BALTIMORE – When Jon Jones fought Alexander Gustafsson last year, he was greatly troubled by the Swede's striking.
On Saturday, he defended his title against hard-hitting Glover Teixeira, but it was Jones' striking that dominated the fight. Jones picked Teixeira apart with his hands, opening a gaping wound over his right eye, and won an easy unanimous decision.
All three judges had it 50-45 for Jones, as did Yahoo Sports.
Jones said "Glover doesn't tend to be the most versatile," but Jones stymied Teixeira's offense by not allowing him to get his hands untracked.
Early in the fight, Jones was popping his jab at Teixeira, keeping the Brazilian, who entered the match on a 20-fight winning streak, outside his reach.
But when Teixeira was able to get inside, he couldn't do much with Jones.
"That guy can take a punch," Teixeira said. "I hit him with some good shots. I hit him with my left hook and he took it."
Jones didn't do anything spectacular because he wasn't facing much of a threat. Teixeira's inability to create offense led him to eat a series of hard punches by Jones.
Jones was content to go to a decision, and in the final round, he continuously looked at the clock.
It was vastly different from his match with Gustafsson at UFC 165, when he was being dominated early and had to rally to win the final two rounds to retain his championship.
This time, Jones was the sleek, in-control athlete he's been for much of his UFC career and, as a result, he was able to extend his light heavyweight record for consecutive successful title defenses to seven.
The fight was fought on his terms, and his terms were to keep it standing. He threw in a few takedowns just to mix things up and give Teixeira something to think about.
Teixeira is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has slick submissions, but never came close to putting Jones in jeopardy.
Jones was too fast, too smart and, ultimately, too good for Teixeira.
The victory will put Jones into a rematch with Gustafsson in what figures to be one of the biggest fights of the year. But he'll go into that match with the momentum clearly on his side. He won the last two rounds to save the title against Gustafsson and then easily took all five rounds on Saturday against Teixeira.
All he lacked Saturday was the classic finish that he'd become known for. But after the beating he took early in his fight with Gustafsson, Jones may have decided it's much better to dish out the punishment rather than take it.
So, he kept his belt while fighting in front of the Baltimore Ravens' legendary star Ray Lewis, as well as his two NFL-playing brothers, Art and Chandler, by fighting a style that minimized the risk he'd face.
In the co-main event, Anthony Johnson overpowered Phil Davis and used his striking to go on to a unanimous decision win. Other main card winners were Luke Rockhold, Jim Miller and Max Holloway.