UFC 145: Rashad Evans Is in over His Head Against Jon Jones
By the time Rashad Evans and Jon Jones lace up the gloves to battle, it will have been nearly two months since the last UFC pay-per-view event. Some have suggested the delay is bleeding the life out of them. Contrastingly, I actually have enjoyed the break. For once there has been time to properly build the drama and emotion of an epic fight.
These days there seems to be no shortage of UFC cards on television and PPV. As a matter of fact, there are 11 in the span of four months from April to July alone. I vividly remember the not-so-distant past of 2004 when there was regularly a month or two break between UFC cards.
It seems these days perhaps we have become spoiled by our bounty. I like the fact that I have had to wait to see Rashad Evans and Jon Jones fight. I have had to watch UFC Primetime, listen to interviews and watch Rashad break down Jon Jones at UFC 135 last September.
The stage has been set. The Octagon has been loaded. The fighters are putting the finishing touches on their trainings. It is nearly time.
Why Rashad is In Over His Head
Jon Jones is the UFC light heavyweight champion of the world. Still the youngest champion in UFC history, Jones has already defeated Shogun Rua to capture the belt and defended that championship against none other than Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida.
Jones has shown in his bouts that he has all of the tools to beat any man at 205 pounds. Jones has great wrestling with a myriad of takedowns and trips that he uses from a distance that Rashad Evans cannot operate in.
"Bones" also has far improved striking since his first UFC bout in August 2008. He uses many strikes such as spinning elbows, flying kicks, Superman punches, stance switchups and knees to pepper the face and mid section of his opponents.
Jon Jones also has submissions that are completely original innovations of existing submissions. Because of the champion's long limbs he is able to execute chokes and other submissions at angles and from positions that others could not attempt. In his last bout, he easily choked out Machida from a standing position with an improvised guillotine.
The UFC light heavyweight champion also has deadly weapons when he gets the fight to the ground. Mark Coleman may have started the ground and pound but Jonny "Bones" has taken it to another planet as evidenced in his brutal finish of Brandon Vera, breaking Vera's orbital bone with a vicious elbow strike.
All of these previous advantages are key, but the one thing that makes Jon Jones virtually unbeatable is his reach advantage. A lot of folks have begun to compare Jones to Muhammad Ali lately and Jones even did an Ali-esque cover shoot for UFC Magazine. Ali fought at heavyweight and Jon Jones fights at light-heavy, yet Jones has the longer reach. Wow!
Jones uses this reach to learn when his opponent crosses the kill line. The kill line was used in prisoner of war camps starting in the Civil War. If you crossed the line, you got a bullet in the middle of the forehead. With the UFC champion, a man who crosses into his kill zone gets destroyed.
Jones will use a pawing jab to gauge his distance. He uses a front kick or a jumping knee to back up his opponents, and he can shoot for takedowns from much further away than Rashad could ever dream of.
Rashad Evans, Dan Henderson, Alexander Gustafsson and all of the other fighters in the 205-pound division are very good at what they do. What Jon Jones does is on another level. At this point in his career he is as close to unbeatable as anyone in the sport aside from the great Anderson Silva. Evans may not realize it until he is half way through round one, but he is in way over his head.
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