DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – I have always compared the anticipation of a big game to the feeling that I used to get as a kid on Christmas Eve. I would spend the entire night thinking about the day to come. What gifts would I get? Will mom let me sit in my room and play Madden all day or will I have to do family stuff? I am experiencing these emotions again today.
I am ridiculously pumped up for UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones(15-1MMA, 9-1UFC) vs. Rashad Evans(17-1-1MMA, 12-1-1UFC) tomorrow night on PPV. This fight has been hyped up for what feels like 2 years.
At this point just about everyone knows that Jones and Evans used to train together and that Evans left Greg Jackson’s because he felt that the coaches were starting support Jones more than himself. To be honest- none of this matters to the fans. What matters is that we are getting to see Evans at what should be the pinnacle of his career against the fastest rising star that Mixed Martial Arts has ever seen in Jon Jones.
Both have talked up the fight as much as they can and there does seem to be some genuine dislike between the two(should make for a good face off at the weigh-ins).
When it comes to the actual fight it is hard to argue with the odds makers that have Evans as a 4:1 underdog against Jones. Jones has yet to be taken down in his UFC career, he has the longest reach in the UFC and he is one the biggest light heavyweights in the division. Evans has always been one of the smaller fighters at 205lbs and most assume his game plan has to include putting Jon Jones on his back which has yet be done by any one of Jones previous opponents which is a list that includes accomplished wrestlers in Jake O’Brien, Matt Hammill and Ramgage Jackson.
I feel that if Evans is to have a chance he will have to get Jones on his back at some point.
Jones has shown great cardio early in his career and getting him to the ground early is great way to tire him out for the later rounds.
Fans always talk about the “punchers chance” and that definitely applies with Rashad Evans. He has dynamite in his hands (not really-that would be illegal) and he is one of the better fighters in the world at changing levels to throw his opponents off.
Having said that – I really don’t see how Evans is going to be able to get inside of Jon Jones range.
If Evans is not able to get Jones to the ground at some point in the first two rounds I feel that it is going to be a long night for him. I see Jones being able to get past the toughest challenge of his very young yet record breaking career.
The biggest question that will come after Saturday night is….Who is left for Jones to beat at 205lbs? Is it time for a matchup The Spider? Can Jones fill in and fight Junior Dos Santos next month?
FIGHTERS TO WATCH SATURDAY NIGHT
Michael McDonald(not that one) will be taking on veteran Miguel Torres.
I have been blown away with McDonalds first 3 UFC appearances and I don’t see how Torres will be able to survive the onslaught that McDonald will no doubt bring. I see McDonald moving himself one step closer to a title shot with a dominant performance over the former WEC champion.
Rory Macdonald will be taking on Che Mills in another main card bout that should wind up being the nights co-main event. Macdonald has been highly touted for a while now with his only loss coming to current interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit. He has rebounded with 2 dominant wins over Nate Diaz and Mike Pyle.
Mills won in his Octagon debut and he will be a tough challenge for Macdonald. I see Mills looking for the kill shot the entire fight while attempting to avoid the ground at all cost. Macdonald is a very well-rounded fighter that has the ability to stand with Mills although I see him using his superior ground attack to pound out a 2nd round TKO.
FUTURE SUPERSTAR FOR FREE
DO NOT MISS Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson on FX Saturday night. He will be facing off against veteran Matt Brown.
Thompson (63-0Kickboxing, 6-0MMA, 1-0UFC) has been called the “Best Striker in MMA” by George St. Pierre and he showed his stand up skills off in his UFC debut earning Knockout of the night with a devastating headkick KO of Dan Stittgen.
Brown is a very game fighter that will look to challenge Thompson on his feet before attempting to get ‘Wonderboy’ to the ground. If Brown is able to get Thompson down this could be a very interesting fight.
Thompson is big prospect for the UFC and Brown is a perfect measuring stick to match him up with. I see Thompson passing the test and getting his 2nd straight Knockout of the night award with some kick that I have never seen before.
Don’t miss the UFC 145 Post Fight show with myself and Richard Hunter live from THE FAN SPORTS LOUNGE. THERE IS NO COVER FOR UFC PPV’S AT THE LOUNGE (I just saved you $55).
You can follow me on Twitter @mmamiked
Enjoy The Fights!
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