Friday, March 25, 2011

ENNIS: UFC 128 review and quick thoughts - Jon Jones is fantastic, Urijah Faber cements spot and more

By: Shawn Ennis, MMATorch Senior Columnist

Overall this was a solid show, if it was lacking in multiple storylines. I'd give it a score of 8/10, with the main event getting it that high.

The story of the night was obviously the ascension of Jon Jones to the light heavyweight throne. He has looked good enough to think that no one can beat him at 205. But I think we just need to slow down a bit before we start anointing him the leader of his own era. We all saw how quickly someone solved the puzzle of Lyoto Machida, and though I think Jones is better, I'm not ready to say he's never going to lose.

First things first, Jones will steamroll Rashad Evans. It's anyone's guess who gets the shot after that, but I wouldn't mind seeing a Machida-Rampage rematch for a title shot after they both win their next fights. The positive for the UFC is that there are plenty of big-name opponents for Jones to fight before he reaches the status of a GSP/Anderson Silva.

And by the way, I think the potential of a superfight with Silva is pretty slim. While it's attractive on paper, it would involve Silva moving to 205, which he has said he doesn't want to do on a permanent basis, and it would also involve Jones having cleaned out the division (or at least one would imagine). By the time that happens, and if it happens, who knows how old Silva will be, and whether he'll still be undefeated in the Octagon? A lot of things can happen between now and what's potentially down the road. It's easy to get ahead of ourselves, and I don't mean to throw cold water on the excitement because Jones is very, very good. But let's all just take a deep breath and wait for his first title defense, shall we?

If we're looking at other newsworthy happenings, there's not a ton. Urijah Faber likely cemented himself as the coach opposite Dominick Cruz for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, which will hopefully feature some high-level bantamweights and featherweights. Eddie Wineland was certainly game, and I think his takedown defense was a whole lot better than Faber or a lot of other people expected. Hopefully he'll be back and continue to put on great fights.

Jim Miller looked great in his destruction of the durable Kamal Shalorus, but I'm not quite as infatuated with Miller as a lot of people are. I think it's a good thing that Edgar and Maynard are going at it for the third time, because it gives the division some time to sort itself out so that we can decide who the next contender is. By then (I imagine) it'll be someone out of the Guida-Pettis-Miller-Guillard-Sherk mix. Maybe. The point is that it's okay for the UFC to have some time to anoint a new contender, and I'd like to see Jim Miller beat someone with some cred before I go crazy.

Some disjointeed thoughts about the rest of the card: Luis Cane is a killer when he's not fighting southpaws; Edson Barboza is going to inflict a lot of pain on people as he ascends to the top (and he will ascend to the top - you heard it here first); I'm glad Cro Cop is done in the UFC, because I want to remember his Pride days and not his days against Frank Mir and Brendan Schaub.

Speaking of Schaub, he's an incredible athlete, and he's got a lot of upside, but he's still missing something. A better ground game? A more sturdy chin? I don't know for sure, but I'm not feeling it just yet with him. Nate Marquardt took care of business, but that's pretty much all you can say about that fight.

So to sum up - Jones looked fantastic, and he is fantastic. But let's not go crazy just yet.


Bao Ligao  Josh Barnett  David Baron  Phil Baroni

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