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by James Swift

March 19, 2011

Welcome all, to another installment of The Rocktagon! You know, that semi-regular column where I fuse out-of-place social democratic rhetoric with obscure media references while covering real sporting events on a site dedicated to a staged one. Alike the food critic that does nothing but talk about movies, or an NFL writer that only writes about NHL scores, I too, take my position with the utmost pride. What’s that, you say? Something about a “demographic” and a “target audience” and “not realizing the limitations and scope of my intentions”? THAT’S COMMIE TALK, YOU GODLESS RED. Everybody knows that America was founded on freedom of expression, and as we also all know, the Internet is part of America, so cram it. If you don’t like MMA talk on a pro wrestling site, take your business elsewhere [NOTE FROM SEAN CARLESS: Actually, don’t.]. . .meanwhile, I have freedom to espouse.

That tactless train wreck of faux-nationalism and participle-strewn prose means only one thing, and that thing is. . .uh, not a whole lot actually. Right now is one of the biggest dead zones ever in the history of human life, and I am DEPSPERATE for something to yammer on and on about. An NFL strike looms over the horizon, the Nintendo 3DS launch line-up looks like shit, and “Scream 4” doesn’t come out for another month. . .trying times, indeed. And oh yeah, I think I heard something about Japan getting nuclear exploded by a earthquake, and some nonsense about half of the Muslim world rebelling against crooked governance in the name of technological democracy. Like I said, WHAT A BORING TIME TO BE ALIVE. But on the plus side. . .a new Taco Bell opened up right across from my place. Every night, I order an extra large cup of chipotle sauce and sip on it until bedtime. By Memorial Day, I expect to weight approximately 450 pounds, or roughly half the body weight of the aggregate Ring of Honor fan boy.

I KEED, I KEED. Since we all need SOMETHING to bide our time with, why don’t we take a gander at the latest Ultimate Fighting Championship event? Well, I don’t care if you’re not interested, we’re covering it anyway. Hey, you could use some culture every now and then, lard-o. Ladies and gentlemen, I present unto thee. . .UFC 128: SHOGUN VS. JONES!

As always, we are coming to you LIVE from the lovely, picturesque, and hardly vomit scented halls of Bailey’s in Kennesaw, Ga.. . .where our provosts are apparently all a bunch of MARXIST PIGS, per the local newspaper. In case you’re worried that this thing will turn into an awkward political diatribe later on, I assure you. . .. it will.

As has been the case for the last million-billion years, our hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. And has been the case for the last million-billion years, I apologize in advance. Tonight’s show is emanating from that land of milk and honey, East Rutherford, New Jersey. Well, that’s sort of fitting, since Devils and Nets fans are used to watching guys get the piss beat out of them on a regular basis.

The big (I mean, MEGA-GIGA-TERRA-FREAKING-HYUGE) story going into this PPV is the merger of the UFC and (ex) number one competitor Strikeforce. Although UFC President says that Strikeforce will remain a separate company, I think we ALL know how this one is going to play out. Hey, remember when the E bought out WCW, and they were going to continue the promotion “as is”? Well, all I can say is: history, it DOTH repeat itself. Whether or not that means Fedor Emelianenko will be repackaged as a self-help guru that’s introduced to the UFC audience by filming Brock Lesnar’s wife in the bushes, however, is something only time will tell.

Hey, how about some prelims up in this mother? To kick start the Spike TV portion of the night’s festivities, we’ve got Edson Barboza taking on Anthony Njokauni in a lightweight scrap. Barboza is known for having buzz saw kicks like Yoshihiro Tajiri, and Njokauni is world famous for having a last name that is really, really hard to pronounce. Well, that, and some stuff in the WEC, I think.

Round one begins, and Barboza is throwing those razor-leg kicks like there’s no tomorrow. Anthony with a few low kicks and a left on Barboza’s jaw. Edson fires back with some low kicks. For what its worth, Njokauni is landing with most of what he throws. Round ends with both guys conservatively trading blows. 10-9 for Edson.

