Over the past few weeks I've noticed people falling in love with Rashad Evans. In some polls for this fight I've seen the voting split 60/40. Chuck Lidell and others have questioned Jon Jones being a 5:1 favorite. What really pushed me over the edge to make this fan post was watching the MMA Nuts fight prediction on Youtube. It absolutely shocked me that both guys picked Rashad to land another huge upset in Atlanta. Their reasoning seemed to come from Rashad being the "last hope" to beat Jon Jones. They mentioned reasons how Jon could lose, but forgot to consider how he could win. When rooting for an underdog this is natural(I generally root for 'dogs so I know that feel), but the line is what it is for a reason. After the break I'll explain some traps people are falling in and why you shouldn't follow that line of thinking
Rashad outwrestled Phil Davis and Phil Davis is a better credentialed wrestler than Jon Jones
Rashad will be the best MMA wrestler that Jon Jones has faced, but Jon will also be the best MMA wrestler that Rashad has faced. What initially separated Jon Jones and Phil Davis in the eyes of fans was Jon blowing through Ryan Bader and Phil Davis struggling to take down Lil' Nog. Jon Jones has smoked every wrestler he's faced and still hasn't been taken down. Jon Jones is also the more dangerous grappler of the two. Rashad can dominate and win a fight from top position, but his GNP is not anywhere near as dangerous as Jon's. If Rashad gets Jon down then most of us will be curious to see if Jon can get back up. If Jon gets Rashad down we'll be curious to see if Rashad can make it out of that round.
Rashad is fast and he can use a similar strategy to Lyoto Machida to land on Jon Jones
Rashad Evans IS NOT LYOTO MACHIDA. All of us know what happened when Rashad tried to stand with Lyoto. Rashad doesn't strike like Machida and Machida's success with Jon Jones came more from timing than his speed. Lyoto is fast, but his true gift is his timing. If you tip your strikes that is how he sets up his counters. That is why feinting and "countering the counters" works so well with him. Rashad is fast, but will likely be negated mostly by the size difference, furthermore, Rashad doesn't fight like Lyoto Machida. Only Lyoto fights like Lyoto Machida. If Rashad fought like a 205 pound Frankie Edgar then that's one thing, but thinking that Rashad can emulate Lyoto and beat Jon is not accurate.
They trained together so there is no mystique with Jon Jones for Rashad
I think Jon's "mystique" has been more an issue for the fans than his opponents. Vera wasn't afraid of him, Bader was more afraid of the moment than him, Shogun wasn't afraid of him, Rampage thought he was all hype, Lyoto wasn't afraid of him, and now Rashad isn't afraid of him. Jon Jones isn't like Anderson Silva where people get mystified when they get in the cage against him. People get stuck against Jon Jones because he does things to them that reduce their aggression. Jon has been a monster favorite in most of his fights so many fans may feel he is "unbeatable" but I don't think any of his recent opponents have. Both of them have also trained trained with each other so that knife cuts both ways.
The line is ridiculous! How could I not bet on Rashad?
This is the last section and in my opinion the most subjective. I'm not an idiot, I do realize, "these things happen in MMA," and that Rashad can shock Jon Jones. I've watched the 18-0 Patriots lose to the Giants, I've seen the second best college football team of all time(lol ESPN) get beat by Vince Young and the Longhorns, and I've seen the great Kobayashi get beat by Joey Chestnut. On the other hand, I have watched an -875 Anderson Silva beat, and out dance, Demian Maia in a fight I convinced myself that Maia could win. Right now Jon Jones is basically a -500 favorite which means that Jon has an ~80% chance of winning and that seems fairly accurate. I would have it at 7 of 10 personally. First is Rashad catching him, second is Jon having an "off night," and third is if Jon gets injured(like breaks his hand) or comes into the fight with a serious injury. So there may be value in the line, but unless you're a professional gambler this isn't a risk you should take.
Jon Jones is simply better than Rashad Evans. Jon Jones has finished four of the top 8 LHWs and Rashad has "only" beaten 2 of this same group. The only aspect of his game where Rashad may be significantly better than Jon Jones is at BJJ, but he doesn't really use that. Jon is equal or better to Rashad in everything and has the added benefit that he's larger. Even if Rashad has the best chance of dethroning the young champion at Light Heavyweight his chances are still small. So the overwhelming chances are that Rashad will find himself outmatched and outgunned like we have seen everyone else against the LHW champion. So if you don't like Jon Jones and want to root for Rashad to win then that is fine, but don't bet an amount of money that matters to you on this fight. Especially if your dislike is the reason that you're betting the money.