UFC 135: Payout Perspective

September 25, 2011

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. In the main event, Jon Jones defeated Quentin “Rampage” Jackson to retain the Light Heavyweight title.

Jones stops Rampage

Jon Jones handled Rampage Jackson to retain his Light Heavyweight title. Its becoming apparent that Jones’ length is his greatest attribute. Jackson looked motivated, in shape and had the correct game plan to deal with Jones. However, Jones was ready for Jackson and it was apparent that Jones could do whatever he wanted with Jackson. The 3rd round after the bell throw of Jackson and eventual choke served as notice that Jones is here to stay.

As for Jackson, it was weird for a loser of a bout to call out someone else. But, Rampage vs. Shogun Rua would help a UFC Japan card that has its share of skeptics.

Kos KOs Hughes

The fight was entertaining until the last few seconds of the first round when Koscheck poured it on and KO’d Hughes. For Hughes, the KO is the second of its kind as BJ Penn did the same to him last year. Its hard to say if Hughes will or should retire, but for a Hall of Famer to be knocked unconscious like that is not good for a legacy. For Koscheck, it was a nice return from December’s injury. The win should put him back into the welterweight title picture.

Attendance and Gate

Although not verified by the Colorado state athletic commission, Dana White announced the attendance at the Pepsi Center as 16,344 for a gate of $2 million. (h/t MMA Junkie)

Bonuses

MMA Junkie reports that the following fighters were awarded $75,000 each for their fights.

Fight of the Night – Jones vs. Jackson
KO of the Night – Koscheck
Submission of the Night – Nate Diaz
Diaz displayed his jiu jitsu proficiency in submitting Takanori Gomi. It was a textbook transition. Hopefully, in a push for an exciting fight, the UFC does not stray from its roots.

Promotion of the Fight

UFC Fight Night 25 featured a Jones-Rampage head to head debate. The same was done on ESPN. I have to say I am not a fan of these head to head debates. I know its supposed to draw heat but it seems forced.

More and more, UFC fighters are getting their chance on late night television. Jones and Rampage on Jimmy Kimmel to sell the fight.

It was a little weird to see the two sitting so comfortably close to each other and sharing their couch with Dr. Phil.

Press Conference

The Jones-Rampage press conference had its share of funny moments. The best being the picture of Rampage clowning Jon Jones’ “stare into the distance” when they both did the staredown at the initial press conference.

The drama of the alleged “spy” in Rampage’s camp brought some intrigue to the matchup. But, most people were interested in the matchup regardless of the “spy”.

Sponsorships

MMA Elite, Harley Davidson, MMA Authentics, Edge, Musclepharm, Xyience, Toyo Tires were all in the Octagon with Bud Light taking the center again. Video game Gears of War3 (for XBox 360) signage was also present in the Octagon. It also was the presenting sponsor for UFC 135. Noticeably a lot of different sponsors in the Octagon this time around.

Musclepharm – Not only did it announce its new partnership with the UFC earlier in the week, but its gym was featured during the UFC Countdown show as Rampage trained for the fight there. It also was the spot where Rampage discovered the “spy” from the Jones camp. Notwithstanding the implication that a MP exec was a spy, it was a good week of activation for MP. The MP gym was adorned with its memorable logo.

The US Marines maintained its Keys to Victory segment featuring Koscheck and Hughes.

FighterxFashion has a good rundown of the walk out wear from UFC 135 including Rampage “chains”. Just in time for Halloween…or your next street fight (j/k, I hope).

Interesting that Jon Jones did not have any special brand activation with any of his sponsors. If I missed it, let me know.

Odds and ends

- The high altitude coupled with the Heavyweight match-ups lead to two matches that slowed down considerably as the match progressed. Maybe some booking info to learn from in the future.

- Whenever Rashard Evans steps into the Octagon with a suit, he receives boos. It reminds me a little of Ric Flair. The pinstripes did add to the “heel” status he received last night. Notwithstanding, it was a little awkward for Evans after the stare-down with Jones since it looked like he wanted to leave but Rampage was still in the Octagon. It was like he was trapped a bit. It was a good spot but

- Don’t mean to talk about pro wrestling too much, but did Ben Rothwell come out to the Monday Night Raw theme?

