UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans


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This Saturday night, UFC fight fans will witness a bout that could determine a new regime within the light heavyweight division.

There’s no love lost between Bones (left) and Suga. Photos: UFC

Jon “Bones” Jones takes on “Suga” Rashad Evans for the belt.

There is no doubt that Rashad has skills, the only question now is whether he has the skills to dethrone the current younger champion Jon Jones, the new breed of UFC fighter.


Jon is a new breed of fighter who seems to have all the MMA styles and creativity at his mercy.  He is athletic, has the support of an athletic family and has fantastic attributes for the sport such as height and a huge reach.

As we look back at the history of this weight division, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell was the only fighter who seemingly took on the mantle of a Muhammad Ali or Roy Jones Jr. in their prime, disposing of all challengers he faced for three to four year period while he was champion.  However, since the decline of Chuck, no one has been able to replicate his success.

Many have tried and failed the likes of Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Rashad Evans.  All these fighter and more, held the belt but none of them were able to stamp their authority on the weight division and were only able to retain the belt short term before the next pretender came along and defeated them.  During this period within the UFC a new young prospect called Jon Jones was starting to make the public take note of him.

Jon’s rise to the top was swift and his resume certainly suggested he was a contender having beaten the likes of Stephan Bonner, Tito Ortiz and Ryan Bader who he dispatched of with ease.  In fact Jones only loss came against Matt Hamill, this was a bizarre contest because “Bones” defeated Matt easily to gain another W on his record.  However, once the fight had finished, the ref decided that Jon had used illegal elbows to obtain the win and decided to disqualify the young fighter.  Many a fight fan and sports writer didn’t agree but the refs decision was final, handing Jon his first and only loss in UFC to date.

Dana White the UFC president, clearly thought the fans and sports writers were correct and a couple more wins later for Jones he was then given a title shot on short notice against Mauricio Rua. The reason he was offered this chance was because Rashad, who was supposed to fight Rua pulled out of the contest due to injury.

At this point in their careers, Jon and Rashad were friends and team mates at the Greg Jackson gym.  Some thought it maybe a huge risk for Jones to take the fight on late notice, especially as Jon had disposed of Ryan Bader a few weeks earlier. However, he answered all the fans and critics with a truly dominant display by crushing the champion Rua in three rounds.

Rashad was happy for his teammate at the time but very soon it became clear that Evans would not want to sit around while Jones took all the glory.  The days, weeks and months passed and Evans became green with envy.  This may have been because Jones was taking the entire spotlight, both from fans and sports endorsements.

Evans is a very determined fighter and his tough up bringing could have attributed to this, he didn’t have the same opportunities that the current champion had.  A good example of this is how he started his involvement with the UFC.  He chose the hardest way possible by entering TUF season 2.  The reality TV show that is sports’ version of the X Factor, all the fighters who enter this series had the chance to train with existing UFC fighters and the only way to gain a contract was to fight in the organization and get to the live finals.

Not only did Rashad achieve this, he achieved his chance in the heavyweight division which he duly won. Now it was Evans chance to create a future and status for himself within the elite UFC. The first big decision Evans made was to drop down to his natural weight, this was light heavy weight which would give him more opportunities, although, this weight division was packed with superstars.

“Suga” got his first chance of glory against Forrest Griffin in 2008.  At this stage of his UFC career he had won all but one fight in the octagon, the only negative on his record was a draw against Hall of
Famer, Tito Ortiz. However, Rashad took his chance and disposed of Griffin to become champion.

In May 2009 the then champion faced another up and coming star, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida. This was a challenge too far for Rashad as he was knocked out inside 2 rounds. However, since this defeat, Evans has managed to maintain a 4 fight winning streak, he even fought Tito for a second time to rectify 1 of the blemishes on his record and beat him by knocking Ortiz out in 2 rounds.

There is no doubt that Rashad has skills, the only question now is whether he has the skills to dethrone the current younger champion Jon Jones, the new breed of UFC fighter.

This question can and will be answered at UFC in Atlanta this Saturday.

For all the news and results at UFC 145, follow me on twitter @Cags_sporteagle.

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