Anthony storms out of the gate with some high kicks. He lands a punch. Barboza with a one two combination and a spin-kick. Edson goes for the Anderson Silva Front Face Kick Special, and Anthony catches him. After throwing Barboza halfway across the ring, Anthony fails to capitalize on the ground, and the fight gets vertical again. High kick exchange. Punching exchange. It was Anthony’s round, until Barboza landed a takedown at the absolute LAST second. 19-18 for Barboza.

Anthony throwing some kicks, and Edson responding with some solid punches. Barboza with some combinations, and he lands a hard kick to Anthony’s ribcage. Anthony battling back. He goes for a leaping knee, and Barboza catches him with a staggering right. Barboza is carving Anthony up with kicks. With about half a minute left, Barboza scores the takedown (and pretty much the fight). Ten seconds left. Fight gets vertical, and Edson nails a super-mega-freaking awesome spinning heel kick right on Anthony’s face as time expired. Well, if he didn’t have the round before.. . .

29-28 across the board for Barboza. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Preview for UFC 129, featuring GSP and Jake Shields in a fairly sports-entertainmenty promo that ALSO makes use of that “80 percent sweat, 10 percent blah-blah-blah” song that’s been used in everything over the last five years, from Under Armor commercials to that piece of crap “Karate Kid” remake.

Rogan and Dana White do the hard sell for the main event. Joe keeps calling Jon Jones a “superhero”. More on this, later.

Hey, did you say something about another prelim fight? Yeah, well, I don’t care. Long story short: Luiz Cane beat Elliot Marshall like he owed him money. In a fight that went about two minutes, a good minute and a half consisted of Elliot having his skull beat like a dirty rug. In the post-fight, Cane got on his knees and thanked the heavens above for giving him the ability to beat another man into a temporary coma. You know, just like it says in Deuteronomy.

And in a (totally) non-related note, I can’t tell you how badly I want to catch “The Turin Horse”. I mean, just check out this BEYOND AWESOME theatrical trailer:

Yeah, yeah, Bella Tarr IS an acquired taste, but once you see one movie, you’ll be hooked for life. And yes, you just read a plug for experimental, Finnish avant-garde cinema in a satirical mixed martial arts column. HOLISM (and feeble attempts to make something totally proletariat seem quasi-cultured) FTW. Hell, it’s guaranteed to be better than crap-fests like “The Green Lantern” and “Thor”, that’s for damned sure. Even if the filmstrip breaks, it’ll still be a better offering than “Captain America”, and you can take that to the bank. . .THE MONEY BANK.

Ten minutes to go until the main portion of the show. I was promised chips and salsa, but I see neither. We’ve got one more prelim on the docket, feature UFC newcomer Erik Koch taking on Raphael Assuncao. Long story short: Koch (pronounced like coke) knocked the WEC alum senseless with a quick punch to the side of the head. Something tells me we’re going to be seeing LOTS of head injuries this evening.

Due to VIEWER REQUEST, all UFC PPVS from hereon out will begin at 9 pm, which is something I am actually MUCH IN FAVOR OF, since it allows me to hit the bed sometime before midnight now. Yeah, how many college aged kids do you hear that kind of talk from?

So, you know how Jones was calling Jon Jones a superhero earlier? Well, as it turns out, Jon Jones STOPPED A MUGGER two hours before the show. As in, not only is the dude wicked awesome with back elbows, he actually STOPS CRIME in his off hours. Something tells me this guy is one halted bank robbery away from scoring a lifetime membership with the Justice League.

Time for the main card. As always, it takes them a good five minutes to find the remote. At this rate, we’ll be lucky if they tune in before the co-main event.

