Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans
The UFC returns for its first major event since February as they make their way to Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, April 21st for UFC 145. The main event will feature the much anticipated bout between UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones defending his title against former Light Heavyweight Champion ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans. These former friends and training partners were scheduled to fight on two other occasions but injuries and timing has stalled the fight. The event will also feature six Canadian fighters. There will be six main card bouts that will be aired live on Pay-Per-View. Four preliminary bouts will be aired live on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and on FX in the U.S. The remaining two bouts will be aired live on Facebook.
Light-Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones (15-1) -500 vs. Rashad Evans (17-1-1) +300
It is not every day that MMA fans have the opportunity to watch the two best fighters in their respected weight classes go at it. After a frustratingly long wait, Light-Heavyweight champion Jon Jones will have his chance to prove to the world that there are no challengers in the division that are good enough when he takes on Rashad Evans. There is a long history between the two fighters and this fight is about a year in the making and it is time for both fighters to prove it was worth the wait. There is a lot of hype and anticipation for this bout and these fighters have the abilities to make this a great fight. Jon Jones has been on a tear as he has defeated Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson and Lyoto Machida in dominating fashion, finishing all three former champions impressively.
Evans derailed the hype of Tito Ortiz and Phil Davis on his way to finally being able to accept this fight. Evans might have the necessary skills to defeat Jones, but if he is unable to, it is safe to say that the current champion will have a long reign on top of the division. Evans is the better wrestler with more proven credentials and it could be argued that his technical striking is better than Jones, but there is a good chance he struggles with the ridiculous reach of the man they call Bones. Jon Jones has used his reach to pick apart and completely dismantle all his opponents, whether they were legends or not. Jones will likely utilize his Greco Roman wrestling style and try to frustrate Evans by fighting off the cage. He will try to clinch the former champion and find openings for takedowns. Evans will need to use his explosive striking to get in tight and get into Jones face early and often as he works for takedowns. There is a good chance that Evans starts the fight hot and takes the first round or two, but his chin is far too questionable. Jones should be able to rock Evans and get a TKO win after potentially being exposed for the few holes he has in his game.
Prediction: Jones via TKO Round 4
Who will be the UFC Light-Heavyweight champ after UFC 145?
- Jon Jones (current champ) (58%, 95 Votes)
- Rashad Evans (former champ) (42%, 70 Votes)
Total Voters: 165
Rory MacDonald (12-1) -588 vs. Che Mills (14-4) +350
It never gets old to write about the fast rising star, Rory MacDonald. He returns to the Octagon against England’s Che Mills, who is coming off of an impressive debut, knocking out Chris Cope with a vicious knee. Mills is a proven veteran of the sport and he possesses excellent knockout power but his abilities may not be able to match that of MacDonald’s. Rory has looked completely dominant in the UFC as he recently beat veteran Mike Pyle and Lightweight contender, Nate Diaz after losing to current Interim Welterweight Champion, Carlos Condit (though you could argue the stoppage, but let’s save that for another time). Mills will need to use his sharp Thai style striking to hurt Rory or else he could be in for a very frustrating fight. If Mills can use his sharp elbows and knees to have the much younger MacDonald think twice about getting close, he could pull off the upset. Unfortunately for Mills, he is going up against arguably the best prospect in the sport. Rory should be able to outwork Che and score takedowns whenever he pleases. Rory has the versatility on the ground and on the feet to do plenty of damage and he should be able to walk through another tough opponent.
Prediction: MacDonald via TKO Round 1
Brendan Schaub (8-2) -294 vs. Ben Rothwell (31-8) +200
Both Ben Rothwell and Ultimate Fighter finalist, Brendan Schaub are coming off of losses to Pride legends Mark Hunt and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira respectively. Though Rothwell is the proven veteran of the sport, Schaub has had the much more impressive UFC career of the two. He has nice wins over legend Mirko Crocop and former title challenger, Gabriel Gonzaga while Rothwell’s lone victory came against Gilbert Yvel in one of the more dull Heavyweight tilts of 2010. Schaub has amazing athletic ability and he is one of the better boxers in the division but he has one weakness that is evident: his chin. He was knocked out cold in his first fight in the organization by Roy Nelson and then put to sleep by Nogueira, who is not exactly known for finishing fights on the feet. All Heavyweights hit hard and Ben Rothwell is one of those fighters that can put Schaub out with a punch. Even though that is a possibility, the only way Rothwell will be able to win this fight is if he gets top control on the smaller Schaub. Do not expect that to happen as Schaub is way too fast for Rothwell as he should be able to run circles around him while Rothwell tries to catch up. Look for Schaub to go in and out and keep Rothwell fighting confused, similar to how he picked apart Gonzaga on the feet. It will not be easy to finish Rothwell, but Schaub has the cardio and the punching power to be able to finish it late after dominating the fight.
