Victor Belfort, the critic's favored underdog to unseat UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, lasted far longer than we expected. Details after the jump.
After rebounding from a turbulent few months outside the cage, Jon "Bones" Jones defended his crown while putting on a gutsy performance inside it. The 17-1, MMA, 11-1 UFC star survived a first-round scare and then battered Belfort (21-10, 10-6) over the following rounds to pick up a fourth-round submission victory at UFC 152.
Bones, one of the sport's top pound-for-pound fighters, entered the cage for the first time since a May DWI arrest and a subsequent clash with UFC officials. Jones' behavior became even more puzzling when he turned down a fight with replacement killer Chael Sonnen, effectively canceling UFC 151, and placing the blame squarely on Jones' shoulders. UFC 152, which took place Saturday at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, prompted fans and even fellow fighters to turn their nose up on Jones.
Belfort nearly gave the critics their front page story, when he almost made the 25-year-old champion tap out in the first round to a successfully applied armbar attempt. Jones escaped the submission hold and then pummeled Belfort for the next four rounds. There was nothing much the former UFC champ could do; when he remained at distance, Jones chopped him down with front and side kicks to his knees and shines. When he was frontwards and close, Jones popped him with hard knees and punches. In the end, Belfort left Toronto, Canada, a bloody mess.
This latest win in Jones' hat means he has now defeated five consecutive ex-UFC champs, and should do well to shut the naysayers up for a while.