Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans: 5 Bold Predictions for Title Bout

Christopher Amick@!/TheAmickCorrespondent IApril 17, 2012

Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans: 5 Bold Predictions for Title Bout

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    Fight fans love to see a contest when both opponents greatly appreciate and admire each other. This is not that fight.

    Even though fight experts have this pegged as a relatively easy win for the champion, this bout between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans will feature more than its fair share of surprises.

    The war of words between Jones and Evans has been fast and furious, and some of the talk between these two could even make Muhammad Ali blush. Real or manufactured, the verbal battle has caught the attention of many fight fans, and when the two lock up for the Light Heavyweight Championship this Saturday, it will be must-see.

    On paper, Jones has everything in his favor. Youth, size and reach are all huge advantages for the man they call "Bones," but don't make the mistake of discounting the skill level of Rashad Evans.

    Evans is a legit wrestler with excellent takedowns and competent stand-up, and he should be Jones' biggest challenge to date. Besides a sizzling rivalry finally coming to fruition, here are some of the surprising things to look for in this weekend's showdown.

A More Cerebral Jon Jones

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    Jones has finished 13 of his 15 victories decidedly, and six of those wins have come inside of round one.

    He has completely outclassed every single one of his opponents with overwhelming striking or skilled submissions. 

    Even though Jones has finished most of his fights early, look for the intelligent Evans to find a way to stick around and give Jones the toughest bout of his career.

A Slow Paced Fight

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    If there is anything certain in this fight, it is the fact that these two know each other. They have trained together, claimed to be close friends and now have engaged in a trash talk battle of epic proportions.

    Both men have faced four common opponents, so this could make for a slower-paced fight.

    A fight where both guys are keenly aware of each others' strengths could mean we are in for more of a chess match, rather than a brawl.

Post-Fight Mutual Respect

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    The war of words between these two reached a deeply personal level. To be fair, most of the low blows have come from Evans:

    I'm saying he's fake; that's the only thing I'm saying. I'm not saying that the UFC shouldn't invest in him because he's fake. If he's fake, he's fake. He's the only one who's going to have to answer for his fakeness, not anybody else.

    Despite the bad blood, there is a ton of mutual professional respect between the two, and after the fight, both competitors will show some class and possibly bury the hatchet.

A Jones Letdown?

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    Jones' potential is unmatched. He is a new prototype mixed martial artist and his skill set is something the likes of which the UFC has never seen.

    He is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport's history and all of his bouts have been a joy to watch, so a dud has to be on the horizon, right?

    Unlikely, but Jones' somewhat perfect record is in real jeopardy when he goes against his former training partner this weekend. 

Rashad Wins

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    Now this is the ultimate bold prediction when you consider that Evans is a massive underdog, and rightfully so.

    Jones is a young phenom with tremendous size and an unorthodox striking style. His reach advantage and long limbs are what gives Jones' opponents the most trouble.

    All of this should spell doom for Evans, but if he can use his wrestling skills to ground the champion while staying away from a submission, Evans could come out the victor.