UFC 145: Jon Jones vs Rashad Evans; Evans’s Mission Improbable on self-destruct
UFC 145 has come and gone and all the experts were proved right.
In the main event with the UFC Light Heavyweight Title on the line, Jon Jones did what he had done in his three previous triumphs and made his opponent look average.
Whilst the win wasn’t as destructive as the previous three, it remained just as dominant.
Controlling the distance throughout using his very distinct reach advantage and even throwing elbows to the jaw of Rashad as if they were jabs, Jones looked to be poles apart from the chasing pack.
For the UFC this has to be of small concern. While the Light Heavyweight title has been the proverbial hot potato for a number of years, Jones has brought a much-needed sense of stability to the belt.
However, being as dominant as he has and running through the division as quickly as he has left the UFC needing to build and create new, credible challenges.
For now they have Dan Henderson; Henderson is riding a four-fight win streak across two weight divisions and was one half of the greatest UFC fight of all time (VS Shogun Rua). Past that, it’s hard to tell where Jones’s next challenge will come from. A big win over a big name is needed from a young up-and-comer, that’s for sure.
As for Evans, he’s left to climb back up to title contention, which I’ve no doubt he will. I think he’s a strong enough person to deal mentally with the loss – and it’s not as if he were blown away. While Evans never looked as though he would win the fight, he didn’t look terrible, either.
Many thought he would be blown away inside a few rounds. That wasn’t the case. He took what Jones gave him, kept pushing forward and went the full five rounds. In a rematch, I see the same outcome – but without the emotional build-up that surrounded this fight, Evans may be more on his game.
Was the main event a classic? Not even close. It provided closure on a situation that went wrong due to competition. Both men have been physically and emotionally drained for the past few months with training and the huge media swirl that accompanied this fight and, in truth, it showed. Neither was totally on his game and maybe, once inside the cage, both men realised the respect they held for the other – and that kicked in the nerves. No-one will know for sure other than Jones and Evans as to why the fight didn’t go the way many expected.
The biggest positive drawn from the fight is that Jones is the champ, and the champ is here.
Elsewhere on the card, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson was taught a harsh lesson when he was repeatedly taken down and held down by Matt Brown, who went on to win the fight by unanimous decision. Thompson is a marvel in the stand-up portion of MMA, but clearly he has a large mountain to climb when it comes to the wrestling/grappling portion.
In the co-main event, British Welterweight Che Mills was run over by Rory MacDonald inside two rounds. Rory MacDonald looked the real deal in this fight and, in truth, had nothing to gain by taking this fight other than to stay active.
He is a very real Welterweight talent and will be given a big name for his next fight. Let’s see what happens after that, as the current Welterweight champion is MacDonald’s mentor and training partner George St-Pierre.
Overall UFC 145 delivered as well as expected. While the main event misfired slightly, the rest of the fight card provided enough backup so that it didn’t really matter.
Full results are below:
Jon Jones def. Rashad Evans via unanimous decision
Rory MacDonald def. Che Mills via second-round TKO
Ben Rothwell def. Brendan Schaub via first-round TKO
Michael McDonald def. Miguel Torres via first-round KO
Eddie Yagin def. Mark Hominick via split decision
Mark Bocek def. John Alessio via unanimous decision
Travis Browne def. Chad Griggs via submission (arm-triangle)
Matt Brown def. Stephen Thompson via unanimous decision
Anthony Njokuani def. John Makdessi via unanimous decision
Mac Danzig def. Efrain Escudero via unanimous decision
Chris Clements def. Keith Wisniewski by split decision
Marcus Brimage def. Maximo Blanco by split decision