Heavyweight Bout

Mirko Filipovic (27-8) vs. Brendan Schuab (7-1)

What we have here is one of those fights were the outcome can be seen from a couple of miles away. On paper, it seems like this should be a walk through the park for Schuab, an up-and-comer in the heavyweight division that was last seen beating veteran Gabriel Gonzaga like a jug-eared punching bag. Schuab’s sole loss as a pro fighter came at the hands (and jelly rolls) of Roy Nelson back in 2009, and Brendan has been on a three fight tear ever since. Although he’s not quite championship material yet, with enough experience and a couple of more W’s under his resume, he very well could be a main-event type guy in about a year or two.

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, on the other hand (or more fittingly, foot) is an MMA legend that really should’ve called it quits circa 2007. Although legendary for his exploits in PRIDE FC (the dude knocked off Wanderlei Silva and Quinton Jackson, among others), Cro Cop’s UFC stay has been anything but remarkable, as he’s been bested by the likes of Gabriel Gonzaga, Frank Mir and Cheik Kongo over the last four years. And not to besmirch the guy or anything, but his most impressive win as a Zuffa employee came at the hands of a dude that pretty much threw the fight, so yeah, Mirko doesn’t have too much to boast about going into this, his (perhaps last?) MMA hootenanny.

Even so, we longtime MMA folk know better than to simply accept the first script were dealt. Every time Cro Cop enters the Octagon, there’s at least an OUTSIDE shot of him landing that dreaded left high kick, and there isn’t an MMA nerd on the planet that doesn’t want to see Mirko throw one final metacarpal temple massage before he calls it quits for good. Then again, there’s nothing really stopping Schuab from throwing one either, and as Filipovic’s prior UFC exploits have proven. . .there’s a mighty damn good likelihood that we’ll be seeing that LHK tonight, only being thrown from the other side of the cage.

Brendan Schuab comes out first, to some song that I can’t precisely pinpoint. I think it may be Yanni, but I could be wrong. Cro-Cop, who gets a HYUGE reaction, comes out to the song from “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”. Ironic, since Cro-Cop’s mug is a blend of all three adjectives.

There’s a pretty big contingency of Croatian fans here. That, or they really wanted to dust off that flag they bought at a yard sale in 1987 and figured “what the hell” for tonight.

Round one begins, and Cro-Cop eats some punches early. This is really bad, since he told reporters earlier that he’s trying to go on a diet.. Clinch against the fence, and a voluble “Cro-Cop” chant breaks out. The two are trading body punches, but lets face it, they really don’t have an option here. Ref Herb Dean warns Schuab to avoid the rabbit punches. The two are separated, and Schuab spears Cro-Cop out of his shoes. Well, if he was wearing shoes, he would’ve been speared out of them, that is. Cro-Cop is in a lot of trouble here, but he manages to weather the storm. Things get standing. Cro-Cop stuffs a takedown, and the round ends with another stalling clinch. 10-9 for Schuab.

You know, it just now dawned on me: Schuab looks just like a roided up Jason Biggs. Wow, that’s kind of awesome. Cro-Cop goes for the LEFT HIGH KICK, only to get gang raped on a takedown. Well, oops. Schuab pounding on Cro-Cop like a coalition of US, French and British artillery on the Libyan countryside. Herb Dean warns Cro-Cop about those DANGEROUS up-kicks, even though he missed by a few GPS coordinates. CLINCH NUMBER THREE. Cro-Cop throwing some knees and TRYING to land an uppercut. Schuab has a nosebleed. Schuab gets deducted a point for a rabbit punch. Schuab is looking a little carved up here. Cro-Cop DESPERATELY trying to land that LHK, but it ain’t happening. Schuab bullies Cro-Cop into the cage and locks in ANOTHER clinch as time expires. 19-18 Schuab.

This is as close as Mirko has come to winning a competitive fight against a legitimate opponent in YEARS. I smell a borderline Shakespearean tragedy a-brewing here.

