TORONTO, September 22 - Jon Jones stared down the greatest scare of his career – his right arm popped by a Vitor Belfort armbar – but persevered to preserve his light heavyweight title with a fourth round submission win in the UFC 152 main event at Air Canada Centre Saturday night.
It was Jones’ fourth successful title defense and fifth consecutive win over a current or former UFC champion.
A wicked Jones elbow opened a deep gash over the former 205-pound champion’s right eye and Jones would heavily rely on those elbows throughout the fight. But the 25-year-old New Yorker found himself in deep danger early in the first, with Belfort cranking with all his might on the aforementioned right arm. Jones, his arm appearing on replays to have been hyper extended, stood up and tried to slam Belfort. The challenger, a BJJ black belt under the legendary and late Carlson Gracie, eventually released the limb but came close to securing a triangle choke as the final seconds counted down in round two.
Other than the armbar, Jones (17-1) tormented Belfort with a high volume of vicious leg kicks and dropped the Brazilian with a kick to the sternum. Belfort (21-10) began pulling guard often, later saying he had hurt his rib area in training, contributing to his preference to being on his back. Belfort, owning arguably the fastest hands Jones has ever seen in the Octagon, was unable to land his trademark left hand as Jones vigilantly defended against it.
“Oh man, he got that armbar in every way shape and form. I‘ve never felt my arm like that before,” Jones conceded. “I honestly was waiting for it to break, (but) I was not going to tap out.”
Jones said the adversity of Saturday night’s fight – along with controversy outside of the cage surrounding a canceled UFC event last month and a DUI incident earlier this year – will aid his maturity as a fighter and a person.
“I really feel like a stronger young man to stand here before you guys today,” Jones said.
Belfort, meanwhile, was gracious in defeat.
“That’s why he’s a champion,” Belfort said of Jones. “I really thought tonight I would win. But as a champion he fought better and he deserved it.”
Hear what Belfort had to say about the loss in his post-fight interview
Business as Usual: Jones Subs Vitor, Retains Crown - UFC 152 Main Event Results
By Frank Curreri September 22, 2012