Jon Jones, left, used his 84.5-inch reach to his advantage in defeating… (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images )
UFC 145 takes place from Atlanta Saturday night, headlined by a grudge match for the UFC light heavyweight title between champion Jon Jones and challenger Rashad Evans. We'll be providing ongoing coverage throughout the evening, beginning at around 4PM Pacific.
UFC light heavyweight title: Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans
Jon Jones is universally considered one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world. He has no real defeats (he was disqualified for illegal elbows in a fight that was basically finished in his favor before he threw them) and is coming off one of the all time best years in MMA history. Rashad Evans is a former UFC light heavyweight champion in his own right and has only suffered one loss while facing many of the best fighters in the world. Evans and Jones also have a well documented personal history. They were training partners and friends before their friendship fell apart over Jones saying he was willing to fight Evans. Since then they have gone separate ways and entered into a personal war of words.
Round 1. Evans stares right at Jones during the faceoff but Jones doesn't look back. They both crouch down as the fight is called to start. Jones move in with a body punch early. He then lands a hard head kick. He connects with a big knee moments later. Evans lands a solid punch of his own and a couple leg kicks. Evans lands a pair of hooks from close range. Jones answers with another head kick. Jones tries another but Evans ducks under. Jones lands a strong left hook. Jones throws a superman punch that doesn't land and then a pair of front kicks to the body that do. Evans lands a head kick that appears to stagger Jones a little. Evans moves in but Jones is fine. Close round but advantage was overall to Jones. 10-9 Jones.
Round 2. Jones lands a good overhand right that is the best early shot of the round. Evans lands one of his own moments later. Jones charges in with punches and Evans nonchalantly wipes his behind in response. Jones throws a spinning kick and Evans briefly thinks about going for a takedown after catching it. He instead lets Jones go. Jones lands a pair of nice elbows. He knocks Evans silly with a third but Evans does not go down. Evans clinches and looks to regain his senses. They separate and Jones throws three more of his straight elbows that are working so well. Evans lands a nice hook right to the chin but Jones is fine. Jones lands a flying knee and a pair of hooks at the close of the round. Big round for Jon Jones. 10-9 Jones.
Round 3. Evans connects with a heavy overhand right that makes a big sound on the chin of Jones. Jones' chin is stout. Evans doesn't follow aggressively. Jones throws a series of jabs. Most are avoided but one connects pretty well and sends Evans' chin back. Jones lands a flying knee and an elbow that appears to stun Evans. They exchange punches from close distance. Evans shoots for a takedown with less than a minute left but Jones blocks it with no difficulty. Close round, a lot more like the first than the second. 10-9 Jones.
Round 4. Jones throws mostly straight punches at the start of the round. Evans is able to avoid any real damage but he isn't answering back at all. Evans looks for a takedown two minutes in but doesn't come close. It looks as if Evans is losing confidence. Jones continues peppering his jab. Evans looks for a takedown but Jones grabs his neck and throws a few knees before releasing Evans. They clinch towards the end of the round and Jones uses a serious of shoulder strikes. Jones is pulling away. 10-9 Jones.
Round 5. Jones confidently dances around and throws jabs. Evans is able to avoid the blunt of most, until Jones lands a strong right hand right to the chin around two minutes in. Jones throws a flying knee and the fighters clinch halfway through the round. They separate and Jones continues to work from distance. Jones throws Evans to the mat and lands a punch on the ground. Evans gets back up and they grapple for positioning with a minute remaining in the fight. Jones dives forward and Evans takes top position on the ground with a few punches as the fight comes to a close. Jones 10-9, Jones 50-45.
Jon Jones pulled off an impressive win against a very tough and motivated opponent in the prime of his career. Evans was game but he couldn't deal with the unique difficulties that Jones presents: the diverse array of attacks, the reach and athleticism, and the wrestling base that allows him to fight on his terms. This was the night that Jon Jones established himself as not only the best light heavyweight fighter but the best fighter in the world.
Winner: Jon Jones, unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 49-46).
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