Cro-Cop begins round three by kicking Schuab square in the balls. Well, sometimes, you just have to. CLINCH, and a takedown by Schuab. Cro-Cop is up and. . .CLINCH! Considering Schuab’s proclivity for MMA “rest holds”, maybe he really IS deserving of the title of “Legend Killer”. That LHK isn’t going to land tonight, or perhaps EVER again, Mirko. Cro-Cop stuffs a takedown, and has a guillotine for about a half second. About a minute to go in the fight. Cro-cop rears back for ANOTHER left high kick, and when he does. . .Schuab CATCHES HIM WITH A COUNTER RIGHT HAND, and MIRKO is OUT.

I’ve seen a lot of NASTY knockouts so far this year, but that one was particularly gruesome. A total pro wrestling match here, with Cro-Cop playing the beloved veteran and Schuab playing the up-and-comer punk contender. On a technical level, it wasn’t great, but as far as sheer storytelling goes, this one was one of the better fights of the year.

Rogan and Goldberg run down the next 450 UFC events. . .because we all CARE about UFC Fight Night XXLVI, don’t we?

Well, I think we need ourselves a brief break from action, no? In case you were wondering, the new albums from Crowbar and Deicide are pretty good. And I wouldn’t argue against picking up the latest Elvis re-release, either. Why, yes, I do have the most varied musical tastes EVER. How observant of you to note such.

I mean. . .how hot is that shit right there? Who cares if that track is half a century old and it probably provided the soundtrack for your grandmother’s deflowering, it still has some swing to it. I guarantee you that’s something none of you whippersnappers will be able to say about your Avenged Sevenfolds and your Disturbeds a good forty years down the line. Long story short: Elvis ruled, and you should listen to him.


Middleweight Bout

Dan Miller (13-4) vs. Nate Marquardt (30-10-2)

Well, here’s a fight that we can all think Mother Nature for. At one point, this bout right here was supposed to be Chael Sonnen taking on Yoshihiro Akiyama, but since Sonnen had to go get himself in some light legal trouble (something about money laundering and racketeering as a state employee. . .you know, nothing too big), Marquardt decided to step in as his replacement. And then, about two weeks before the show, an earthquake hits Japan, Akiyama says he ain’t fighting, and now, we get the joy AND luxury of seeing BOTH Miller brothers on one PPV event. I’m telling you, a lucky crowd are we.

At one point, Marquardt was considered one of the greatest middleweight fighters on the planet - primarily because most MMA analysts are a step above mongo-tards. Even so, he’s a perennial challenger in the UFC’s MW division, and he has to be considered the odds-on-favorite tonight. . .which, as we all know, means that Miller is going to win the fight by second round knockout. I mean, shit, how else would this thing play out?

No offense, but “Nate the Great” is a really, really stupid nickname. The story of the first round is that Miller is DESPERATELY trying to land a takedown, but Nate’s stand-up keeps him at bay. It took about three minutes, but Miller FINALLY gets the takedown. Well, it was more like Miller wrapped himself around one of Nate’s ankles and kind of dragged him down, BUT IT COUNTS. Nate responds by slamming his ass to the mat. Miller tries for a guillotine, but it isn’t happening. Nate on top and raining some elbows. About a minute to go, and both guys get vertical. Nate slams him again as time expires. Easy 10-9 for Nate.

Nate begins the second round by doing what Cro-Cop couldn’t in the first fight, and that’s actually LAND a left high kick. A pretty long strike exchange. Nate goes for a flying knee, and Miller ripostes with a takedown. We get vertical for a clinch. Nate throwing some knees. Out of the clinch, and Nate is peppering Miller with shots. Takedown by Nate. Miller goes for another guillotine choke, but it’s a lost cause. Miller drops some elbows from the top as the round ends. 20-18 for Nate.

Nate is landing with pretty much everything he throws. In desperation, Miller lands a right. He’s got to finish Nate in the next four minutes. Nate lands a kick, and rattles off about four unanswered right hands on Miller’s orbital structure. Nate stuffs a feeble takedown attempt from Miller. Nate on top with a minute to go. This one is all over except for the crying.

30-27 across the board for Marquardt, who looked WORLDS better in this fight than he did in his last fight with Yushin Okami.

