Jon Jones TKOs Shogun Rua

Jones puts Rua in his proper place

It was all Bones and it was all Jones as height and youth beat bulk and experience. The physical advantages, more than skills and power, won over damaged goods. Jon Jones is now the toast of MMA much like Lyoto Machida was after he beat Rashad Evans for the UFC lightheavyweight title. Machida appeared untouchable and invincible when no one figured out yet how to beat him. Then his compatriot Rua came with a great strategy and all the wiles of his experience and defeated Machida. Jones is where Machida was and it will be a fantastic matchup if the UFC will get the two in the Octagon down the line; that is if Machida prevails over Randy Couture in UFC 129.

From the onset it was clear that Rua had big problems overcoming the 10.5-inch reach advantage of Jones, who used his left arm to keep the defending champion at bay. Rua was unable to utilize his power and it’s puzzling why he did not push the fight early to neutralize Jones’ length and youthful stamina. Even if the match had gone to five rounds (and it was rather evident that it wouldn’t as Jones had his way with Rua early on with takedowns, strikes and submission attempts) Rua would have been lucky to win a single round. He would have been hard pressed to earn a draw on a single round. So it happened that Jones won by TKO (referee stoppage) in 2:37 of Round 3.

If the 29-year-old Rua had come with better strategy and more aggression, he could have caught Jones in a clinch, tripped or taken him down with a quick double-leg but that kind of finesse never has been in Rua’s arsenal anyway. He’s a muay-Thai-style kind of striker who stands in front of his opponent, covers up to defend, and looks for angles to land his shots or simply trade bombs to see who’s the toughest. His mode of attack against Machida in their second fight was probably the best-planned bout of his entire career. So it’s perplexing why his team could not come up with fight plan against a foe who is not as slippery as Machida but has youth, athleticism/skills, and power.

Jones at no moment doubted he would not win since Rua hardly put up a fight. Rua looked like the old spent man that he looked like during his first few fights in the UFC. So Jones, 23, becomes the youngest champion ever of the UFC and Rua is now of the oldest to have held the UFC lightheavyweight belt.

To paraphrase Mike Goldberg’s oft-mentioned axiom: Youth beats experience when experience doesn’t come with a strategy. Let’s forget a Rashad Evans (who’s older than Rua by two years) title match for Jones. Not another “old man.” It’s rather easy to see how that fight will turn out. If the UFC wants more PPV moolah and a bigger take at the gates but still wants Jones to fight someone much older, it should arrange a superfight between Jones against an old fighter who knows how to use his experience and his available skills: Anderson Silva. That will be a true war for the ages.


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