UFC 145 Results: Is Jon Jones the Perfect Fighter?
The victory sets him one fight away from clearing out the division which, for a 24-year-old who only entered the world of mixed martial arts four years ago, is a remarkable achievement. He could already, feasibly, lay claim to being the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and it’s perfectly reasonable to ask the question whether “Bones” epitomizes the perfect fighter.
At this point, the answer to that question would be no. While his skill, athleticism and creativity are undeniable, there were obvious holes in his game last night which he still needs to plug. As dominant as his striking was, he is no Anderson Silva. He still relies on his reach, pawing at Evans to keep him at bay, stalking him leaden foot and allowing the contender to deliver heavy body shots and kicks to the leg.
Compare his stand-up to that of the other division stand-out Alexander Gustafsson on display against Paulo Thiago last week. Both Jones and Gustafsson have a similar striking style, fighting from range and staying out of the pocket. But the Swedes’ footwork and ring craft allowed him to pick apart his opponent in a way that Jones failed to do.
That’s not to overlook the imaginative way he used his elbows and front kick to throw Evans off his rhythm. And the champion clearly controlled the fight, especially in the later rounds as Evans seemed to fade. But Jones got rocked early in the first round as soon as he went into clinch range, and he is the first to admit that he still lacks complete confidence in his stand-up.
Compare his performance to Rory MacDonald, whose total dominance of Che Mills secured a second round TKO. Of course, Evans presents a much bigger challenge to any fighter compared to the relatively untested Mills, but the clinical and ruthless way in which MacDonald finished his opponent is something Jones could learn from.
Still, Jones is a relative newcomer to the striking game and for that, his victory over the proficient boxer Evans is testament to the always perfecting, though still not perfect, skills of the champion.
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