Can experience overcome youth?
On the Horn:SR WRITER
|JONES AND EVANS FACE OFF|
One of the greatest grudge matches in UFC history is going down tomorrow night, April 21, and it promises to be nothing short of a fantastic fight according to both fighters. The two man involved, Rashad “Sugar” Evans and Jon “Bones” Jones, will be fighting for more than just the UFC Light heavyweight strap as they look to settle their differences in the octagon. At this point both fighters have already experienced numerous opportunities to face each other in public to discuss their versions as to what got them here and how they feel about each other. The mental warfare being waged by both of these fighters have been at times quite masterful and it will culminate with their highly anticipated encounter at UFC 145. How the psychological pressure affects their performance on Saturday night remains to be seen, but Jon “Bones” Jones is without a doubt a rare breed of mixed martial artist according to those that have faced him. The way he dismantled “Shogun” Rua to capture the title was surreal, and his subsequent title defenses against "Rampage" Jackson and Lyoto Machida have been extremely dominant.
"...I think Jon Jones has an advantage, since he is very hard to reach. He is not only long (limbed) but also fast and he can react very quickly, I know this. So, I think it's going to be Jones' match," Rua said. "However, let's not forget Rashad is also very strategic. I believe Rashad will have a good game plan and I am very interested to see what he will try to do in this fight."
“Bones” size, athleticism and skills combined with his youth and creativity have proved a dangerous mixture for his opponents. He is able to land vicious attacks from anywhere, including odd angles. The only place we haven’t seen Jones attack from is his back, but that’s only because we haven’t seen him taken down before. We also haven’t seen how Jon fights under pressure because none of his opponents have pressured him in the ways that are apparently needed to win. These circumstances surrounding the champion make his upcoming fight against Rashad Evans very interesting considering Evans has the skills to take the champ down as well as the heart to pressure him on his feet.
"Jones vs Evans is a big fight for the fans and a big fight for the division. It is a very interesting fight," Lyoto Machida said. "Jones is very unorthodox and is strong in all aspects of the game, but Rashad is a great wrestler and has the hand speed to catch Jones."
Evans is one of the most underrated fighters on the UFC roster if you have heard the negativity surrounding his chances against Jones. His only loss was to former champion Lyoto Machida. Otherwise, in each one of his fights he has showed improvement in all areas of the game, but most importantly in how he ties it all together. Evans fluency from striking to take downs is seamless. On the ground he is a competent grappler, as he demonstrated against Phil Davis through efficient ground-and-pound. On his feet, Evans is capable of knocking many opponents out with a punch or a head kick. His speed and athleticism serves him well in helping him deliver power and good technique. Evans says he will not be intimidated by the champion and will look to pressure him from the opening bell.
This title match is a lot closer than the odds reflect and it will be hotly disputed. I am expecting the challenger to overcome the force that Jones has become and to knock him out in the third round, although a more realistic scenario is that this will be a hard-fought war that will go to the judges card.
Main Card (Pay-Per-View):
Jon Jones (205) vs. Rashad Evans (204)
Rory MacDonald (169.5) vs. Che Mills (170)
Brendan Schaub (237) vs. Ben Rothwell (263)
Miguel Torres (135.5) vs. Michael McDonald (135)
Mark Hominick (145.5) vs. Eddie Yagin (144.5)
Mark Bocek (155) vs. John Alessio (155.5)
Prelimins on (FX):
Travis Browne (250) vs. Chad Griggs (228)
Matt Brown (171) vs. Stephen Thompson (171)
John Makdessi (158) vs. Anthony Njokuani (156)
Mac Danzig (155) vs. Efrain Escudero (156)
Prelimins on (Facebook):
Keith Wisniewski (170.5) vs. Chris Clements (169)
Marcus Brimage (145) vs. Maximo Blanco (146)