- Did anyone notice Rampage’s corner-man whisper in his ear prior to his Rogan post-fight interview. It was like he reminded him to challenge Shogun in Japan.

UPDATE re PPV Buys

MMA Supremacy did an informal poll on the anticipated PPV buys for this pay per view. With Rampage, Jones, Hughes and Koscheck at the top of the card, many believed this to be between 500K-700K in buys with a smattering of people believing it to be 300-400K in buys. It will be interesting to see. Although Jones is the biggest rising star in the UFC, he has yet to become a PPV draw. The UFC hopes that this will change soon.

18 Responses to “UFC 135: Payout Perspective”

  1. juan on September 25th, 2011 7:04 PM

    Don’t have a couple 260+ lb chubby HWs fight at altitude. That was horrible. It was like watching two zombies fight.

  2. Machiel Van on September 25th, 2011 8:10 PM

    “Jones is hear to stay,”
    “For Koscheck, it was a nice return from December’s injury. The win should put him back into the middleweight title picture.” ??????

    Ben Rothwell should be cut. I for one have no desire to EVER see him fight again. Ben Rothwell vs Gilbert Yvel + Ben Rothwell vs Mark Hunt = FAIL.

  3. Jose Mendoza on September 25th, 2011 9:58 PM

    Machiel Van:

    Thanks for pointing that out.

  4. Jack Frost on September 26th, 2011 4:34 AM

    Machiel Van, +1 million. Rothwell has done nothing but choke ever since he finally got to the UFC.

  5. BrainSmasher on September 26th, 2011 4:50 AM

    I am tired of seeing Jones face the same style fighter over and over. Talk about beating a dead horse. OK, we get it. He can beat slow flat footed wrestlers who stand in one spot. Lets see some diversity. Rampage had no chance for the same reason he couldnt put away Jardine. He never throws more than 1 punch and he is slow on his feet. It looked like QJ was chained to the floor. Jackson would throw a punch, Jones would slip it and turn his back as he ran away. In stead of staying on him and letting his hands go. QJ would take one step and quit chasing him. Jones is to fast for Jackson to ever land 1 big punch. He needed to make Jones react. Then you can catch him on the 2nd or 3rd strike while using your feet to stay inside his reach and in his face. Use some faints to make him react. Jones has no power in his hands. Most strikers would show no respect for his power by going after him and try to test his chin which is unknown. Jackson had no chance to win keeping the status quo. He needed to leave his comfort zone and as he admitted after the Jardine fight. He just cant make himself fight aggressively.

  6. Mark Roe on September 26th, 2011 5:44 AM

    What’s up with the lack of presence from Tapout? When did the cut men start wearing Clinch gear?

  7. Jason Cruz on September 26th, 2011 8:39 AM

    @MV,

    Good catch. Thanks for pointing out. Don’t think Kos would do well in the middleweight division. :-)

  8. Jay M on September 26th, 2011 11:26 AM

    @BrainSmasher you have some great points. you cant throw 8-10 punches and 2 leg kicks and expect to beat some one like Jones. Jackson has not looked good since pride.

  9. Machiel Van on September 26th, 2011 1:26 PM

    Jason: Only because I know you’re better than that :)

    Brain,

    Are you interested in seeing Jones fight Evans? He’s far from a “flat-footed” wrestler, and he’s faster than Rampage (and Shogun even on a good day IMO), but he will deal with the same reach disadvantage that all of Jones opponents have had. If Rashad can’t take him down, I don’t see that one being any more competitive than Jones vs Rampage. Beyond him though, there really aren’t many compelling match-ups left for Jones at LHW at this point. Crazy that I can say that after only one title defense, but alas it seems to be true. Winner of Hendo vs Shogun? Please. Machida? Good luck with that counterstriking and leaping in and out against an 84.5″ reach. Gustaffson? Looks long and tall, but only has a 76.5″ reach. Phil Davis? Maybe, but he’ll have to learn to be much more sound and aggressive on the feet. Jon Jones vs Anderson Silva in 2013 please.

  10. Machiel Van on September 26th, 2011 1:28 PM

    Whoops, meant in 2012 please.

  11. Punchtrunk on September 26th, 2011 5:47 PM

    Silva vs Jones!!! Yes!!! Definitely!

    It’s good to see that the light heavyweight division finally has a “real” champion. I was sooooo tired of seeing one-fight champions continually losing their belts… Now it can be said that the UFC has solid belt holders in every weight class.