So, here’s my quote of the week. Some libertarian dingleberry was going on and on about “personal right” and “small government”, saying something about Thomas Jefferson being an ideal politician. As in, Thomas Jefferson, the slave-humping slave-owner. The older I get, the more I begin to suspect that all of these neo-cons are actually trying to legalize indentured servant rape - in fact, I’m pretty sure that’s what Ron Paul meant when he said he wanted the nation “reverting back to the gold standard”. Speaking of which:

God, I miss you Tim Russert. Me, and all decent people of this nation, planet and universe. UNWARRANTED AND TOTALLY OUT OF PLACE POLITICAL RANT, OVER.

Hey, New Jersian FRANKIE EDGAR is in the house. And nobody cares. Now, if it were Frankie MUNOZ, on the other hand. . .

Lightweight Bout

Jim Miller (19-2) vs. Kamal Shalorus (7-0-2)

Now this could turn out to be an interesting little barnburner. Jim Miller is one of the unsung workhorses of the lightweight division, and one has to reckon that he’s about one win away from being placed in the Octagon against one of the old guards of the division (I’m guessing the loser of the Frankie Edgar / Gray Maynard bout, myself), which is sort of ironic, since Miller’s only losses as a professional fighter came out the hands of the current lightweight championship contenders. Jim is also the brother of UFC fighter Dan Miller, but let’s face it, nobody gives a shit about that.

Kamal, on the other hand, is making his UFC debut in this match up. Kamal lugs around an undefeated record as a fighter, earning most of his W’s on the undercard of the WEC’s lightweight division. He also has the primo hook of being perhaps the only Iranian fighter currently in the UFC, which means if he doesn’t play it up to the nines (as in, wearing a turban and riding a camel to the cage), I’ll be all sorts of pissed. Oh, and according to his birth records, he’s 39 years old, even though he said his parents forged the documents to get him out of the country.

Miller has to be the favorite going into this one, but you never know what happens after the cage door slams. . .except the fact that the jingoistic New Jersey crowd will be shouting “USA!”, of course. Hey, this IS Bon Jovi country we’re talking about here. . .

Wow, if you want to feel really old, you need to catch Ice-T, who’s sitting ringside. All I can say is, Father Time did a number on his craggy puss with a jackhammer.

Jim Miller comes out to Bad Moon Rising, which is ironic because tonight, we are all witnessing a rare “Super Moon”. Well, pending you live on the Eastern seaboard, anyway. Kamal is nicknamed the “Prince of Persia”, which means he may very well hit the L1 button to reverse time and save himself from a knockout.

Well, it only took us about a minute before the USA chant flared up. Also, check the dude in the stand that defaced an Iranian flag to read “Prince of Persia”. I bet the guys at Ubisoft are loving that shit right about now.

A very conservative first round, with both guys playing their cards ultra-safely. Miller almost locked in a guillotine choke as the round ends, so I suppose that gives him the upper hand. Also, Kamal looks just like Yul Brenner, which is an automatic one point deduction in my book. 10-9 for Miller.

Kamal comes out swinging to begin round two, and Miller takes him down. Oh boy, Kamal is in some serious trouble. Body triangle, and Kamal isn’t going anywhere. Miller spends about four minutes trying to lock in the choke. He doesn’t get it, but you can tell Kamal is halfway passed out anyway. 20-18 for Miller.

Miller begins round three with some punches. Clinch, and he’s landing some knees to the solar plexus of Kamal. Miller tags Kamal with a left uppercut out of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! and Kamal pirouettes halfway across the cage. Miller follows up with a jumping knee. Two or three punches on the ground, and this one is ALL OVER. Bonus points go to the cameraman, who caught Kamal just as a small river of blood trickled out of his nostril.

Jim Miller DEFINITELY made his argument for a title shot in this fight. As cluttered as the lightweight division is, you have to wonder if he’ll be getting it anytime soon, though. Even so, I’d put Miller top five in the company, probably a distant third, all things considered.

