Jones shines bright

Keeping up with the Joneses

Last Updated: 01/07/11 3:42pm

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Jone Jones: impressive against Rua

Jone Jones: impressive against Rua

Sky Bet

When Jon Jones defeated Ryan Bader in the 2nd round of their fight back in February he was offered a title shot against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.

" He didn't just beat Rua, he made the champion look ordinary. He changed things up throughout the three rounds using angles to throw his punches and elbows and then finishing it all off with a hard knee to the chin."
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This was all just six weeks ago but Jones, who probably wound down after the Bader fight so as not to peak too early, went back into training to focus on the challenge. Originally Jones' training partner, "Sugar" Rashad Evans was supposed to fight Rua but he pulled out with an injury so Jones was getting a shot much earlier than expected.

Jones came into the UFC undefeated at UFC 87 in August 2008. He can punch and has an awkward style that fighters find hard to hit. He had only one loss on his record by disqualification against Matt Hamill for illegal elbows in a fight he was winning.

Rua, the former Pride champion, had been out of the Octagon since defeating Lyoto Machida in their rematch in May 2010. He came into the UFC at UFC 76 in September 2007 but surprisingly lost to Forrest Griffin by submission. He came back to win two straight before controversially losing to Machida at UFC 104 and then he got the rematch, which he won. He also has power but suffered a few submission losses throughout his career so it's possible his ground game may not be as good as his opponent's.

Last weekend UFC 128 took place in Newark, New Jersey, over 5 x 5 minute rounds for Rua's light heavyweight title. Jones, a touted star, was relaxed as the first round got under way. He came straight out with a flying knee attempt to Rua's head, then a spinning kick followed by a takedown within 30 seconds of the first round.

On the ground, Jones was in his opponent's guard as Rua attempted a leg triangle but Jones got in a choke and dropped some hard elbows to Rua's face. He kept Rua on the floor for most of the round and landed some more hard elbows to his body.

Rua got to his feet near the end of the first but Jones continued to hit him with knees and punches getting another takedown at the end of the round. He looked exhausted and lost for what to do next.

Jones began the second round with some kicks and then threw a spinning left elbow to Rua's head. Rua pushed forward but couldn't do anything as his opponent was picking his shots at will. A takedown by Jones kept Rua on the ground for the last two minutes where again he did some hard ground and pound mostly with his elbows and his opponent's face was showing the wounds.

In the third Rua was totally exhausted as he attempted a leg lock but Jones switched it around taking him down. He landed a hard accurate left hook to his opponent's head while Rua was on his back but he was able to get back to his feet.

Jones could sense the end was coming as he landed a beautiful left hook to the right side of Rua's body. He winced and bent over but that was a mistake as Jones landed a left knee to his head knocking him down and out at 2 minutes 37 seconds of round number three.

At 6' 4 " Jones has the longest reach in the UFC at 84½ inches and is now the youngest UFC champion ever. He didn't just beat Rua, he made the champion look ordinary. He changed things up throughout the three rounds using angles to throw his punches and elbows and then finishing it all off with a hard knee to the chin.

This 23 year old has a gift of fighting and could be champion for a long time. Next up for him is a fight with his training partner Evans. But down the line he could step up to heavyweight. Nothing is impossible for Jon Jones.

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