Paper > Rock > Scissors > Paper
It was an amazing display on Saturday night. The challenger proved to have the exact tools needed to turn a ferocious champion into a purring kitten. No matter what the champ had done in his previous fights, it was of no use on Saturday.
The problem is, what Saturday am I talking about?
The light heavyweight division has been described as a game of musical chairs in the past few years, with only two successful title defenses between a now 6 post Liddell champions. However it became apparent to many fans following Machida’s destruction of Rashad and subsequent loss to Shogun, that it might not be musical chairs, but a different game being played.
The ability to stay at elusive, use of great footwork and superior striking allowed Machida to destroy Rashad Evans in impressive fashion. We would then learn from Shogun that a disciplined, aggressive, straight forward striking approach was what was needed to solve the Machida puzzle. But many, including myself, had already speculated that a dominating wrestler would be able to defeat Shogun.
The Rock: The straight forward and brutal striking of Shogun Rua, Smashes through Scissors
Scissors: The technical and elusive Lyoto Machida, cuts paper to shreds.
Paper: Has the Fitch-like ability to wrap up rock and render it harmless.
We would find out when Rashad returned to the ring to take his shot at Shogun. Would Rashad be able to dictate where the fight takes place, stay out of submission trouble, and cruise back to a title reign? However his unexpected knee injury and replacement by Jon Jones changed the game. We introduced a new element to the game. The question is, what is the element?
Jones used superior reach, wrestling, and an aggressive top game to destroy Shogun Rua and take his spot as Light Heayweight Champion. However the performance was not without it’s flaws. Jon Jones looked visibly tired in the 1st round of the fight. Rua had absorbed so much damage and was so tired himself that this did not come into play. Also, Jones looked completely spent, however victorious, in his match against Stephen Bonnar.
So the question is, will this come into play in a 5 round fight with Rashad Evens? Can Rashad use his wrestling and experience to survive the early onslaught? If the fight reaches the 4th round and Jones is no longer able to defy the laws of gravity with Greco Roman witchcraft, will Rashad be able to pound out a stoppage? Rashad has shown he has stopping power against the likes of Chuck Lidell and Forest Griffen, and if given the opportunity may do the same to a young winded phenom. So is bone just another element in the circle, with its own strengths and flaws, or does Jon Jones finally become the dominant champion 205 has been waiting for?