Jones shows grit, defends title over Teixeira
BALTIMORE — Seven months after narrowly winning the closest fight of his career, Jon Jones returned to his dominant ways at UFC 172. Big time.
Jones (20-1) recorded his UFC-record seventh consecutive light heavyweight title defense, dominating challenger Glover Teixeira over the course of five rounds inside Baltimore Arena. All three judges scored the five-round contest for Jones, 50-45.
It was his first performance since a close decision over Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in September, a fight that sent the 26-year-old Jones to the hospital. This return fight was not nearly as close.
“It was a lot of what we thought it would be,” Jones said. “Glover doesn’t always tend to be versatile. We foresaw a lot of things and sure enough, it happened that way.”
[+] EnlargeTeixeira (22-3), who suffered his first loss in 20 fights, failed to challenge Jones in the way Gustafsson did — or really at all. Jones beat up the Brazilian in every which way, although he never appeared close to knocking him out.
As he always does, Jones controlled range for the entire 25-minute fight. He mostly kept Teixeira at the end of his 84-inch wingspan early, before taking the fight to him in close quarters in the third and fourth rounds.
“It was a lot of improv,” said Jones, on the fight. “Game plan was to stick takedowns and pick him apart from a distance. I realized he was winding up on his punches so I switched game plans and fought at extremely close range. It worked out great.”
Working behind the jab and kicks in the first round, Jones systematically outworked Teixeira in a building right down the street from MT Bank Stadium, where Jones’ older brother Arthur plays defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens.
He repeatedly placed his left hand on Teixeira’s forehead to obstruct his vision, which prompted Teixeira to complain in the second round of eye pokes. Referee Dan Miragliotta warned Jones, but that didn’t stop him from doing it later in the fight.
One aspect of his game Jones didn’t get to show was his top game, which helped capture the title in 2011. He was scored one takedown early in the second round but couldn’t keep Teixeira down. That would have little effect on the fight’s outcome.
After the bout, Teixeira, who said he suffered a shoulder injury, credited Jones for a strong performance.
“I did my strategy,” Teixeira said. “My strategy was to try and push him — try to hit him with hooks. But hey, he capitalized. He beat me.”
An elbow up the middle by Jones opened a deep cut above Teixeira’s right eye in the third round. Sensing perhaps Teixeira, 34, was wearing down, Jones turned up his punching volume in the clinch along the fence with brutal body punches.
The crowd booed Teixeira in the fifth round, when his mouthpiece fell out in what might have been a good chance for him to take a break. Prior to Miragliotta breaking the action, Jones had rocked Teixeira in an exchange.
Jones, the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world according to ESPN.com prior ot the bout, extends his win streak to 11. His only loss came via disqualification against Matt Hamill in December 2009 in a fight he was clearly winning.
The Endicott, N.Y. native set the UFC record for consecutive light heavyweight title defenses in the Gustafsson win. He is three shy of former middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s overall record of 10.