Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans Head-to-Toe Breakdown
It is unlikely that Evans earned a title shot with the win, but in the current state of the division, it is certainly an option. The rematch would be marketable.
Jon Jones is currently slated to defend the UFC strap against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in September. An immediate rematch between Evans and Jones would have to come by way of a Gustafsson injury or post-fight trash talk.
While the instant rematch is unlikely, it remains a possibility. Here is a look at how the fight would break down for the second go-around.
Rashad Evans is the more technically sound boxer. In most cases, that might lead me to give him an edge with his speed and power, but there are other factors at play against Jones.
Those are reach and creativity.
The biggest issue for nearly all of Jones' opponents has been getting inside of his massive reach. Few have done it, and not one has done it consistently. Evans had a big issue with Jones' reach in their first fight.
Jones also throws more diverse strikes including kicks. He keeps his opponents guessing.
Not much will change in their rematch. Evans has the skills to win exchanges, but he has to get inside of Jones' reach to do it. Jones won't allow that to happen.
These are the two best wrestlers in the division but for different reasons.
Jones uses his Greco well, but more importantly, he relies on his long limbs. He has an outstanding trip that is hard to defend. He has put down numerous opponents with it. And he also has the ability to toss his opponents.
Evans' grappling is keyed off his striking. He is a good wrestler in his own right, but his transitions from striking to wrestling are second to none. He keeps his opponents off balance and drives through them. It is beautiful to watch.
With his striking nullified against Jones, Evans cannot set up his takedowns. Jones will dominate the action from the clinch.
Both men are well-rounded, and Evans has quality submission skills. The problem is that we haven't seen them put to use.
With Jones, we have.
Jones' submission skills have seen him put away very good grapplers. He has a number of submissions on his UFC resume, and none was more impressive than when he choked out Lyoto Machida at UFC 140.
Position is another reason for Jones leading this category. Evans will most likely not be in top position and would have to try to submit Jones from his back. Vitor Belfort nearly achieved that, but that was due to the element of surprise. Jones will always be wary of that now.
Evans' X-Factor: Getting Inside Jones' Reach
Jones' reach is his single biggest advantage.
He is still growing as a fighter. He is not a spectacular striker or submission stylist, but he uses his length to nullify his opponent's abilities. Jones is always in range to land his strikes and out of range for his opponent to land his.
He uses his jabs and front kicks to establish the distance, so Evans must find a way inside. It is his only hope of beating Jones.
Jones' X-Factor: Slowing Evans Down
Evans brings in a speed advantage and great movement. Jones did well to counter them in their first fight, and he will have to do it again.
Jones would like to cut off the cage and limit Evans' movement. That will make Evans a sitting duck, and then Jones can start to land strikes while being out of range for a counter.
Evans lasted all five rounds in their first fight, but I don't foresee that happening again.
Jones entered that fight with immense pressure, big expectations and a healthy respect for Evans. He will be more settled for their rematch.
This will look a lot like their first fight, with Jones dominating. Evans will find it hard to get inside to do anything of worth, and Jones will find his spots to look like the greatest light heavyweight of all time that he is.
When he stuns Evans this time around, he will finish. Look for Jones to put a stamp on their rematch should it happen.
Prediction: Jones defeats Evans by TKO in the fourth round.