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.
I welcome your thoughts.