UFC on Fox Results 2: Previewing Rashad Evans vs. Jon Jones
With his unanimous decision victory over Phil Davis, "Suga" Rashad Evans set himself up for another fight with champion Jon Jones.
It's also been confirmed that the Evans-Jones showdown will finally happen at UFC 145 in Atlanta.
The two men have met each other numerous times inside Jackson's MMA, but now they will face off inside the Octagon in front of thousands of fans.
Who will emerge victorious? Will the reign of Jones continue? Or will Evans prove to be Superman's kryptonite?
On the feet is perhaps where Jon Jones will enjoy his greatest advantage is on the feet. Rashad Evans has shown to be very quick and agile on the feet but Jones will enjoy a near 10 inch reach advantage to go with a five inches of height advantage.
Jones has shown a knack for keeping his opponents at bay by mixing his kicks with his punches. "Rampage" Jackson, who's a better pure boxer than Evans, was unable to neutralize the reach advantage against Jones.
The key for Evans on the feet will be to use his speed and footwork in order to get inside and either clinch with Jones or take the champion down. Evans can't stay on the outside like he did against Phil Davis or else he will get peppered with punches and jabs all night long by Jones.
In the Clinch
One thing we know about Jon Jones' clinch game is that he's deceivingly strong. His long frame hides the strength he possesses but his takedowns against Stephan Bonnar are a clear indication that Jones can toss anyone around in the Octagon.
However, Rashad Evans may have the ability to neutralize Jones' strength. Against "Rampage" Jackson, Evans was able to hold the much bigger and stronger fighter against the cage for the majority of the bout.
Evans has shown the willingness to throw more knees as evident by his last two fights. The knee that ended Tito Ortiz's night was ruthless. Regardless of how many improvements Evans has made, the height disadvantage may make knees useless against Jones.
If the fight turns into a clinch battle, it would be in Evans' best interest to either disengage or look to take Jones to the ground.
Depnding on how the fight goes on the feet, either man could look to take the other down. Jon Jones has shown he has the talent to take down virtually anyone that steps into the Octagon against him.
The same can be said about Rashad Evans as well. He's been able to land a UFC record amount of takedowns and has one of the most explosive double-legs in the game.
Jones is more inclined to use trips and throws compared to the more normal approach that Evans likes to use. However, Evans ability to mix his strikes with his takedowns is unparalleled in the division.
Beyond Jones' strength, Evans may find it difficult to shoot for a double or single-leg given that Jones will be so far away from him.
As noted on multiple occasions in the Rashad Evans-Phil Davis bout, Evans last submission victory was all the way back in 2004. Not that Evans doesn't have the talent to submit people, it's just not an active part of his game.
Jon Jones on the other hand has used his long limbs to submit two former champions in his last two fights. He became the first man to submit "Rampage" Jackson in the UFC and left Lyoto Machida unconscious in their UFC 140 bout.
His 2011 campaign also included a guillotine choke victory against Ryan Bader. In his bout with "Shogun" Rua, Jones showed the ability to stay calm through a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt's submission attempts.
I can't see Evans submitting Jones but I certainly could see Jones utilizing his long limbs to submit "Suga."
Jon Jones had one of the best years for any MMA fighter in history last year, but we often forget the fact that he's just 24 years old.
Not only is Jones 24 years old but he's also only had 16 professional MMA bouts.
Rashad Evans on the other hand has been in the MMA game since 2004 with 24 professional bouts (or 19 if you're going with the NSAC).
Each fight we question Jones' mental toughness as the pressure continues to grow with each impressive showing. There's no reason to doubt Jones will be able to handle the pressure of fighting his former teammate, but eventually every man reaches his breaking point.