We really haven’t had a bad fight on the show so far. With two to go, let’s hope we keep the streak going.

So, anyway, I was. . .what the hell? BREAKING NEWS: JESUS CHRIST TO RETURN THIS SPRING?

Wow. I mean. . .wow. I know, it is somewhat unprofessional to bring REAL NEWZ into a half-hearted article, but why isn’t this on FOX or CNN? I mean, the Jesus Christ, making his in-planet return after a 2,000 year hiatus? Jeez, and you though the Bret Hart comeback was a big deal. Here’s to hoping that this one ends a little more spectacularly than a weak-ass “street fight” and a weeklong reign as U.S. champion., though. . .

Bantamweight Bout

Urijah Faber (24-4) vs. Eddie Wineland (18-6)

God help us if Faber DOESN’T win this fight. Right now, the UFC NEEDS a breakout ex-WEC star like Charlie Sheen needs a clean piss test, and if “the California Kid” doesn’t deliver the goods here. . .I shudder to think of the consequences.

It’s no surprise that ZUFFA expects Faber to win this fight. Hell, they’ve already SAID that Faber will be the coach on the next season of the Ultimate Fighter, and there is NOTHING the company wants right more than a Bantamweight title fight between Urijah and current champ Dominick Cruz. However, to get there, Urijah HAS to defeat Wineland, and you know what? Not only is there an outside chance that he WON’T, there’s actually a pretty strong case one could argue that Wineland may in fact be the FAVORITE to win the bout.

For starters, Wineland is on a four fight win streak. Also, people tend to forget this, but Wineland was actually the first Bantamweight champion in WEC history. . .and all things considered, he’s tallied up a pretty impressive win list ever since dropping the strap to Chase Bebee. . .who, apparently, was sucked into an extra-dimensional vortex sometime before Obama’s inauguration, because that’s the first time I’ve heard that name brought up since two thousand and freaking eight.

Faber isn’t the fighter he was circa 2007 (when he was considered the greatest featherweight fighter on the planet, no less), but he still has some moves, and for all intents and purposes, he has been undefeated since dropping to the 135 pound division. Granted, he’s only had one fight at bantamweight, but what the hell ever.

For the sake of profitability, Faber NEEDS to win this match. However, since we all know what’s riding here, I’d suggest betting the mortgage and your kids’ college funds on a Wineland victory. I mean, come on, just look at how Kid Yamamoto, Mike Thomas Brown and Miguel Torres looked in their UFC debuts and try and tell me it ISN’T a safer bet than the Las Vegas line. . .

For some reason, “California Love” doesn’t go over with the NEW JERSEY crowd. Should’ve brought some Springsteen with you, Urijah. Faber is still the house favorite, however. Faber tries to score a takedown, but this Wineland kid is standing his ground. Eddie sneaks his way out of a back-tackle, and stuffs another Faber takedown. Like nothing, Eddie slams Faber to the canvas. And right now, Dana White is SWEATING like a whore in church. Faber rebounds, and he’s throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Wineland. Faber is having ZERO luck with the takedown attempts. Faber with some short range punches to end the round, but I still have it 10-9 for Wineland.

Eddie trying for some high kicks to begin round two. Nothing connecting. AND FABER GETS THE SINGLE LEG. Dana White, he is A HAPPY FELLOW. Faber dropping some elbows and forearm shots from the mount. Not really hurting Eddie, but it’s getting him ahead on points. Faber is literally picking Eddie up like a baby and slamming him back first on the mat from a height of about two feet. Well. . .it’s better than nothing, I suppose. Faber stays on top throughout the round, raining punches on Wineland until time expires. We have ourselves a tied ballgame.

