Two cards. One night. Mixed martial arts, the global sport that it is, was in full force Sunday evening deep into the morning Monday. From the continued growth of two of the UFC's most impressive prospects in Broomfield, Colo., to the return of a maligned heavyweight and a Dream featherweight championship fight in Yokohama, Japan, there was plenty to take away from a busy few hours of fights.
If ability was the sole indicator of greatness, we'd acknowledge Jon Jones future Hall of Fame enshrinement and move on. But it's never that simple. The best fighters possess far more than athletic talent or an inclination to make violence an ally. It's the intangibles really, and Jones -- now 11-1 after breaking the right side of
Physically: a beast. Long. Lanky. Full of speed and athleticism.
Mentally: strong and unencumbered. He'll push back when its required, and thus far doesn't seem prone to uneven focus, or the whims of chippy challengers.
Technically: unique and rooted in wrestling. There is a natural flow to the way Jones fights, and while some of that can be attributed to the confidence that comes with being a 22-year-old man, much of it has to do with his exploding skill set.
Vera offered challenges on all three fronts, and Jones, of Endicott, N.Y., responded amazingly well. He's unquestionably the best light heavyweight prospect in the UFC -- though
Some would call me foolish for wanting to see Dos Santos, 25, and Velasquez, 27, meet at this stage of their careers. I can see the e-mails already. Wouldn't a contender for the UFC be killed off if the talented duo came together before each grabbed a chance at a championship? In the near-term, perhaps, though "killed off" is a tad strong since dos Santos and Velasquez are young enough to rebound from a loss.
Think about the winner for a moment. The UFC would have at its disposal the hottest young heavyweight in the sport, tested against his toughest peer -- a man likely to be a rival for years to come -- having without doubt established himself ready for a title shot.
Dos Santos, who pushed his record to 11-1 Sunday night after smashing a left hook into the mouth of fellow Brazilian
And since I brought it up, I'd make Velasquez, who in February stopped Dos Santos' mentor
Brandon Vera's right cheek started swelling almost instantly. Gabriel Gonzaga absorbed multiple shots to the head after he was dropped.
Just some of the aftermath of a treacherous night.
• Dream must consider implementing meaningful drug-testing, otherwise it will deservedly earn the reputation as a haven for P.E.D. users like heavyweight
• Too much boxing made
Two hours before doors opened Sunday at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo., a UFC official informed Sherdog.com -- the largest independent MMA media site on the Web, the official MMA content partner for ESPN.com, and my home as an executive editor from 2004-2008 -- that its access had been pulled indefinitely because of a "executive decision," multiple sources confirmed to SI.com.
Asked to comment on the decision to revoke Sherdog.com's access, UFC president
Sherdog.com went without access to the UFC from late 2005 until the middle of 2009, when it was allowed to return Octagon-side.