Five things we learned from UFC 152
By James Walker
It’s been more than a month since the UFC had an event following the cancellation of UFC 151. But UFC 152 lived up to its billing with drama and several action-packed fights.
Here are five things we learned from UFC 152:
No. 1: Cub Swanson hits hard
Some Mixed Martial Arts fans have not followed Swanson throughout his career and saw him for the first time on UFC pay-per-view Saturday night. It didn’t take long to get a glimpse of his punching power. Swanson connected with a big overhand right to Charles Oliveira in the first round that forced a delayed reaction. Once Oliveira realized how hard he was hit, he crumbled to the ground and was down for several minutes after the fight. Swanson also connected on a series of hard body blows and punches to the head. He’s a featherweight, but his punching power doesn’t match his weight class. This was Swanson’s third straight finish as he moves up the ranks.
No. 2: Matt Hamill has a long way to go
The one-year retirement really hurt Hamill. He returned to the cage with a decision victory over Roger Hollett, but it was one of the ugliest fights of the year. Both fighters were clearly gassed by the second round. Hamill won with his wrestling and showed several glimpses of his old form. But lack of cardio and lack of explosiveness doesn’t make Hamill much of a threat at light heavyweight. He must go back to the drawing board for his next fight.
No. 3: Michael Bisping in title hunt
Few fighters have been in the hunt longer without getting a title shot than Bisping. He’s been in the UFC for nearly six years and fought top-level competition. He’s beaten most but hasn’t won the big fights, which kept him out the title picture. But Bisping won a big fight Saturday against the tough Brian Stann. Bisping showed good standup and wrestling to grind out a unanimous decision that should put him at the top at middleweight. Bisping wants champion Anderson Silva next but must wait a while. Silva will face Stephen Bonnar next month at 205 pounds in a fill-in bout at UFC 153. Then, Silva will take time off. Chris Weidman and Bisping should be at the top of Silva’s to-do list when he returns next year.
No. 4: Demetrious Johnson is George Washington
For months, flyweight tournament finalist Joseph Benavidez talked about being the “George Washington” of the new division by becoming its first champion. It turned out Johnson had just enough to win a split decision in a competitive and entertaining bout. Johnson’s footwork, cardio and pure speed were keys in beating Benavidez. Johnson is perhaps the fastest fighter in the UFC and a tough matchup for anyone.
No. 5: Jon Jones can handle adversity
Jones took a beating in the media and among fight fans for his decision not to defend his light heavyweight title on short notice against Chael Sonnen at UFC 151. His main event at UFC 152 was the beginning of moving past that saga — and Jones did so in dramatic fashion. Jones prevailed in a tougher-than-expected main event against Vitor Belfort. Jones was caught in an armbar in the first round that nearly finished the champion early. Jones said after the fight he never felt that kind of pain but refused to tap. Belfort was not going away easily and Jones had to grind out a fourth-round submission mostly without the use of his right arm. The adversity Jones had to overcome inside the cage was fitting, considering how much adversity Jones faced leading up to this matchup.