Jon Jones celebrates his victory over Chael Sonnen at UFC 159.(Photo Brad Penner USA TODAY Sports)
NEWARK N.J. While longtime middleweight Chael Sonnen was a long shot in his bid for the UFC light heavyweight title some believed that if he could get champ Jon Jones on his back he might have a chance. Quite simply though he couldn't.
Instead Jones survived a gruesome toe injury and punched out the challenger in the first round.
The light heavyweight title bout headlined Saturday night's UFC 159 event at the Prudential Center in Newark N.J. It aired on pay per view following prelims on FX and Facebook.
As promised Sonnen pushed forward quickly at the bell though it was Jones who scored the first takedown. Sonnen who recently coached opposite Jones on The Ultimate Fighter 17 scrambled up to his feet and Jones surprisingly elected to fight inside the clinch rather than use his massive reach advantage.
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Several takedowns followed as Jones seemed intent to prove he was the superior wrestler. A barrage of punches and elbows followed and Sonnen was clearly in trouble as he lay on his side.
As Jones methodically picked apart the undersized challenger he pulled Sonnen's arm away and blasted him with vicious elbow strikes and a devastating knee to the body. The onslaught ripped apart Sonnen's face and referee Keith Peterson called a stop to the fight with 27 seconds left in the opening frame.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS FROM JONES VS. SONNEN
In a bizarre turn of events as Jones celebrated his victory he looked down to notice a gruesome break of his left big toe. It quite possibly could have threatened to end the fight in freak fashion had Jones not gotten the first round stoppage.
Afterward Jones said he didn't immediately know when the injury occurred.
I don't know but when my adrenaline calms down I'm going to be in some pain tonight he said.
With the win the 25 year old Jones ties UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz's record for the most consecutive defenses of the UFC light heavyweight title at five. It also ends a months long feud with Sonnen that began with this past September's canceled UFC 151 event and continued through their stints as TUF 17 coaches.
I was just so happy to get past Chael Sonnen said Jones (18 1 MMA 12 1 UFC). Chael Sonnen's an awesome opponent. We went through a lot of drama that motivated me a lot.
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Meanwhile Sonnen (27 13 1 MMA 6 6 UFC) has now fallen short in three UFC title fights in his past five appearances which included a pair of defeats to middleweight champ Anderson Silva. He remained gracious in defeat and hinted that his fighting days may be done.
He's an excellent fighter Sonnen said. I have no problem with the decision or the stoppage. He's very powerful. When he went for the kill he never stopped. I thought I was alright but I think he's the better fighter. ... I'm not going to be one of the guys to hang around. If there's not a road to the title then this sport isn't for me. I believe that was probably my last opportunity.
Complete UFC 159 results
Champion Jon Jones def. Chael Sonnen via TKO (strikes) Round 1 4 33
Michael Bisping def. Alan Belcher via technical decision (30 27 30 27 29 28)
Roy Nelson def. Cheick Kongo via knockout (punch) Round 1 2 03
Phil Davis def. Vinny Magalhaes via unanimous decision (30 27 30 27 29 28)
Pat Healy def. Jim Miller via submission (rear naked choke) Round 3 4 02
Rustam Khabilov def. Yancy Medeiros via TKO (thumb injury) Round 1 2 32
Ovince St. Preux def. Gian Villante via majority technical decision (30 28 30 29 29 29) Round 3 0 33
Sara McMann def. Sheila Gaff via TKO (strikes) Round 1 4 06
Bryan Caraway def. Johnny Bedford via submission (guillotine choke) Round 3 4 44
Cody McKenzie def. Leonard Garcia via unanimous decision (29 28 30 27 30 27)
Steven Siler def. Kurt Holobaugh via unanimous decision (29 28 29 28 29 28)
Contributing Matt Erickson. Morgan and Erickson write for MMAjunkie.com part of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group.