Third and decisive round. Brief exchange, and Wineland stuffs a takedown.. Clinch against the cage, and Faber is NOT giving up on that takedown. Faber with TWO stiff shots to Eddie’s mug. Urijah’s landed about TEN unanswered blows now. A minute and a half to go, and Faber FINALLY gets the takedown. Pending he doesn’t mess up and get choked out here, the fight is his. Faber rains forearms as the round ends. Should be 29-28 across the board for the California Kid.

And it is. Faber says he wants Cruz for the 135 pound title in the post-fight interview, saying that Dominick needs to hide his wife and kids. That was awesome. All in all, Faber looked a lot better here than Miguel Torres did in a more decisive match a month ago. If they don’t go ahead with Faber vs. Cruz, I’ll swallow my own head on YouTube.

Hey, that guy from “The King of Queens” is in the house tonight. He sucks.

And soon, a reverential hush falls upon the crowd. Ladies and gentlemen, our main event us upon us.

UFC Light Heavyweight Championship Bout

Mauricio Rua (19-4) [Champion] vs. Jon Jones (12-1) [Challenger]

This fight is what we in the business call “a paradigm shift.”

You see, the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, represents the old guard of mixed martial arts. Shogun was a very popular light heavyweight contender in the days of PRIDE FC, and he’s kicked a lot of hall of fame ass over the years.. He’s knocked out Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida and current Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem. . .twice. Long story short, Shogun is one bad mother feeler, and he’s one of the few holdovers from the vale tudo days that has proven successful in the modern era of MMA. Also, he used to be a Brazilian underwear model, but we won’t hold that against him. Well, too much, anyway.

His opponent tonight is Jon “Bones” Jones, a 24 year old kid from New York that has deservedly drawn parallels to this one kid that used to kick ass in the 1980s named Mike Tyson. Jones made his MMA debut in 2008, and approximately three years after making his sport debut, he’s challenging one of the most acclaimed fighters in mixed martial arts history for the title of baddest 205 pound fighter on the planet.

It’s the oldest story in the book, really: the sage, world-hopping veteran versus the fresh-faced, fresh-eyed up and comer. But beyond that, this match-up represents something much, much deeper, and very well could dictate the future of the sport.

Jones isn’t just a tremendous prospect, he’s literally changing our perspective on what it means to be a fighter. Like Michael Vick circa 2002, Jones is doing stuff with his position that no one has ever seen before, and many are quick to call his style the style of the future. The guy throws knees and elbows like 100 mile per hour fastballs, and the kid has Judo throws out of freaking Soul Calibur. That, and the guy is pretty damned good on the ground, too, as apparent by his 100 percent success rate with the dreaded (albeit painfully boring-sounded) modified guillotine choke. And oh yeah, the kid is fighting on just six weeks notice. . .which is nothing new, really, since the kid fought an average of a fight every two months back in ‘08.

Without question, Rua is going to be Jones’ most difficult challenge to date, and there is nothing Shogun would love more than to take this highly hyped kid and mop the canvas with him in a facile title defense. As much credit as we’re giving Jones, we need to be giving just as much to Rua. . .lest we forget, this guy may very well be the greatest Brazilian Jiu-jitsu striker on the planet, and that’s counting Anderson Silva and Jose Aldo. Jones may be the favorite going into this bout, but all it takes is one well timed counter punch to send the “new champion” marketing train off the rails.

No matter who ends up winning tonight’s contest, we’re going to end up realizing something about the future of mixed martial arts. Perhaps the future begins tonight, or perhaps the olden ways are still enough to get the job done in the era of fusion fighting. Either way, this is one of the most important fights in recent UFC history, and most certainly a bout we’re going to look back on as one of the turning points in the progression of mixed martial arts.

Now, let’s watch that history unfold before our very eyes..

Jones comes out to “New York”, and it is awesome. Jones does a cartwheel before Rua enters the Octagon, to what sounds like some highly out of date Euro Trash Brazilian Pop Techno Music. Well, Jones wins the battle of musical taste, anyway.

Jones height advantage is unbelievable. He really does look about a foot taller than Shogun. They take a REALLY long time to shake hands. EVERYBODY is rooting for Jon Jones.

