1. The Ever-So Suspicious Chin
Ever since Rashad Evans’ knockout loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98, his chin has been called into question. During his venture back into title contention, he fought Thiago Silva and Quinton Jackson. Evans was severely rocked in both bouts. When he fought Silva, Evans was all but out on his feet in the third round. His only saving grace was Silva’s mockery of Evans, as he danced and showboated when Evans was hurt, instead of capitalizing on the opportunity. In the Jackson fight, Evans went on the defensive and resorted to his instinctive wrestling skills after being dropped and almost finished by a barrage of punches. During Evans’ last two bouts against Tito Ortiz and Phil Davis, Evans prevailed without a scratch. However, as Ortiz is on the verge of finishing up his career and has not been considered a title contender in years, many did not take this fight too seriously to begin with.
As for Evans’ last fight at UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis, although Davis lasted until the decision, it was more than apparent that he was technically way out of his league, and would probably need another two to three fights to make it back into title contention. In this regard, both of Evans’ last two fights were widely seen as a tune-up for Jon Jones. However, the three fights that preceded the Ortiz and Davis fight, Evans was either knocked out, or in danger of losing in the same manner.
2. Combat Delays
Evans has been plagued with injuries for more than a year now – injuries that forced him to pull out of title fights with Mauricio Rua at UFC 128, and again against Jon Jones at UFC 140. Since his loss to Lyoto Machida almost three years ago, Evans has fought only four times, mainly due to persistent injuries. Meanwhile, Jones has fought double that – an astonishing eight times since the summer of 2009. On the most basic level, Jones’ vast amount of time in the Octagon within the last three years, accompanied by his unwavering dominant performance in each of his bouts, makes him an even more formidable opponent at UFC 145.
3. Barely Getting By
Ever since Evans’ knockout loss to Lyoto Machida three years ago, he has not just fought only four times, all but one of those bouts ended in a decision. Evans did manage to TKO Ortiz in the second round at UFC 133. However, many already considered Ortiz to be past his prime, and heading toward retirement. Jones, on the other hand, has not seen a decision in almost 10 fights, and has finished every one of his opponents since in dominant fashion. Jones’ devastating highlights include, but are not limited to:
*Choking out Ryan Bader, Quinton Jackson and a now non-existent Jake O’Brien
*Leaving Matt Hamill bloody and battered beyond recognition
*Breaking the orbital bone of Brandon Vera
*Outstriking a world class striker in Shogun Rua
*Leaving Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Karate black belt, Lyoto Machida, asleep on the canvas
If the past is of any indication, Jon Jones should not only win, but do so in convincing fashion, when he faces Rashad Evans at UFC 145.