortlived for Sonnen, who has now lost three title fights in his past five couts. He admitted to Rogan after the fight that it might be time for him to hang up the gloves.

"He's an excellent fighter," Sonnen said. "I have no problem with the decision or the stoppage. He's very powerful. When he went for the kill, he never stopped. I thought I was alright, but I think he's the better fighter.

"I'm not going to be one of the guys to hang around. If there's not a road to the title, then this sport isn't for me. I believe that was probably my last opportunity."

In the co-main event, Michael Bisping cruised comfortably to a win over Alan Belcher.

Bisping had the win all sewed up, his cardio proving to be a huge advantage over Belcher who significantly slowed in the last two rounds of their three round bout.

Close to the final bell in the third, Bisping threw a left hook at Belcher, accidently poking him in the eye. Belcher dropped to his knees and the doctor was called into the cage to assess the damage.

The fight was called off and Bisping won via technical decision 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.

On the undercard, Sara McMann, a 2004 silver medalist in wrestling at the Athens Olympics, won her UFC debut with a TKO over Sheila Gaff. McMann jumped Gaff at the start and pounded her on the ground for most of the first round. She delivered a series of devastating elbows to Gaff's head before the bout was stopped. McMann received a huge ovation after her hand was raised and she walked out of the octagon to No Doubt's "Just a Girl."

"I'm a wrestler. I can take people down whenever I want to," McMann said. "I put myself in the captain's seat where I could do the most damage and I plan to keep doing that."

McMann-Gaff was the third female bantamweight bout in the UFC, all this year. Ronda Rousey, who won the main event of UFC 157, was at the show.

With New York one of the few states that has yet to legalize MMA, the UFC has often turned to New Jersey to stage its biggest cards on the east coast.

Pat Healy opened the pay-per-view card with a third-round submission win over New Jersey native Jim Miller. Bruce Buffer was booed after he misspoke and named Miller the winner. In other PPV bouts, Phil Davis won a unanimous decision over Vinicius Magalhaes and Roy "Big Country" Nelson used a big overhand right to stop Cheick Kongo in the first round.

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