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Jon Jones wins light heavyweight championship at UFC 128

Jones took down Shogun to emerge as UFC’s youngest champion at 23

Image

Mel Evans / AP

Jon Jones, second right, stands with others wearing a light heavyweight belt after defeating Mauricio Rua in their mixed martial arts match at UFC 128 Saturday, March 19, 2011, in Newark, N.J. Jones won by TKO.

UFC 128 Fight Night

Jon Jones, right, kicks  Mauricio Rua  during their mixed martial arts match at UFC 128  Saturday, March 19, 2011, in Newark, N.J. Jones won by TKO. Launch slideshow »

UFC 128: Jon Jones

Light heavyweight championship contender Jon Jones speaks with media for the last time before his main event bout with Shogun Rua at UFC 128 in Newark, N.J. The 23-year old Jones is a 2-to-1 favorite in the fight.

NEWARK, N.J. — The flashy newcomer proved too much for the battle-tested veteran at UFC 128.

Jon Jones, 23, destroyed Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to win the light heavyweight championship belt and become UFC’s youngest champion of all time at Prudential Center.

“It feels so good,” Jones said after his victory in the octagon. “It’s a testament that dreams can come true.”

Jones won via TKO at 2:37 of the third round after a barrage of ground-and-pound. It was an inevitable finish after Jones came out early and staggered Rua.

Jones landed a few strikes before taking Shogun to the ground in the first round and wailing away. An exhausted and battered Rua barely made it out of the round.

“The strategy was to fight Jon Jones anywhere, wherever the fight goes,” Rua said through his translator. “I have to congratulate him. He was better than me.”

In the co-main event, mixed martial arts mainstay Urijah Faber won a unanimous decision over Eddie Wineland. Faber dropped the first round but came back to win 29-28 on all three judges’ scorecards.

“He caught me a little off guard coming at me with the clench (in the first round),” Faber said following his win in the octagon. “He’s a good fighter.”

New school also toppled the old guard in the first bout of the pay-per-view. After a close fight, Brendan Schaub caught Mirko Cro Cop late in the third round with a right.

Cro Cop fell to the mat and Schaub followed with another strike before referee Herb Dean pulled him off at 3:44 of the third round. The victory marked Schaub’s fourth in a row as “The Ultimate Fighter” season 10 alum continues to work his way up the heavyweight division ranks.

The local Miller brothers, who train in nearby Whippany, N.J., had mixed results. Dan Miller, who was a late fill-in for Yoshihiro Akiyama, lost a unanimous decision to Nate Marquardt. All three judges gave Marquardt the welterweight bout 30-27.

Jim Miller was the exact opposite. Younger brother looked well on his way to a 30-27 unanimous decision victory when he scored a TKO over Kamal Shalorus at 2:15 of the third round.

Jim Miller dazed Shalorus with an uppercut before following with a knee and some hard punches once he went down. Jim Miller has now won seven fights in a row and could be close to a lightweight title shot.

“I’m ready for it,” Jim Miller said in the octagon after his win.

Below are the full results from the preliminary card. Check back later for full coverage of UFC 128.

Luiz Cane defeated Eliot Marshall via TKO at 2:15 of the first round. Cane floored Marshall earlier and continued pounding him on the ground until the referee stepped in to call it.

Lightweights Edson Barboza and Anthony Njokuani engaged in a back-and-forth kickboxing battle. Barboza came out on top over Njokuani by virtue of a unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 29-28 with a spinning back kick from Barboza in the final 10 seconds possibly serving as the deciding factor.

Mike Pyle beat Ricardo Almeida via unanimous decision in a welterweight fight with all three judges scoring it 29-28. The scores were controversial, as Almeida appeared to control both the first and second rounds. But all of the judges thought Pyle did enough to secure the first round.

Gleison Tibau defeated Kurt Pellegrino via split decision in their lightweight bout. Pellegrino clearly won the second round and appeared to be on the verge of a knockout, but Tibau recovered to win the third round on all three judges’ scorecards. All three official tallies were 29-28 with one siding with Pellegrino.

Bantamweight Joe Benavidez beat Ian Loveland by unanimous decision. Two judges awarded Benavidez a 30-27 score, while the third gave him a 29-28 advantage.

Nick Catone scored a unanimous decision victory over Costas Philipou in their catchweight bout at 195 pounds. All three judges scored it 30-27 in favor of Catone.

Erik Koch defeated Rafael Assuncao via knockout at 2:32 of the first round in their featherweight bout.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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