Hey guys, how’s it going? I know, I know. I’m late to the party since it’s been almost a week since UFC 145 and Jon Jones (16-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) successfully defended his light-heavyweight title against his former training partner and friend, Rashad Evans (17-2-1 MMA, 12-2-1 UFC). The fight itself wasn’t quite the barn burner people expected, but I enjoyed it as a technical display of skill and watching Evans be bloodied up for his troubles was fun too.
So with that fight now behind us, we move on to the next man who will challenge Jones for the title: former PRIDE middleweight and welterweight champion, as well as former Strikeforce light-heavyweight chamption, Dan “Hendo” Henderson (29-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC). I believe this will be Jones’ toughest fight to date because Henderson has by far the most experience out of anyone Jones has fought up to now and Hendo is as tough as they come; just ask Mauricio Rua. I still think Jones will win the eventual showdown because he’s just that good, but this is MMA after all, and anything can happen.
As always, your thoughts are welcomed and appreciated.
I think if you ask most MMA fans how badly they want to see Jones vs. Evans this weekend, the answer would be a unanimous one: very, very much so. This fight has been postponed at least twice now and it’s finally going to happen Saturday night. With that said, here is my breakdown of how I believe the fight will pan out.
I give a slight edge to Rashad because he has knocked people out before. Just ask Chuck Liddell or Shawn Salmon (poor guy). His KO power is there; he just hasn’t used it lately. Jones definitely has the advatange though when it comes to overall striking game because his style is very unorthodox (as we’ve all seen with those spinning back elbows of his) and his range is the longest in the entire UFC roster at 84″. However, Jones has not demonstrated one-punch KO power as of yet as his finishes have come via submission or TKO. I also believe that Rashad will know how to work around Jones’ long reach because they used to train together. Rashad does have a suspect chin though, as we saw in his fights against Thiago Silva and Rampage Jackson so if Jones starts landing bombs, it could be a short night for ‘Suga’.
Both men are well-conditioned athletes. They have no problem going a solid three rounds at least and I haven’t seen either of them gas in a fight so I think they could last five rounds if it goes that far.
Rashad is an NCAA Division 1 wrestling champion and Jon Jones is both an NJCAA Junior Collegiate Champion and NJCAA All-American from Iowa Central Community College. Rashad has the advantage on paper but I give this to Jones because he has had great success in mixing up his wrestling with his clinch work and used to great effect when beating down his opponents. Look at what he did to Shogun and Rampage. Rashad’s wrestling is good but when I think about it, I think of the Rampage fight when he telegraphed just about every single takedown he went for and they looked pretty standard to me. With Jones’ long reach and considerably better conditioning than an overweight Rampage, I don’t see Rashad shooting in at will, lest he be clocked with one of Jones’ knees.
Rashad is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt but hasn’t submitted anyone since 2004 so it’s a mystery as to how good he is off of his back. Jones on the other hand uses submissions to great effect. He choked out Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, and Ryan Bader and looked amazing doing it. Based on that, I would give the advantage to Jones because he is submitting fighters on an almost regular basis and Rashad is too busy either with finishing fights with strikes or going to a decision.
Based on the information presented above, it’s 2-1 in Jonny ‘Bones’ Jones’ favour, so I say he will win this fight by either submission in the third round or unanimous decision. He could very well win by TKO as well but I think Rashad will be too busy looking to get inside of Jones’ reach and take the fight to the mat as opposed to striking with a spider (with apologies to Anderson Silva). For that reason Jones will look use to his submission skills and prove that he is the best LHW fighter in the world today.
There you have it folks. The two former training partners have made their feelings for each other quite well-known to the rest of us and on April 21, it all comes to a head. They will put their money where there mouth is and only one will emerge as champ. I’ve gotta hand it to Rashad. I think he’s the first person to actually get Jones to look directly at him in a staredown. Considering Jones typically looks away in such a case, I’d say the hatred is pretty intense.
It had to happen. We had the perfect card here; all heavyweights. UFC 146 was going to be a night of all-out heavyweight action with a main event that striker fans were all looking forward to. Current champion Junior dos Santos (14-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC) was going to defend his title against K-1 Grand Prix champion, DREAM! heavyweight champion, and Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem (48-11-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC). It couldn’t have been more perfect. The two very best strikers in MMA heavyweight competition were going to go balls-out for MMA’s most jeweled crown and likely give us one of the best title fights ever.
