Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans official for UFC 145 in AtlantaPosted on February 8, 2012, 01:08 PM by Joey Santosus
The Light Heavyweight title clash between division Champion Jon Jones and challenger Rashad Evans is now official for UFC 145 in Atlanta.
UFC officials have confirmed the bout, and announced that tickets will go on sale February 17th.
Evans (17-1-1) recently reaffirmed his place as number-one contender by defeating fellow collegiate wrestling stand-out, Phil Davis, in the UFC on Fox 2 headliner. With the victory, "Suga" extended his current winning streak to four and set the stage for his long awaited grudge match with "Bones," a former friend and Jackson's MMA training partner.
Jones (15-1), meanwhile, is widely credited with turning in the most successful year in mixed martial arts history. After kicking-off 2011 with a second-round submission victory over the previously undefeated Ryan Bader, he went on to dethrone Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in March, becoming the first fighter to defeat the Brazilian via strikes. Such accomplishments, coupled with back-to-back title defenses against former title holders, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Lyoto Machida, brought Jones to 4-0 on the year, and made him the youngest champion in UFC history.
The long standing rivalry between the former teammates has been brewing since Jones was tabbed as a replacement for an injured Evans in the title fight against Rua. Though word from the camp was that no hard feelings existed between the two, things began heating up when "Bones" went on record stating that, if push came to shove, he'd be willing to fight his then-training partner.
Jackson's MMA head coach, Greg Jackson, had since stated that he would remain neutral in the likely event that his star pupils squared off, but with Evans now training at Imperial Athletics in Boca Raton, Florida, that no longer appears to the case.
"I'm going back and forth now because I have to think about what it means to be on a team," Jackson told MMAFighting.com. "Are we just a collection of friends that train together? For me, it's much more than that. It means something to be on this team and it means something to have teammates. Rashad kind of left that. I don't know, I'm leaning toward cornering Jon right now. Even though it's something that I don't want to do, it might end up that way."
The Jones vs. Evans showdown will serve as headliner for the UFC 145 fight card, set to take place April 21st from the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Also expected is a Welterweight clash pitting rapidly rising contender Rory MacDonald against Che Mills, and TUF 10 runner-up Brendan Schaub returns against Ben Rothwell.