Evans proves he's one of the P4P best, but is it enough to beat Jon Jones?Posted on August 8, 2011, 08:54 AM by Anton Gurevich
Last Saturday, Rashad Evans added another "W" over former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion with a convincing performance against "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Tito Ortiz. Rashad Evans holds one of the most impressive records in MMA, 16-1 with victories over four former UFC Champions in Tito Ortiz, Rampage Jackson, Forrest Griffin and Chuck Liddell.
In his first fight since UFC 114 victory over Rampage Jackson, Evans dominated Ortiz in every aspect of MMA, walking away with a spectacular 2nd Round TKO victory. It was a sweet return, and P4P-caliber performance against a very tough opponent.
In fact, the last man to finish Tito Ortiz was Chuck Liddell back at UFC 66. Since then, Ortiz faced four Top 10 UFC Light Heavyweights, all unable to KO/TKO, nor submit the future UFC Hall of Famer (or not).
Rashad Evans will now face the winner of UFC 135 match-up between Jon Jones and Quinton Jackson, which will take place at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, on September 24th. Evans will look to win back the title he lost to Lyoto Machida back at UFC 98 via a brutal KO in Round 2.
MMA fans around the world are already speculating whether Evans is the man to dethrone Jon Jones. But make no mistake Jon Jones still has to beat Rampage Jackson, who will be more than ready for UFC 135. Jackson may be stylistically a better match-up for Evans, but definitely a tougher test than he was back at UFC 114.
But let's assume Rashad Evans will be fighting Jon Jones.
Since the mentioned above KO loss to Machida, Evans struggled on his feet against high-level strikers. Rampage Jackson and Thiago Silva tagged "Suga" with pretty good shots, and were only a few punches away from finishing the man who now trains at Imperial Athletics in Boca Raton, Florida.
We saw the same thing in a fight with Tito Ortiz. People's Champ is not the best striker out there, yet, Ortiz stunned Evans with good knees in Round 1, reminding "Suga" that he still has something to work on.
Of course, Evans outstruck Ortiz 81-15 and was in full control throughout the fight, but the potential encounter with Jon Jones will be a different story.
Jones is a-good-enough wrestler to stop Evans' takedowns. According to CompuStrike statistics posted prior to UFC 133, Evans is successful only in 65% of his takedown attempts. That's a bad number to go with against a fighter who prior to UFC 128 triumph over Shogun Rua was successful in 91% of his takedown attempts, some of them against wrestlers such as Matt Hamill, Vladimir Matyushenko, Jake O'Brien and Ryan Bader.
There's a pretty good chance that Rashad Evans will be forced to stand with Jon Jones. And that's a bad idea, simply because, at least in my opinion, Jon Jones is currently the most dangerous striker in Mixed Martial Arts alongside the UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. His long reach and unorthodox combos are a nightmare for every fighter on the planet, especially for someone with a "problematic" striking like Rashad Evans.
Jon Jones' movement style and distance management will be Mission Impossible for Rashad Evans, who will have to work overtime with Tyrone Spong, if he wants to survive on his feet. Again, I was impressed with Evans' performance last Saturday, but I find it hard to picture him taking the title away from Jon Jones, if "Bones" defeats Jackson at UFC 135.
Further Reading: UFC 133 Recap