Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting
At UFC 145, the UFC's big rivalry finally gets settled as Jon Jones (15-1; 9-1 UFC) faces Rashad Evans (17-1-1; 12-1-1 UFC). The UFC 145 main event is for Jones's UFC Light Heavyweight title, and will be his 3rd defense of the belt. The USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings currently have Jones ranked at #1 in the Light Heavyweight division and Evans close behind him at #3. The PPV card begins Saturday, April 21 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
What to say about the history behind this fight? The details leading up to this title defense have been well documented. This highly personal battle began when both men were training under Greg Jackson in Albuquerque. Jackson's fighters have long been hesitant to fight each other, and when Jones said he would be willing to fight Evans, it led to a huge rift between the two. Now, Evans has left Jackson's to train at Imperial Athletics under Mike van Arsdale, and the war of words between the two has been intense. There is a lot of baggage each man brings to this fight, and it's clear this is a win that means much more than just the title.
How do these two stack up?
Jones: 24 years old | 6'4" | 84.5" reach
Evans: 32 years old | 5'11" | 75" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Jon "Bones" Jones steps into this fight as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world and arguably the face of the UFC today. He is coming off a spectacular 2011 that rivals any fighter in the history of the sport for best single year. During that year, he broke out of the pack of Light Heavyweight contenders by defeating Ryan Bader, won the title from Shogun Rua, then defended it twice against Rampage and Lyoto. And all 4 men he completely shut down, with only Lyoto having any margin of success. He's quickly placed himself right alongside Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre as a fighter who just feels unbeatable right now. While his attitude rubs a lot of the people the wrong way, I can't see how you can deny his amazing talent.
Suga Rashad Evans is a former Light Heavyweight champion whose path back to the title has been arduous. After losing the belt to Machida (the first loss of Rashad's career), he's been frustrated by injuries to himself and his opponents, and myriad delays. Finally, after going 4-0 since that title loss, he's back to reclaim the title. Evans is a fighter who has shown great evolution in his career, and his recent time training with the likes of Tyrone Spong has showed that continued growth. He's now a very strong striker who is superb at using his strikes to set up his wrestling.
Why should you care?
Are you serious? This is THE money fight for the UFC right now. Huge personal issues, plus two very interestingly matched up fighters. If you are not pumped for this fight, get pumped. Right now.
More UFC 145 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.