    Slight problem, just about every title holder is heads and shoulders above everyone else in their weight classes (except HW and LW)… the UFC needs to put together some “champion vs. champion” super fights.

    Silva vs. Jones would be the hottest, no reach advantage for either side, both with unpredictible styles… Whoo wee…! And Silva has already fought at that weight class, so why not???

    Finally, sad about the Hugh’s results. Why does he keep trying to stand with other fighters when his bread and butter was the ground and pound? He should have learned from the last Penn fight that he should stick to his bread and butter.

    And fight of the night? Sorry, it wasn’t Bones/Rampage… It was the two heavyweights. Ben and the super samoan showed heart…

  12. Morgan on September 26th, 2011 7:14 PM

    I am tired of seeing Jones face the same style fighter over and over. Talk about beating a dead horse. OK, we get it. He can beat slow flat footed wrestlers who stand in one spot. Lets see some diversity. Rampage had no chance for the same reason he couldnt put away Jardine. He never throws more than 1 punch and he is slow on his feet. It looked like QJ was chained to the floor. Jackson would throw a punch, Jones would slip it and turn his back as he ran away. In stead of staying on him and letting his hands go. QJ would take one step and quit chasing him. Jones is to fast for Jackson to ever land 1 big punch. He needed to make Jones react. Then you can catch him on the 2nd or 3rd strike while using your feet to stay inside his reach and in his face. Use some faints to make him react. Jones has no power in his hands. Most strikers would show no respect for his power by going after him and try to test his chin which is unknown. Jackson had no chance to win keeping the status quo. He needed to leave his comfort zone and as he admitted after the Jardine fight. He just cant make himself fight aggressively.
    +1

  13. CodeMaster on September 26th, 2011 7:25 PM

    This was a good night of fights. I was surprised Rampage lasted as long as he did. He ducked under a number of Jones’ eblows and kicks. I am of the opinion that Rampage ran out of gas–that is why he was so easily submitted in the 4th. Jones was effective the few times he kicked–but as usual, he shows once again that he is one-dimensional, relying on boxing and Frankenstein footwork.

    Jones should be concerned that his big unorthodox shots were so easily anticipated by Rampage. If Rampage can avoid those shots, so can Rashad Evans.

    I found Rogan’s commentary a little too glowingly effusive–Jones looked good, but not that good. Jones still needs to work on a killer jab–with that reach of his–and to follow up with combos. Tactical retreat is one thing, and running like a little girl is another. He needs to have counters to rushes–such as dropping levels and taking down charging opponents. The best time for a straight reverse kick is when your opponent is rushing you–then he cannot avoid the kick–it takes good timing though.

    Koscheck in effect, retired Hughes. Koscheck hits hard–but his technical striking is not that great–and only emphasized that Hughes can’t stand with the top tier WW’s, and his only way to survive is to take it to the ground. Koscheck has first class takedown defense–so that was a tall order. Koscheck is in no-man’s land in the WW division–and MW does not look promising for an extended run–but you never know.

    Nate Diaz looked great against Gomi, but he could not prevent the confidence turning to cockiness when he taunted Gomi during the fight–then spoke of his respect for Gomi after the fight. The Diaz brothers need to make it personal. Nate’s boxing looked crisp and his BJJ, as always, is off the charts. LW is a better home for his skillset and body type.

  14. CodeMaster on September 26th, 2011 7:27 PM

    “Jones was effective the few times he kicked”

    Meant to say “Jackson” was effective the few times he kicked.

  15. BrainSmasher on September 26th, 2011 8:59 PM

    Machiel Van

    Evans has speed. But He also has a glass chin. He goes down every time he is hit. Look how slow Thiago and Rampage are and they both rocked him with the only strikes they landed. Jones has no power but he should be able to pick Evans a part all day. And i think he is stronger and will control him in the clinch.

