Rashad Evans did a lot of talking going into UFC 145. Unfortunately it was all fiction as Evans was dominated for the majority of five rounds by Jon Jones in a long, rather dull fight. The Jones vs. Evans result may have been predictable, yet the fight was nowhere close to the battle most expected.
Jones won five rounds against his former training partner in a main-event that failed to live up to expectations. The Bones Jones most expected to show up came to fight while the Evans most hoped to see stayed home. It wasn’t a total snoozer yet it was certainly a case of a fight not living up to the hype.
If there is one thing that I absolutely hate it is when a challenger in a UFC championship fight takes a passive approach. Evans was highly disappointing tonight and appeared more content on sitting back waiting for Jones to make a mistake as opposed to pressing the fight like he did with Tito Ortiz, Phil Davis, or Rampage Jackson. Evans was never able to take the fight to the ground and didn’t go for many takedowns. It was a letdown for sure and for a guy that did a lot of talking before the fight, he really failed to back it up.
If there was one criticism you can make of Jones it was that he didn’t finish the fight. This was the first time Jones ever went the distance. Jones had Evans rocked a few times, but never closed the deal. The closest came at the end of Round 3. There were a couple of times where Evans looked rocked and Jones didn’t follow up. I am sure it was the respect Jones had for Evans’ counter punch (which connected early), but it was not the finish you’d expect from a Jones fight.
I think it is fair to question what kind of impact this kind of fight has on future business. I think when you have a fight with this much hype you absolutely have to deliver some fireworks. What happens the next time a Jon Jones fight or any other grudge match comes around? Will people skip after the bad taste this one left in their mouths? I still think fans will get pumped for the right fight, but maybe they start to see through the smokescreens (like Rashad Evans’ disappointing fights) in the future. I have no doubt that Evans, who is a great talker, will have a real tough time trying to convince fans that he will have an exciting fight in the future. They have been bit way too many times by the guy.
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson is up next for Jon Jones. I’ll have an early look at the matchup later this week on the Camel Clutch Blog. Henderson talked quite a bit about Jones not being able to block Evans’ takedowns going into this fight. That leads me to believe that Henderson sees a weakness there and will exploit it. I can’t see Henderson hanging around for five rounds, but it is almost surely to be a much more exciting fight than the UFC 145 main-event.
After Henderson there are no real threats in the division. I’ll have another blog later in the week taking a look at the next five possible opponents for Jones. Of all prospects, I think Henderson has the best shot of winning. I also think that Mauricio Shogun Rua could be a real dark horse if he could put together a couple of wins. While Jones did dominate Shogun at UFC 128, something was off for Rua. He looked hurt, unmotivated, and just not himself. I think Jones would underestimate him in a rematch and if healthy, Rua could pull off an upset. Of course Anderson Silva is the only sure test out there awaiting Jones but it appears that all parties involved including Dana White have no interest in making the fight.
Overall I would have to see it was a disappointing night for the UFC. The card as a whole was one of the more weak cards that the UFC has promoted in quite a while. The finishes in the main card saved UFC 145 from going down as a big disappointment and the main-event would have sealed that deal. The only thing noteworthy from the undercard was Rory MacDonald’s dominant victory of Che Mills. Other than that, I’d pass on the show if you were on the fence and thinking of ordering the replay.
Jon Jones defeated Rashad Evans via unanimous decision
Rory MacDonald defeated Che Mills via TKO in Round 2
Ben Rothwell defeated Brendan Schaub via KO in Round 1
Michael McDonald defeated Miguel Torres via KO in Round 1
Eddie Yagin defeated Mark Hominick via split decision
Mark Bocek defeated John Alessio via unanimous decision
Travis Browne defeated Chad Griggs via submission in Round 1
Matt Brown defeated Stephen Thompson via unanimous decision
Anthony Njokuani defeated John Makdessi via unanimous decision
Mac Danzig defeated Efrain Escudero via unanimous decision
Chris Clements defeated Keith Wisniewski via split decision
Marcus Brimage defeated Maximo Blanco via split decision