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SportsMixed Martial Arts

UFC 159: Jon Jones defeats Chael Sonnen

NEWARK - Jon Jones' entrance to the cage lasted longer than the fight Saturday night at UFC 159.

Dancing to Bob Marley as he first came into the vision of the crowd inside the Prudential Center, the UFC light heavyweight champion also walked past the prep area to say hello to his family.

All the while, Chael Sonnen stood in the cage waving him in, and saying "Wrap it up, Jones" among other things.

Well, once Jones got in that cage, he wrapped up Sonnen in the first round with a TKO at the 4:33 mark. It was the fifth consecutive light heavyweight title defense for Jones (18-1), tying Tito Ortiz's UFC record for the weight class.

"I wanted to make it a point to meet him in the middle of the octagon and get his respect right away," Jones said. "I was the wrestler. I was the dominant one. And it felt good."

Jones said during the week that he thought his wrestling skills were underrated by many, and he set out to prove it -- against one of the best wrestlers in the UFC. Jones (18-1) took down Sonnen three times in the first round.

The first two didn't see Sonnen, a 9-1 underdog, take much damage, But the third one, well, the third one brought about the end of the night for Sonnen (28-13-1). Jones was able to get top position with Sonnen on his back and pinned against the cage.

From there, the champion dropped several massive left elbows and threw a few right hands, leaving Sonnen's face bloodied and his body beaten.

"He's an excellent fighter," Sonnen said. "I have no problem with the decision and stoppage. When he went for the kill, he never stopped. I thought I was all right, but he's the better fighter."

Sonnen talked his way into this fight last August when he agreed to fight Jon Jones on 10 days' notice at UFC 151 on Labor Day Weekend. Jones turned down the fight, citing the short notice to prepare for a different opponent. Jones was originally scheduled to fight Dan Henderson, who pulled out two weeks shy of fight night because of a knee injury. UFC 151 was subsequently canceled. Sonnen then used his gift of gab to blast Jones in interviews, conference calls and Twitter. The two coached against each other on the most recent season of "The Ultimate Fighter."

It wasn't until announcer Joe Rogan began to conduct his post-fight interview inside the cage that Jones noticed he broke his foot. Replays on the big screen showed a mangled big toe on his left foot. Photos later showed a gruesome image of a compound fracture, with the bone sticking out through the skin.

"I'm going to be in some pain tonight," Jones said.

Had Jones not finished Sonnen in the final 30 seconds of the first round, doctors presumably would not have let Jones continue in the second round. That would have given Sonnen the win via TKO and the light heavyweight championship.

It would have created what UFC president Dana White called a "horrible" situation.

Sonnen agreed.

“If they would have called the fight right there, I wouldn’t have any illusions," said Sonnen. "I knew in the first five minutes who the better fighter was. . . . I got my questions answered tonight.”

New York Sports