But on April 4, 2012, news reports confirmed our worst (and for some, predicted) fear: Alistair Overeem tested positive for elevated testosterone levels, at a ratio of 14:1 which is over double the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s prescribed 6:1 max ratio.
And just like that, *poof*. The dream match died.
I just don’t know what to say. Overeem is one of my favourite fighters and I would always defend to death the idea that he naturally grew large because he put the work in the gym and make the right choices with his lifestyle. Well, so much for that I guess.
There’s no real point in mentioning UFC President Dana White’s reaction as I’m sure most of us know how he feels about all this. For the rest of us, we’ll just have to wait and see what Overeem’s camp has to say about this and what this means for not only the main event at UFC 146 but also Overeem’s future within the UFC, if any.
I was thinking about this just now and I want to take a moment and have some fun with this. Nowadays, a fighter has to be well-rounded if he wants to succeed in the cage and one day, fight for (and win) a world title. MMA has come a long way since 1993 where it was all about being good at one thing, to the days of Pride FC where the best fighters were excellent at one particular discipline but had some functional knowledge of one or two other arts. Now, a fighter has to know a little bit of everything and be really good at it if he wants to get anywhere. So without further ado, here are the characteristics that would comprise my ideal fighter. They are in no particular order.
1. The accuracy of Anderson Silva
2. The boxing of Junior dos Santos
3. The wrestling of GSP
4. The strength, power, and explosiveness of Brock Lesnar
5. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of Damian Maia
6. The conditioning of Cain Velasquez
7. The reach of Jon Jones
8. The unorthodox strikes of Lyoto Machida
9. The tenacity of Chael Sonnen
10. The speed of Jose Aldo
11. The kickboxing of Alistair Overeem
What about you? What does your ideal fighter look like?
Jonathan Snowden who is the lead MMA writer for bleacherreport.com recently wrote an article entitled The Dangerous Hyberbole Surrounding Testosterone Replacement Therapy. In it he draws the main differences between TRT and steroid abuse and why people need to stop overreacting to each time they hear about it in professional MMA. I’m inclined to agree with him.
I think the vast majority of fans and so-called pundits are screaming too loudly when another case of TRT comes up. Is there a fan out there that can say he or she uses TRT on a regular basis, as prescribed by a doctor and understands how it works and why it’s necessary? Maybe, but if there is, he isn’t speaking up because all I ever read are comments about how evil and awful people like Chael Sonnen or Nate Marquardt are because they use TRT.
These fighters may very well actually need TRT for legitimate reasons. No one except their personal medical doctors know their medical history and how their body works so who are we to question their motives. Fans either need to do some heavy research into the matter and make informed opinions or shut up already and stop crying wolf when they likely don’t even know what they’re talking about.
“I’m not a big hockey fan. But I respect how talented you have to be to play hockey. Soccer? That’s a whole other ball. Can’t stand soccer. It’s the least-talented sport on Earth. There’s a reason three-year-olds can play soccer. When you’re playing a game when the net is that big and the score is 3-1 (and that’s a blowout) are you kidding me? You know how untalented you have to be to score three times when the net is that big?”
I’m not a soccer fan either, but then again, I’m not a fan of any major mainstream sport; baseball, basketball, hockey, or whatever else is popular these days. I find them boring and in some cases, pretentious to watch. Soccer and hockey in particular are painful to watch because I see people literally pour their entire lives into one match and when their favoured team loses, they go on a rampage and act as though their entire world has come to a fiery, destructive end. It’s sad, really.
Do I think MMA could rival soccer in popularity one day? Yes. I do.
Why? Because fighting is a global thing. The martial arts transcend national borders and many nations have their own proprietary fighting system, e.g. Thailand & muay thai, Korea & hapkido, America & freestyle wrestling, Japan & <take your pick>, etc… Everyone in the world can relate to fighting.
It probably won’t happen in my lifetime because MMA is still working on being accepted at a national level here in North America and the UFC has only recently expanded into Asia and is still working on Europe at large. But I do think it’s possible; one day.