By Thomas Gerbasi
LAS VEGAS, December 5 – For much of his Saturday night fight against Matt Hamill, it looked like rising light heavyweight star Jon Jones was sailing to a tenth consecutive victory without a loss, but it was not to be, as an illegal elbow from Jones prompted a first round disqualification from referee Steve Mazzagatti at The Pearl at The Palms.
“They say that after you lose, you become a better stronger person,” said Jones. “Everything happens for a reason.”
Jones and Hamill kept it standing early, with Jones holding the edge thanks to some quick kicks and punches, as well as solid takedown defense when Hamill decided to shoot in. By the third minute, Hamill was reddened on the face and body, and Jones was getting into a rhythm. Next came a takedown by Jones, who moves into mount and began firing away with a dizzying array of strikes. Hamill hung tough under the assault, but Jones was relentless with punches, forearms and elbows. But one of the strikes was an illegal downward elbow, drawing a stoppage and a point deduction from referee Steve Mazzagatti. Yet when Hamill was unable to continue, Mazzagatti disqualified Jones at the 4:14 mark.
With the win, Hamill, who injured his shoulder during the fight, improves to 9-2; Jones falls to 9-1.
It wasn’t the expected Armageddon in short pants when it came to action, but after three rounds, the long-awaited UFC debut of Kimbo Slice ended in a unanimous decision win for the former streetfighting legend over Houston Alexander.
Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice for the 35-year old Slice, who battled Alexander at a catchweight of 215 pounds.
Alexander (9-5, 1 NC) circled the Octagon to start the bout, looking to lure Slice in for a counter. The crowd got restless quickly as the expected fireworks weren’t coming, but Alexander wouldn’t deviate from his plan, stopping only to throw out a couple range-finding leg kicks. Finally, midway through the round, Slice threw his first punch, a jab that missed, and with nearly three minutes gone, the two finally exchanged serious shots, with no damage being done to either fighter. As the round drew to a close, there was still no action, as Alexander focused solely on sporadic leg kicks until the bell rang.
The second round began just like the first, and the crowd let the fighters know that they weren’t happy. Neither was Slice, as he threw a wide haymaker that missed in frustration. With a little over three minutes left, Slice finally struck with a short left that knocked Alexander off balance. Slice moved in and then took Alexander down, landing a couple of ground strikes in the process. Alexander got back to his feet, but Slice put him back down, eventually landing in the mount position. A couple of hard strikes followed before Alexander turned to escape. Slice was just fine with that turn of events as he looked for a rear naked choke and then got back in the mount position. Unable to finish, the two stood just before the bell, finally earning the roar of the crowd.
With five minutes left in the fight, Alexander and Slice began by trading hard punches at close range, yet neither man would fall. Fatigue was evident on both fighters’ faces, and it seemed like one solid shot might end it. But a flush shot from Alexander was simply met with a nod from Slice. A leg kick did put Kimbo down, yet Alexander was not able to finish. Instead, ‘The Assassin’ ended up on his back with the exhausted Slice trying to finish. With 1:18 left, referee Josh Rosenthal stood the fighters up, and Alexander went right back after the legs of Slice. This time Kimbo would remain standing, with the two fighters ending the bout in a slow motion exchange.
“Sorry about that,” said Slice (4-1) of the somewhat bizarre lack of action at times in the bout. “We did our best.”
Lightweight contender Frankie Edgar got his first finish in over two years, as he withstood a strong effort from Matt Veach to submit the Illinois native in the second round.
Veach got Edgar’s respect early with three big slams in the 1st half of the opening round, but the New Jersey native recovered well and got back into the fray. Veach’s short counters while standing were keeping his momentum going though, as Edgar tried to dart in and out with punches of his own.
Edgar finally found his range in the second round though, drilling Veach with a hard right hand with a little over two minutes gone that dropped him to the canvas. Edgar pounced, but his victory wasn’t going to come with his fists, but with his submission game, as he sunk in a rear naked choke that forced Veach to tap out at the 2:22 mark.
Edgar, whose last finish was a TKO of Mark Bocek in July of 2007, improves to 11-1; Veach suffers his first loss, falling to 11-1
TUF10 heavyweights (and NFL vets) Matt Mitrione and Marcus Jones squared off in the main card opener, and after surviving some tight spots in the first round, Mitrione finished matters off in the second with two big right hands.
Jones made no secret of his fight plan before the bout, and he implemented it, taking Mitrione to the mat almost immediately. After a brief spell on the ground, Mitrione fought his way back to his feet. Jones kept the pressure on, bulling Mitrione into the fence, but again, Mitrione’s defense was solid. The third rush seemed to be the charm for Jones, as he sunk in a guillotine choke and then looked for a sub from his back, but Mitrione again broke loose effectively. In the final 30 seconds, Mitrione finally started to get his range with his punches, but Jones finished the frame landing strikes on the grounded Indiana product.
In the second round, Mitrione came out smiling as he touched gloves with Jones, and seconds later, everyone found out why, as he landed two hard rights to the chin that sent Jones down and out, face first, bringing in referee Steve Mazzagatti to halt the bout ten seconds into the round.
With the win, Mitrione moves to 1-0; Jones falls to 4-3.