Jon “Bones” Jones (15-1-0) vs. Rashad “Sugar” Evans (17-1-1)
If you do not know the history for this fight then you must have been living under a rock. This is a fight between former training partners, former friends, and they have almost fought multiple times before. Some people base them not meeting yet on legitimate injuries, fake injuries, or just being plain old scared. Whatever the case may be whoever wins this fight has Dan Henderson waiting in the wings.
So far in his career, Jon Jones has looked unbeatable. Not only beating, but finishing three former champions in his last three fights only speaks volumes for the type of fighter he is. Jon’s best chance at winning is to keep the fight standing. Rashad professes to have knockout power, but if you look at his record, who has he really knocked out? A fading Chuck Liddell, proven glass chin Forrest Griffin, and a current 18-16 record Sean Salmon are nothing to brag about. His biggest TKO was Tito Ortiz who at the time had only been finished by a prime Chuck Liddell. Jon just needs to keep this fight standing, and use his reach to stop Rashad. If he can do it to Shogun Rua he can to it to Evans.
Almost everyone is counting out Rashad in this fight, and that can do something to a fighter. Just ask Randy Couture about what being counted out can do to you, or Frankie Edgar when he is told he is too small. Rashad could prove everyone wrong in this fight by beating Jones. The problem is where is he going to do it? On the feet he will have to work on into the inside of Jones and he has not shown to have the clinch or dirty boxing game needed. If he gets taken down, Jones has a great ground game being the only fighter to submit Lyoto Machida and the second man for Rampage Jackson. Rashad will need to use a plan similar to his fight against Phil Davis and smother Jones working his ground and pound.
The Bottom Line: As much as people hate to compare Jon Jones to Anderson Silva, this fight is eerily similar to his fight against Chael Sonnen. Jones has the advantage standing and on the ground with submissions, but Evans is the best wrestler he has faced. The question is will he be able to replicate Chael’s efforts. I do not think he will, as Jones finishes it by doctors stoppage after Rashad takes too much damage, but he refuses to quit.