Prediction: Schaub via TKO Round 3
Miguel Torres (40-4) -133 vs. Michael McDonald (14-1) -105
This Bantamweight battle between veteran Miguel Torres and up and comer Michael McDonald is arguably the toughest fight to call on the entire card. Both fighters are extremely talented but we have not had the opportunity to see McDonald go up against top competition yet. This is his chance to showcase those skills as Torres holds an impressive 40 wins in his career, although the majority of his four losses have been within the past couple years. He may be past his prime or it is possible that the division has caught up to him, but he is still extremely talented and frustrating to fight against because of his unusual size at Bantamweight. McDonald will have his hands full against the long and lean Torres so the 21 year old better get ready to mature quickly. He has surprising knockout power for a Bantamweight and he has a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but Torres is a black belt and he is arguably the best jiu-jitsu grappler in the division. As for the striking department, when a fighter has a six inch reach advantage, that is always a potentially bad sign for their opponent. McDonald will need to use his quickness to get inside the older Torres without being taken down or clinched. He has the ability to put Torres out but he cannot allow Miguel to get going in this fight. As Torres has proven throughout his career, when he finds a hole and manages to get comfortable, he can control a fight anywhere. McDonald has a lot of potential and has a great chance of being a champion in the UFC, but Torres might be too experienced at this point. He should be able to squeak past McDonald and get closer to the title shot that he has been awaiting.
Prediction: Torres via Split Decision
Mark Hominick (20-10) -769 vs. Eddie Yagin (15-5-1) +405
London, Ontario native Mark ‘The Machine’ Hominick returns to action against Eddie Yagin. After losing to Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo in very impressive fashion, Hominick had a very short return to the Octagon, losing to Chan Sung Jung (or better known as the Korean Zombie) in seven seconds. Hominick will be coming into this fight as a heavy favourite and there should be no reason why he should come up short. Yagin has one nice win in his career against former Bellator Featherweight champion Joe Soto, but his last performance against the now unemployed Junior Assuncao gives fans no reason to believe Hominick should walk out of the Octagon the loser of three straight fights. Yagin holds no real advantage over Hominick and almost needs to hope to land that one shot that rocks Hominick for him to take advantage of. Hominick will likely fight a bit more safe than he is used to doing and he will find his openings, eventually clipping Yagin with an overhand and finishing the fight via ground and pound.
Prediction: Hominick via TKO Round 2
Mark Bocek (10-4) -400 vs. John Alessio (34-14) +255
After losing three fights in the UFC, Canadian Lightweight John Alessio finally makes his way back into the Octagon for the first time since 2006. He comes in as a late replacement for Matt Wiman to take on fellow countryman, Mark Bocek. Alessio has been on a hot streak of late, winning 10 of his last 11 fights but he has never received an easy fight in the UFC (Pat Miletich, Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves). Mark Bocek will be another tough test as the Lightweight is one of the most underrated fighters in the division. That is likely the case because he is not exactly known as the most entertaining fighter in the organization; however, he knows how to control a fight and dictate the pace as well as always being a threat to finish the fight via submission. Alessio will need to keep the fight standing and keep Bocek moving backwards as he goes in and out to avoid Bocek’s clinch. Bocek does not perform well on his feet, but if he is able to get a hold of his opponent, few can work for a takedown and submission as well as he can. Expect Bocek to frustrate Alessio and constantly push forward as he gets him against the cage. He should be able to work for a takedown and transition constantly until he eventually gets the submission win.
Prediction: Bocek via Rear Naked Choke Round 3
John Makdessi (9-1) +160 vs. Anthony Njokuani (14-6) -233
If you enjoy a fast paced stand up war, this fight should be a treat. Canadian John Makdessi is coming off of a disappointing performance against a much bigger Dennis Hallman to take on fellow striker, Anthony Njokuani. Both fighters are not known for their knockout power but they are both very light on their feet and throw a wide array of punches and kicks. Makdessi has more of a karate/kickboxing style while Njokuani is a Muay Thai style striker. Njokuani has the clear size advantage as he is about four inches taller and will have the reach advantage but Makdessi is quick enough to get in close and land some good shots. It is tough to say who has the real advantage on the feet but do not expect this fight to go to the ground at any point. Njokuani has shown that he is vulnerable and can get tagged on the feet. He showed some weakness in his stand up against Brazilian Edson Barboza that had him lose a close decision. Makdessi has not faced the same level of competition but his angles and movement is much better than most in the division. He is very accurate and despite the size disadvantage, should be able to do enough damage to come out with the win. This fight could easily be a lock for Fight of the Night.
Prediction: Makdessi via Unanimous Decision
Chris Clements (10-4) -263 vs. Keith Wisniewski (28-13-1) +180
The moment many Canadian hardcore fans have been awaiting, Chris Clements is finally making his UFC debut. He is going up against Keith Wisniewski, who lost his last fight against Josh Neer via doctor stoppage after having the bloodiest face the organization has seen in a while. The fight was a war but Wisniewski kept himself open to take damage and was constantly rocked by Neer’s elbows from the clinch. Clements has looked great as of late and after scoring a big come from behind TKO victory over UFC veteran Rich Clementi, he has finally earned an opportunity to fight on the big stage. Wisniewski will likely want to avoid standing up with Clements considering he has fight changing knockout power. After his last performance, Wisniewski will want to get the Canadian down to smother him and work for submissions constantly. Clements will want to keep the fight on the feet as he should circle away from the cage and avoid the clinch. He can finish the fight with one punch and after seeing the poor defensive striking of Wisniewski, I expect Clements to take full advantage.
Prediction: Clements via KO Round 1