UFC 159 was a crazy night of eye pokes, a dislocated thumb, and a sliced toe. Not to mention the bizarre stoppage of Villante vs. St. Preux in the prelims. I know that referees aren't perfect, but that call was ridiculous. At any rate, the fights were still pretty good overall, and here is my perspective on them:
McMann vs. Gaff: McMann continued her undefeated streak by taking Gaff down, getting a mounted crucifix, and pounding her face into the canvas. We're one match closer to an Olympian vs. Olympian superfight! Rousey has Zingano next, and I would love to see McMann tested against someone like Sarah Kaufman before the two medalists face each other.
Khabilov vs. Medeiros: Sambo is back! I predicted the winner of this match at Burgers & Suds, but the means of winning was disappointing. The referee stopped the fight after Medeiros dislocated his thumb trying to stop one of three takedowns. Now, I'm all for fighter preservation, but:
1) Cerrone was able to stand toe-to-toe with Nate Diaz with a broken jaw
2) Faber battled Mike Brown with two injured hands in WEC
3) Hendricks was able to beat Condit after breaking his left hand on "The Natural Born Killer's" jaw
In light of those circumstances, a guy should be allowed to finish a bout if all that he has is a broken thumb. Nonetheless, I look forward to seeing more of Khabilov. I don't think he'll become the next Fedor Emelianenko, but he is definitely a good prospect.
Miller vs. Healy: Don't mess with the Irish! This awesome back-and-forth grappling battle ended with Healy making Miller "go night-night" with a rear naked choke in the third round. I had it even between those two going into the final round and was certain that it was going to be a draw. At any rate, with monsters like these guys to contend with, Benson Henderson will have a hard time beating Anderson Silva's records.
Davis vs. Magalhaes: So much for the spectacular grappling war I had envisioned. Davis opted for a smarter option: picking Magalhaes apart with jabs and one-two combinations in a standup duel. He even mocked Magalhaes in Round 3 by spanking him with his foot when his opponent pulled guard. From a technical perspective, it was a great fight. So of course, all the loudmouths who wanted to see a Street Fighter-esque KO booed the entire time.
Nelson vs. Kongo: After one wild ridgehand and a right to the face on the ground, Kongo was out. It was so quick that I missed it and had to watch the replay. Nelson called out the winner of UFC 160 and I do hope that he gets a title shot one day. However, I don't think that Dana White will let him leapfrog the winner of Hunt vs. Dos Santos. Maybe if Nelson loses his next match and gets a drug suspension, he'll be allowed to cut in line.
Bisping vs. Belcher: Not to be too critical of Bisping, but he seriously needs a new strength training regimen. There's no reason that Belcher should have made it into Round 3 with "The Count" hitting him from every known angle in mathematics. Nonetheless, the five-time British national kickboxing champion had that match won long before the nastiest eye poke which I have ever seen. Belcher got it right in his surgically-repaired eye. Suffice it to say that it was bloody and gruesome. Bisping was apologetic and tried to be classy at the end of the match. As far as Belcher goes...I just hope he'll be alright!
Jones vs. Sonnen: Jones finally redeemed himself for UFC 151, and Sonnen went out on his shield in spite of being completely overmatched. As he stated during the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Jones wanted to "Chael Sonnen Chael Sonnen" and he succeeded. He used Sonnen's own strategy against him, taking him down and smothering him while pummeling his face with strikes. Sonnen tried his best to fight back with punches and knees in the clinch, but he was simply overpowered. At the end of the first round, Jones kneed him in the body and finished him with elbows and punches against the cage.
In a bizarre twist, Jones managed to break his toe at the end of the fight. You could literally see the bone! He toughed it out and gave the interview anyway, but he looked like he was going to go into shock and faint. Sonnen gave respect where it was due, saying that Jones was the man and that the champ was the better fighter that night. While Sonnen said he would think about what he would do next, he realized that this was probably going to be his last title shot. At any rate, after stepping up like this, and his outstanding skills at promoting/commentary, I'm pretty sure that Dana White is going to keep him around. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Sonnen went home to find a six-figure contract for a marketing position at the UFC in his inbox. Meanwhile, Jones has regained my respect, and I can now enjoy watching him dominate people in the light heavyweight division again.