This weekend, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will return to Denver for the first time since 1995. Denver was home to the first ever UFC event in 1993, so it holds a special place in UFC history.
UFC 135: Jones vs Rampage will be held in Denver, Colorado’s Pepsi Center on September 24, 2011. The main event pits current Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones against former Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
While this will be Jones’ first title defense since winning the belt with a victory over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128 earlier this year, it hardly feels like it. Jones, as the youngest champion in UFC history, is surrounded by hype. Many fans already feel that Jones will walk through all challengers in his weight class and should be moving up to Heavyweight or fighting Anderson Silva, one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time, to actually face a worthy opponent.
Most of the hype comes from Jones’ fighting style, which is even more impressive than his 7-1 record in the UFC. Jones has dominated all challengers thus far (his lone loss was a highly disputed disqualification) and shows virtually no weakness. He has finished 5 of his 7 opponents in the Octagon.
On the flip side, Rampage Jackson holds a 7-2 record in the UFC and was never finished in those bouts. “His punches and kicks, I’ll walk right through it, I don’t care about it. I’m gonna bring it, and I don’t think his chin can withstand it,” says Rampage. If Rampage can close the distance, it is entirely possible that he can put Jones to sleep. After all, Rampage has 14 knockout victories in his 40 fight professional career.
Also of interest will be the Q&A session on the Friday before the event, hosted by none other than Rashad Evans, the next man in line to challenge for the title. Evans, 11-1-1 in the UFC, has a history with both main event fighters. Evans defeated Rampage at UFC 114, and spent some time training with Jones, although they have since had a very public falling out. This has many fans very intrigued about the potential Jones vs Evans match up.
Another featured bout on the card will be Matt Hughes vs. Josh Koscheck (a late fill-in for original opponent Diego Sanchez, who withdrew due to a broken hand.) Hughes is a former champion while Koscheck is coming off a loss to current Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre. Despite both being elite fighters in the division, the two have never faced each other. Koscheck blames Hughes for avoiding him all these years, and recently called him out on Twitter to make sure he accepted the fight.
UFC 135 Fight Card
Main Card (PPV)
- Light Heavyweight Championship bout: Jon Jones vs. Quinton Jackson
- Welterweight bout: Matt Hughes vs. Josh Koscheck
- Heavyweight bout: Travis Browne vs. Rob Broughton
- Lightweight bout: Nate Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi
- Heavyweight bout: Ben Rothwell vs. Mark Hunt
Preliminary Card (Spike TV)
- Lightweight bout: Tony Ferguson vs. Aaron Riley
- Middleweight bout: Nick Ring vs. Tim Boetsch
Preliminary Card (Facebook)
- Featherweight bout: Junior Assunção vs. Eddie Yagin
- Bantamweight bout: Takeya Mizugaki vs. Cole Escovedo
- Light Heavyweight bout: James Te Huna vs. Ricardo Romero
The UFC 135 live broadcast can be ordered on PPV. Two prelim bouts can be seen on Spike TV, and the rest will be streamed on the UFC’s Facebook page.
Levi Bloom is the editor of MMAFanGuide.com, home of the MMA Fan Guide, a site dedicated to helping fans make sense of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA.)