    There is much better fights. Machida is a counter guy sure. But Jones has an untested chin. Who better to test it than one of the most accurate strikers in the UFC who has power and some of the best takedown defense? He also is fast and will be able to avoid Jones high risk strikes and make him use his hands which suck. If Jones has a good chin and survives then it will be a close fight. But his chin will be tested in that fight unlike all the other fights. Hendo is another who has wrestling and durability and power to stand in there and go after Jones and test him. Jones has weakness’ but until someone actually fights him and not just stand there then we will never know what they are. We know his hands are weak, we know his chin is unknown, we havent seen him on his back. We havent seen him face an aggressive fighter who comes after him and makes it a war. When someone does this we will see what he is made of. There are another handful of guys i believe would test him more than anyone has thus far. At this point the tools i think that would make for a good fight is speed, takedown defense, aggressiveness, striking power, toughness. Anyone who can get to his chin has a better chance than anyone so far. Machida, Hendo, King Mo. To a lessor extend Feijao and Gustafsson.

    I tend to think Jones chin may be suspect. Most guys as defensive as him are. If his chin is solid then it will be hard for anyone to beat him. If it is suspect then he will still be hard to be for reasons we have already seen. But if that is the case i would pick Machida, Hendo, Mo, and Feijao to beat him.

    I dont think Davis can do it. He is kinda slower than you would think. His striking sucks even by wrestler standards. His takedowns struggled to get Lil Nog down for a round in a half. He just hasnt adapted to MMA yet.

    I do think Anderson would destroy Jones. Jones can only lands his power weapons on slow people. Without knees and spinning elbows he has to use his hands. Which as we saw again he refuses to throw punches. He has pencil wrists and has no confidence in his punches and they put him at risk to get hit when he leans in to throw them. Jones may be able to lay and play him but he will be ficed into a kick boxing match on the feet without a prayer.

  16. Diego on September 27th, 2011 5:29 AM

    There are a couple of interesting fights out there for Jones, but Hendo is the one I’m looking forward to. Granite chin, iron fists and aggressive style. I think unlike Rampage Hendo will surge forward trying to land that right hand and if he misses, he’ll be happy to work in the clinch. He’s also good in scrambles, very aggressive when things get sloppy, where Rampage always seemed to back out, plant his feet and look to re-set.

    Rampage did a lot right defensively. He made Jones miss a lot. But for some reason he couldn’t put it into high gear and really go after the kid. It was frustrating to watch, but it’s par for the course for Quinton these days. Still one of my favorite fighters, but after nearly every fight I feel like he could have done more.

    Jones was not as good as Rogan was making him out to be. He was good, I’m not saying otherwise, but Rampage was making him miss a lot.

    I think altitude hurt everyone on the card over 170 lbs. Even Jones and Rampage were fighting in molasses. The HWs? Forget it. The UFC needs to ban HW fights at altitude. Put those big boys at sea level where they may have more than 5 minutes of fight in them.

    I don’t give Rashad much of a chance against Jones. The reach will be tough to overcome, and I don’t know that he’s a better wrestler.

    Machida is a wildcard. I think he has the skills to give Jones a fight, but he would have to go against his nature (something Rampage failed to do). He’s not going to win the fight from the outside eating long jabs and straight kicks for 5 rounds. But if he makes a sustained effort to come forward and go after Jones’ legs…that could be something.

  17. Machiel Van on September 27th, 2011 7:55 AM

    Just to throw it out there, in the future, Jones vs Thiago Silva? Purely from a stylistic standpoint, who is more likely to throw caution to the wind and get in Jones’s face than Thiago Silva? Could be an interesting fight down the road… I had forgotten about him, but his suspension is up in a few months… if he can keep it clean, that’s a fight I would like to see down the road. I agree; if someone really wants to beat Jones, they’ve got to be extremely aggressive and find a way to get in his face.

  18. BrainSmasher on September 27th, 2011 6:34 PM

    Im not sold on T Silva over all skill. But on the feet he would pose problems for Jones. He is very slow though and he doesnt have a super chin but against Jones he dont need to have a great chin. Im sure Jones would try to take him down and win a decision. But on the feet Silva would have 5 rounds to hit him with something. I could see Silva giving him problems in the clinch too.

    But you see what im saying about Jones. He got the easiest fights for his style he could ask for. Almost everyone left at 205 pose more of a threat than anyone he has faced. The UFC has been very smart in building him. Bellator needs to take notes instead of throwing all their fighters in a crap shoot tournament. Match making is how you build stars. They dont over protect liek Strikeforce did with their name fighters or Elite did with Kimbo. But they sometimes put off bad fights for guys for a while to establish more contenders or more Draws. It is a science.

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