Saturday, April 21, at UFC 145 Jon Jones will take on Rashad Evans for the light heavyweight title. Many experts and basically everyone who follows MMA are picking Jon Jones to win pretty handily. While Evans has trained with Jones the way Jones has defeated fighters makes it difficult to give the challenger more than a punchers chance. Evans will have to manage to get inside the range of Jones, avoid his takedowns and the wild strikes he throws. That’s a lot to ask for.
Jones is the light heavyweight champ for a reason and he’s made it look relatively easy. His resume isn’t exactly full of scrubs either. He’s fought the likes of Stephan Bonnar, Brandon Vera, Shogun, Rampage, and Machida and beat them all. To put it in perspective Jones toughest fight was against Machida and it only took two rounds two defeat the Brazilian.
Evans has a huge road ahead of him and while he’s talked confidently what happens if he loses? The reason this fight has become so interesting is Jones and Evans went from never fighting each other to hating each other. The two were former training partners at Jackson’s MMA and “best friends.” They were supposed to have fought already, but it’s been delayed due to injuries. In fact the only reason Jones earned a shot against Shogun was because of an injury to Evans.
What’s made this fight so exciting for fight fans is the dislike between the two fighters. Evans has attacked Jones and it’s been pretty extreme in some cases. He has even gone after his old coach, Greg Jackson. If Evans loses easily and doesn’t put up a fight it leaves him in an awkward position. The former UFC champ will have lost two consecutive title shots and in this scenario by brutal fashion.
It would be tough to see Evans earn another shot at a title if he loses decisively unless it’s because of the rivalry factor. Evans has always carried a lot of muscle and even won The Ultimate Fighter as a heavyweight. It isn’t unrealistic to think Evans could make the drop to middleweight especially since he isn’t the biggest fighter at light heavyweight. His main advantage has always been speed, but it’s tough seeing him even get close to Jones. If Evans loses it sets him far down the UFC light heavyweight ladder especially if it’s an ugly loss.