UFC 145: 7 Reasons Jon Jones Will Crush Rashad Evans
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At UFC 145 Rashad Evans and Jon Jones will finally have a chance to put the trash talk aside and do what both fans and fighters have wanted for a long time.
They are going to step in the cage and face each other. Barring injury nothing should stop either man from competing in what will be the biggest pay-per-view this year aside from the Silva-Sonnen rematch.
Rashad Evans and Jon Jones are known to have at one point been training partners who were once friends. Then Jones took a title shot that was originally Evans' when the other man got injured and won the belt.
After that both men gained animosity towards each other, split camps and started attacking each other in the media. It has since built into a nice feud with people choosing different sides on who will win.
The truth is that Evans stands no chance against Jones and is doomed to fail. No matter what confidence he has, Jones is going to walk into the cage and take him out.
Jon Jones Is Not Phil Davis
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Both Jon Jones and Phil Davis were compared to each other in the beginning of their careers and while that was unfair to both men there were certain similarities.
Only last week on Fox, Evans was able to beat Davis in a fight where he looked comfortable. Evans was able to keep the fight mostly on foot, but didn't look uncomfortable when wrestling was involved.
Davis is no slouch when it comes to wrestling and the fact that he wasn't able to handle Evans shows just how far the former champion has come in the last few years.
Jones isn't Davis. He was able to toss Ryan Bader, a talented former amateur wrestler, around the cage.
He suplexed Stephan Bonnar.
He was also able to out-strike Lyoto Machida, the only man to both beat and knock out Evans, after a rocky first round.
If anyone including Evans expects the fight to be easy because of how well he handled Davis, they are sorely mistaken.
The Jon Jones That Rashad Evans Trained with Is No More
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Jones just keeps getting better. Between his evolution in fights and in training the man just keeps learning from his mistakes and getting better.
He learned and grew in the midst of the Machida fight between the first and second round when he went from being punched in the face to choking the karateka out with a standing guillotine.
He is light-years away from who he once was, but Evans may still have that Jones in his mind when he thinks about his opponent. That mistake is going to cost him if he doesn't correct it quickly.
Back at the end of 2011 Evans even stated that he was able to beat Jon Jones when they trained together in an article posted on ESPN.com.
Things change and so do people, but it seems like Evans hasn't been willing to acknowledge that the Jon Jones of old isn't the one we see today.
Rashad Evans Has to Deal with Jones' Reach Like Everyone Else
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It is true that Evans has trained with Jones, but that doesn't mean that he won't have to adapt to take on the crazy 84 inch wingspan the young champion brings with him.
Evans, like all of Jones' former victims, has less of a reach only coming in at 75 inches.
Evans does have great boxing, but he is going to need to do something different instead of pumping the jab like he has in all of his other fights.
If he tries to do that he is going to end up getting a one-sided beating from the much younger champion. No matter what sparring someone has, it is different than a fight.
For Evans to believe that winning a bout against someone can be done from sparring they both had is not only a mistake, it's one that could cost him the fight.
Evans Is Older
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While Evans is only 32, no one grows old faster than fighters. The wear and tear they put on their bodies is amazing and it can affect them quicker then they think.
While Evans is by no means broken down, he is going to have to face the fact that for all the craftiness being a veteran gives him, he might have slowed down a step over the years. That is the trade-off everyone gets as they get older.
They lose some of the energy of youth while also gaining the wisdom with age.
It's a beneficial move for most, but for fighters it costs them in the end. No matter how well you know how to evade a punch, if you can't actually do it in the cage it means nothing.
Again, Evans is by no means broken down, but if he is a step slower than the quick-trigger strikes of Jones, then he is in trouble.
Evans Has Been at the Top of the Mountain for a While
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Evans has not only been champion, but a face of the sport for some time. He has dealt with the media and even been a commentator on MMA.
He knows the rewards of the sport and has enjoyed them. He has earned it and has every right to. The man pushed himself and took almost every opportunity he could get his hands on in the beginning.
That isn't the Evans fans see today. The Evans that is in 2012 is one that felt comfortable sitting out and waiting for then champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua to get healthy so he could have a title shot.
Evans wanted to sit on his No. 1 contender's spot, as is his right, until the champ came back.
Anyone who does that has gotten a little complacent as a fighter.
It also means they lack one other thing.
Evans Doesn't Have the Confidence Needed
It's strange to watch Evans who is so full of hubris and pride and then make this statement, but it's true.
If Evans really was as confident as he portrays himself, then he never would have taken the layoff to wait for Rua. He would have felt confident that no matter what happened he would be able to take a fight and dispatch his competition.
Vain? Absolutely and necessary for any cage fighter that fans watch. They need the self-belief that borders on arrogance and for all of Evans' words, he doesn't .
Jones is cocky and it does irritate some fans, but he backs it up.
Part of that comes from the belief that he can.
If it comes down to wills, Jones will break Evans.
Evans Hasn't Fought as Much
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Rashad Evans won't have ring rust when he walks into the cage against Jones, but that doesn't mean all that time he took off from fighting won't affect him.
A fighter's skills are the sum of all the times he has fought and just like anything else, whether it be writing, fighting or even playing an instrument, you need to practice. Without practice the skills fade away.
The same thing goes for application. The more times a fighter steps into the cage the more he sharpens his skills.
Since 2010 Evans has fought two times.
Since 2010 Jones has fought four times.
That difference is going to show when both men square off.
It will end with Jones not only proving that fighters need to stay active, but also with his hand raised.
And there is nothing Evans can do about it.
Matthew Hemphill writes for the MMA and professional wrestling portion of Bleacher Report. He also hosts a blog elbaexiled.blogspot.com that focuses on books, music, comic books, video games, film and generally anything that could be related to the realms of nerdom.