Monday, 9 April 2012

Jon Jones vs Rashad Evans UFC 145 fight preview

At UFC 145, the MMA world will finally receive some closure on one of the hottest topics of debate for some time – the feud between Jon “Bones” Jones and “Suga” Rashad Evans

The Feud between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans

Jon Jones became the reigning UFC light heavyweight champion after he managed to leapfrog injured teammate Rashad Evans and earn himself a title shot a year ago. This did not sit well with his Evans, the light heavyweight number one contender. The two had apparently sworn never to fight each other and now found themselves in a serious predicament. Evans however did not like the way things were handled by both Jones and the Jacksons management and left the team in search of a new home. Since then the banter between these two fighters has not stopped.

Jon “Bones” Jones (15-1)

Jon Jones
Jon "Bones" Jones has dominated everyone the UFC has put in front of him and accumulated a stellar 9-1 record. This amazing record is however not entirely accurate as Jones’ sole loss was a result of a disqualification in a fight he was dominating. Even though he carries a loss, one would not be incorrect is saying that Jon Jones has not been beaten in his professional MMA career.

In March 2011, Jon Jones took his career to the next level by defeating Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to become the UFC Light Heavyweight champion. Jones then went on to defeat former champions Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida in emphatic style.

With his impeccable record and impressive fight style, Jon Jones is considered by many to be unbeatable in the Light Heavyweight division and one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world. These are bold statements, and while he is certainly dominant, I don’t believe Bones is unbeatable. Lyoto Machida’s precision striking revealed some vulnerability in the young champion in the first round of their UFC 140 fight.
Although Jon Jones has fought some of the best in the world, he has yet to be truly tested. Fighters seem to respect his length too much, and if you allow Jones to dictate the fight, you are in for a long (or short) night.

“Suga” Rashad Evans (17-1-1)

Rashad Evans
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion "Suga" Rashad Evans has amassed an impressive 12-1-1 record in the UFC. Evans earned himself the UFC Light Heavyweight title at UFC 92 when he bested Forrest Griffin, but was unable to defend his title.

Rashad Evans is currently on a four fight winning streak since losing his UFC light heavyweight title to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98. This streak includes wins over Thiago Silva, Quinton Jackson, Tito Ortiz and Phil Davis, two of whom are former UFC light heavyweight champions.

Rashad Evans has looked impressive since changing camps and his domination of Phil Davis at UFC on Fox earlier this year, a man who many believe is as close to Jones as they come, will give him great confidence going into this fight.

Rashad Evans believes he has the tools to defeat Jon Jones, and I am inclined to agree. With amazing speed, powerful striking, some of the best wrestling in the UFC and a possible psychological advantage, Evans will look to take the fight to Jon Jones in a manner that no fighter before him has.

Jones vs Evans Fighter Comparison

Having trained together, both Jones and Evans will be familiar with each other style, this however favours Rashad Evans immensely. The “Jon Jones Mystique”, which often paralyses fighters and allows Jones to impose his will, shall certainly not be present and may even be replaced by a psychological barrier on Jones' part towards his more senior training partner.

I believe than Rashad Evans has the superior striking ability, but to be effective he will need to get inside Jon Jones’ immense reach, which is no mean feat. The striking advantage will go to he who can control the distance the best. If Jones can keep Evans on the outside, he can pick him off all night. Evans will need to close the distance and put Jones under pressure. This will be a very interesting facet of the fight.

Both fighters are renowned for their wrestling ability, especially offensively. Neither man has been truly tested off his back though Jones has shown some amazing submission skills. Jones will definitely be the bigger man on the night and Evans the quicker. This is another interesting contest, which I believe will be won by he who gets the top position. That being said, I have visions of Jon Jones escaping or even attempting a submission from the bottom should Evans take him down... the same cannot be said for Evans should Jones put him on his back.

Conditioning shouldn’t be a factor in this fight. Both men are professional athletes from professional teams and always come in great shape.

Jon Jones vs Rashad Evans UFC 145 prediction

As with any fight, this fight could play out in a number of different ways. After watching plenty of press conference footage and previous fights, I am going against the grain on this one. I believe Rashad Evans will come into the Octagon with a huge psychological advantage. Evans will be very active from the word go, using his speed to close the distance and land shots. This unusual pressure will confuse Jones and we will see a very different fighter. The fight will go to ground in the first, but this will be inconclusive. In the second round, Evans will continue to press the action and eventually floor the Jones to regain his UFC Light Heavyweight title.

Jon Jones vs Rashad Evans community reaction

Jon Jones is the current UFC Light Heavyweight champion. Jon Jones has not been beaten in his professional MMA career. Jon Jones has dominated some big names. Yes, Jon Jones in the definite favourite in this bout, but the MMA community has all but written Rashad Evans off. The bookmakers even opened the betting odds with Jon Jones being a 6:1 favourite.  Six to one, against a former champion who has a 17-1-1 record, are they insane?

In my opinion, these two fighters are a lot more even than that. They have trained in the same camp, they have fought and beaten many of the same opponents. They both struggled against the same man – Machida. At six to one I will take Rashad Evans to win this fight every time.

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