Round One. Out of the gate, Jones goes for a double knee strike. Jones with a spin kick. Jones with an effortless takedown. Rua tried for a triangle, but it ain’t happening. Jones slips to side control like it was a piece of cake. Jones back in the half guard. EVERYBODY is waiting for those elbows to come into play. USA chant. Stand up, and Jones is just BRUTALIZING Shogun with knees and kicks. You can see Shogun wincing in pain every time Jones connects to his abdomen. For every shot Rua lands, Jones lands about ten. Rua tries to get Jones’ back, but Jon calmly walks away and takes him down a split second letter. 10-9 EASY for Jones.

Rua is bleeding from the right eye. Clinch against the cage to begin round two. SPINNING BACK FIST. Rua is in DEEP, DEEP trouble now. Jones is avoiding Rua’s punches like he’s avoiding butterflies. Jones with a left hand that ROCKS Rua. Jones is just dissecting Rua alive in this fight. Takedown, and Jones is DANGEROUSLY close to finishing this fight. With about five seconds to go, Jones spins around and tries to lock in an inverted Scorpion Death lock (honest to god, I am not making that up) as the bell sounds. 20-18 Jones.

Rua is in a world of trouble. Jones begins the third with a kick that doesn’t connect. Rua tries to go for a heel hook, but Jones powers out. ANOTHER TAKEDOWN from Jones. Jones on top, and he absolutely CRACKS Rua with a left hand. NOW the elbows are in play. Jones is beating Rua like a piñata. Vertical, and Shogun looks like he has no idea where he’s at. Jones with a knee to the sternum, two shots on the ground, and it is ALL OVER.

Ladies and gentlemen. . . The Jon Jones era HAS BEGUN.

In the post fight, Jones thanks Jesus for giving him the ability to break people’s faces with his elbow. Shogun looks like he just survived an attack by a swarm of killer bees. Across the cage, Rashad Evans enters the fray, and challenges his Team Jackson training buddy for a title match later in the year.

Without question, this was one of the most important shows in UFC history, and for me, the main event TOTALLY deserves the comparisons to the Mike Tyson \ Trevor Berbick world championship fight from 1986. If Jones wasn’t a star before, he’s a roaring freaking nova now, and the guy that I would put as THE FACE of the company if I were Dana White.

If you’re a fan of MMA, you need to see this show, or at the least, catch the main event the first time it airs on Spike TV. Trust me, this is one of those watershed moments that changes the trajectory of the sport, and a paradigm shift that’s set the stage for the next ten years of mixed martial arts.

SHOW HIGHLIGHT: Jon Jones putting on a transcendent performance - not only was that the biggest breakthrough fight in MMA history, but probably the biggest breakthrough sports moment since that one time Michael Vick rushed past the entire Minnesota Vikings defense back in 2002.

SHOW LOWLIGHT: Uh. . . I guess the commercial for “Rio” was kind of lame.

ROGANISM OF THE NIGHT: (Tie) “That’s got to suck for Rua” - said as Jones connected with an elbow strike from the top mount, and “He just bitch slapped him with his foot!” - said after Edson Barboza did, well, precisely that against Anthony Njokauni.


It’s OK to display one’s national pride by defacing the emblem of said nation in order to show support of an Ultimate Fighter.

If you’re going to fight Jim Miller, make sure your “Sands of Time” meter is full before the fight begins.

Cornrows make you more aerodynamic.

Being a born again Christian means you have the ability to land really sick spinning back fists.

Jon Jones is probably as close as we’ll ever get to a real-life Batman.


Well, that’s all I got for you this week. Crank up “Armor of Hope” by We the Kings and “Good Grief” by the Foo Fighters, and I’ll be seeing you in a few.

Send feedback to James Swift

JAMES SWIFT is an award-winning, multi-book authoring freelance writer / savior of humanity. He is better than some people, but not better than others. He also occasionally verbs nouns. I mean, hard.

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November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).