After the cancellation of UFC 151 earlier this month, fans were obviously discouraged by the announcement. But the fastest growing sport in the world returned on Sept. 22 with a card full of entertaining fights to make up for it.

The figure surrounding the criticism was UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who was blamed by many for the UFC 151 problems. After an injury to his original opponent Dan Henderson and with Lyoto Machida turning down the opportunity, Jones passed on a match-up with Chael Sonnen, which infuriated UFC president Dana White at the time. With no other choice, the UFC decided to cancel the event due to all the trouble.

This leads us to UFC 152, which had already featured Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson to determine the first UFC flyweight champion. That bout was moved to the co-main event, with Vitor Belfort stepping up to take on Jones for the light heavyweight strap in the headliner.

To go along with two title fights, Brian Stann took on Michael Bisping in a featured middleweight bout with title implications on the line. Also, Matt “The Hammer” Hamill returned to the Octagon to fight newcomer Roger Hollet, and a featherweight battle between rising fighters Charles Oliveira and Cub Swanson rounded out the main card.

If the pay-per-view fights weren’t enough for you, FX and Facebook offered an additional seven bouts for free, which kicked off at 6:30 ET from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Jones overcomes early scare to submit Belfort

Even with heat and boos surrounding him, Jon Jones overcame the trials and tribulations to retain his belt over “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort in the main event.

But if you are a fan of Jones, you had to be sweating bullets in the first round.

From his back, Belfort locked up an armbar that appeared to be tight around the arm of Jones. However, the champion escaped and went on to do damage with his patented elbow strikes.

His arm looked to be bothering him, but “Bones” continued to dominate the fight whether it was standing or on the mat.

Belfort did manage to force the fight into the fourth round, but the Brazilian wasn’t able to overcome Jones when he pinned Belfort’s arms to the mat. Jones opened up with elbows, but eventually decided to go for an Americana submission to force the stoppage.

Jones continues to defeat any former champion put in his path, while still managing to handle the criticism around him. Nevertheless, “Bones” is still young, improving, and wants to be considered the best ever.

Johnson wins inaugural flyweight title

The UFC now has its first flyweight champion: Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.

From the start of the fight, it was a track meet inside the Octagon. The speedster Johnson really pushed the fight, which caused problems for Benavidez. However, Benavidez was able to claim some of the rounds as the course of the fight went on, but fell just short.

By controlling the majority of the fight, striking effectively, and taking his opponent down five time in the fight, “Mighty Mouse” earned himself the belt.

As for the judges scorecards, one judge in fact gave Benavidez the win, 48-47, while the other two scoring the fight for Johnson, 48-47 and 49-46.

Bisping states case for future title shot with win over Stann

A crucial middleweight tilt for both Michael Bisping and Brian Stann was featured, with future title implications on the line for both men.

Round one was a back and forth boxing exchange, with both middleweights doing damage. After a low blow by both men, Bisping landed some nice punches, but Stann countered with a nice punch.

Bisping finally got the takedown he had been looking for all night. The Brit stayed on top for a bit, but the former Marine reversed the position to wind up in the guard of his opponent. Bisping would get to his feet, and do damage against the cage before separating. With less than a minute left in the round, Bisping took Stann down again to solidify the round.

In the final round, Bisping played it safe by continuing to smartly work his game. By controlling the center of the cage, he was able to have his way with Stann. No major damage came out of the round, but Bisping clearly won the last five minutes.

All three judges scored the bout 29-28, giving Bisping the unanimous decision win.

Hamill returns with decision win

After a yearlong absence from the UFC, Matt “The Hammer” Hamill returned on Saturday against Roger Hollet.

Making his UFC debut, Hollet wasn’t all that comfortable in the Octagon, which allowed Hamill to take control. “The Hammer” went with his ground and pound technique throughout most of the round, but couldn’t finish off the newcomer.

After throwing many strikes in the first round, Hamill’s pace slowed tremendously in the second frame. Neither fighter did much offensively, with the exception of a late takedown by Hamill.

Hamill landed another takedown a minute into the third round, and continued to dominate from there with a couple more to seal the deal.

His performance may not have been the best, but “The Hammer” earned the win by unanimous decision.

Swanson keeps rolling with win over Oliveira

In the first fight on the main card, Cub Swanson made a big statement to prove he has now become a consistent fighter.

It appeared his opponent, Charles Oliveira, was getting the best of him early on, but Swanson got his striking on point midway through. After a body shot, the Jackson-trained fighter landed an overhand right that forced Oliveira to hit the mat.

With three straight UFC wins under his belt, Swanson is now climbing closer and closer to the top of the 145-pound division.

Preliminary Card Summary

Vinny Magalhaes made his return to the UFC in spectacular fashion by submitting Igor Pokrajac in the second round by armbar. Magalhaes is without a doubt here to stay this time.

Evan Dunham and TJ Grant were slated to face each other the main card before changes were made, but delivered with a fight worthy of Fight of the Night honors. Grant defeated Dunham by unanimous decision in a fast paced bout.

At 36-years-old, Canadian Sean Pierson is still pulling out tough wins. On Saturday, Pierson was able to earn a close decision over Lance Benoist north of the border in his home country.

Featherweights kicked off the FX portion of the prelims, with Marcus Brimage handing Jim Hettes his first loss by way of unanimous decision.

The streak of first round finishes continued in the final Facebook prelim fight, as “The Polish Pistola” Seth Bacszynski defeated Norwegian Simeon Thoresen by knockout.

Canada’s own Mitch Gagnon put on an impressive performance in front of his home crowd, as he was able to drop Walel Watson and eventually lock up a rear-naked choke in the first round.

The opening fight of night didn’t last long to say the least, as Kyle Noke earned an opening round TKO win over “The Spaniard” Charlie Brenneman.

FULL RESULTS
Jon Jones def. Vitor Belfort by submission (Americana). Round 4, 0:54 -to retain UFC light heavyweight championship
Demetrious Johnson def. Joseph Benavidez by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46) -to claim inaugural UFC flyweight championship
Michael Bisping def. Brian Stann by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Matt Hamill def. Roger Hollet by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Cub Swanson def. Charles Oliveira by knockout (punch). Round 1, 2:40
Vinny Magalhaes def. Igor Pokrajac by submission (armbar). Round 2, 1:14
TJ Grant def. Evan Dunham by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Sean Pierson def. Lance Benoist by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Marcus Brimage def. Jim Hettes by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Seth Bacsynski def. Simeon Thoresen by knockout (punch). Round 1, 4:10
Mitch Gagnon def. Walel Watson by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 1:09
Kyle Noke def. Charlie Brenneman by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 0:45

Photo: Jon Jones (L) faces off with Vitor Belfort (James Law/Heavy MMA)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.