UFC 145 Atlanta
UFC 145 is really all about the main event, the Light Heavyweight Championship fight. There are some other interesting fights on the card for 145, but most MMA fans will be watching this event to see the top two Light Heavyweights in the world go at it. This fight has the potential to be one of the best of 2012.
LHW Champ Jon “Bones” Jones (15-1) vs. former LHW Champ “Sugar” Rashad Evans (17-1-1)
Jones is really unbeaten. Yes, he does have one “loss” on his record, but that was due to a technicality. He was disqualified in his fight against Matt Hamill in December,2009 for using “12-6 elbow” strikes, which are illegal in the UFC. He was winning the fight against Hamill and if not for that DQ he would have an unblemished record.
Before Jones fought Lyoto Machida few months ago, in his last defense of the UFC LHW belt, I wrote the following:
“I predict that Jones will win because I think his 6’4″ frame, overall athletic ability and quickness gives him a distinct advantage over every other LHW in the UFC. I also think Jones is always extremely well prepared by Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn for all fights. I don’t think this fight will be an exception.”
Everything I wrote then applies to this fight. Evans is 5′ 11″ and will probably be giving up at least 10 pounds to Jones at fight time.
Both fighters are very well rounded. Both are former collegiate wrestlers and excel at wrestling, but have also have very good striking ability, so both can fight well in the standup game or on the ground. However, Jones has a few especially effective weapons. The elbows of Jon Jones are especially sharp. He has ended several fights by using his elbows. His submission holds are also very dangerous. If Jones locks in a guillotine choke or a rear naked choke it is all over for Evans.
Evans trained with Jones for several years at Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico so he is well aware of Jones’ capabilities. He knows what’s coming. The big question will be if he can stop it.
Predication: Jones wins by submission, 4th Round.
The oddsmakers in Vegas have made Jones a heavy favorite for this fight, but I think they are overestimating his chances. The line is fluid, but it is roughly Jones -500, Evans +500. That means you if you bet on Jones you have to bet $500 to win $100 and if you bet on Evans you will win $500 if you bet $100.00.
I am not betting on this fight, but I think Evans is the far better value. I do think Jones will win this fight, but Evans is probably the toughest opponent that he has faced and he is capable of KO’ing Jones if he can find an opening. Easier said than done, but Evans might be able to pull it off.