The UFC 145 main event featuring the young champ Jon Jones and his biggest threat to date, Rashad Evans, has been built up more than any fight in UFC history. There are countless story lines heading into UFC 145 and before we get into the breakdown of the actual fight, lets look back at how this whole thing fell apart.
Saturday night's fight was supposed to take place more than a year ago when Evans suffered a hand injury and wasn't able to take the fight. Jones then countered with a hand injury of his own that left Evans to agree to a bout with Tito Ortiz instead.
Jones and Evans once trained together at world renowned trainer Greg Jackson's gym in Albuquerque New Mexico. The former friends turned bitter rivals after Jones proclaimed he would fight Evans if push came to shove. Evans felt betrayed by not only Jones but by Jackson as well for staying mull on the subject. Evans consequently left Jackson's and took his training to Boca Raton to train with the gym that has become known as the "Blackzilians."
It's easy to see both sides of the rift and there's always two sides to every story. While Jones hasn't gave a legitimate reason for blindsiding Evans by saying he'd fight his former friend on national television, who can claim they might not have done the same thing with the world at their feet at 23-years-old?
It's much easier to see Evans' side of things. He grew into the fighter he is today at Jackson's gym. He arguably brought much of the talent to Jackson's, including the light heavyweight title and for all of the work he put in there, he basically was pushed aside as a younger, more appealing light heavyweight came into the picture in Jones. It would be fair to say that a majority of the blame should be placed on Jackson and rightfully so. After all, it was Jackson's gym and he decided to bring Jones in knowing there would be a chance Jones and Evans paths would eventually cross.
If Jackson would have told Evans from the beginning that there was indeed a chance Evans and Jones would fight, there wouldn't be an issue. But telling your then star fighter that everything was fine and the two would never fight, only to sit back and silently watch as Jones and Evans relationship deteriorated is on Jackson. Add that to the fact that Jackson, in his decision to remain silent, chose Jones over Evans and it's hard not to feel for the former champ.
Now that all of the pleasantries are out of the way, lets get into how this fight will play out.
Jones had the best calendar year in MMA history and fans agreed giving Jones the tittle of World MMA Awards Fighter of the Year. Jones started his 2011 campaign by making Ryan Bader look like an amateur in route to a second round submission victory. Bader's stock has dropped since his loss to Tit Ortiz but at the time Jones fought him, Bader was a top contender. Jones then went on to fight for the title after stepping in for an injured Evans and picked apart Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, battering the former PRIDE legend and ripping away his title via third round knockout.
Since winning the title, Jones defended it twice against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Lyoto Machida. Jones easily ran through Jackson but struggled figuring Machida out for the majority of the first round. Machida caught Jones and it was the first time the champ looked human inside the Octagon. Jones bounced back in the second round and finished Machida via submission in the second round but the fight pulled Jones out of mythical status. At least a little.
Questions about Jones' chin was quietly discussed through no fault of his own. The questions raised because the young champ rarely gets hit. The Machida fight was the first time he was caught with a clean punch. Jones' wrestling is top notch and as far as in the cage creativity goes, no other fighter in MMA takes the chances Jones does inside the Octagon. Jones says he doesn't really have game plans and just takes what his opponents give him. That may be one of the reasons how he's able to do things MMA fans have never before seen in the sport.
To go along with Jones' spectacular in-cage acrobatics, he also has a squeaky clean image outside of the cage. Something that's made him very appealing to mainstream advertisers. Most recently, the UFC became the sole sponsor of Jones, something that to his point has been unheard of. Jones will only be wearing UFC gear and many have cried foul citing a conflict of interest and claiming the UFC is pulling for Jones. The idea for the Jones' camp is that in the hopes of going after giant corporations like Nike, Gatorade, etc. that they need to stay away from other sponsors that may derail this aspirations.
"Rampage" may have turned some fans against Jones claiming that the champ is fake and phony. Evans has been singing the same song for more than a year now as well and the UFC 145 weigh-in's may have been the best measuring stick. There were surprisingly heavy boo's for Jones as he stepped onto the scale and that's something the champ hasn't experienced before. Although Jones is remarkably mentally strong for his age, it would be tough to imagine that some of the things Evans has been saying hasn't gotten into the champs head.
Evans and "Rampage" are two of the most prolific trash-talkers in the sport and are big believers in mental warfare. Evans was once on top of the world, knocking out UFC Hall-of-Famer Chuck Liddell followed by a TKO victory over Forrest Griffin to earn the light heavyweight crown. Evans was viscously knocked out by Machida in his first title defense and that was the beginning of the end for Evans and Jackson's camp.
After Evans departure to Florida, he debuted what many began calling "Rashad 2.0" after he looked phenomenal against Ortiz earning a second round TKO. Evans then went on to easily defeat light heavyweight standout Phil Davis to earn another crack at the title.
Evans' boxing has reached new heights and he boasts devastating knockout power. Evans transition game from the standup to takedowns is the most fluid in the light heavyweight division. That's going to be key for Evans in Saturday night's fight. Evans will need to close the distance quickly and take Jones down. If what we've been hearing is indeed true, Jones will have trouble getting out from under Evans. Once that begins to creep into the back of Jones head, combined with Evans quick feet, that should open up the big overhand right against the much taller fighter.
Jones has a big reach advantage over Evans which if implemented correctly will be an advantage. If Evans can figure out Jones' puzzle, which he claims to have the blueprint to, he can throw his overhand right and catch Jones unexpectedly. Jones was caught by Machida with a punch that didn't have much mustard behind it. Evans not only hits much harder but has sparred with Jones countless times and shouldn't have much trouble adjusting to Jones' reach.
Prediction: Rashad Evans wins back his light heavyweight title by way of knockout in the third round.
The UFC will take a monumental step towards becoming mainstream when the organization makes its highly anticipated debut on FOX TV for Velasquez vs. Dos Santos this Saturday at 9 p.m. ET. The remaining nine fights will be viewable on Facebook and Fox Sports
UFC president Dana White has so much faith that the heavyweights will deliver that Velasquez and Dos Santos will be the only fight televised on the FOX broadcast.
"I can guarantee you if this fight goes 30 seconds or 30 minutes, this is going to be a fight right here," White said referring to the heavyweight showdown between Velasquez and Dos Santos.
On July 3, 2010, former heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar looked indestructible as he not only absorbed a barrage of heavy punches from the hardest hitting slugger in the UFC, Shane Carwin, but came back and won the fight in the second round. Although maybe a few question marks had surfaced, Lesnar was still considered one of the toughest guys in the heavyweight division.
Just three months later, Lesnar was an afterthought and Velasquez was the talk of the MMA world. It didn't matter that Lesnar had a four inch reach advantage or outweighed Velasquez by at least 30 pounds. Velasquez used his speed, power and technique to stun Lesnar on the feet and finish the fight in dominant fashion.
The UFC and FOX are banking on a similar fight between Velasquez and Dos Santos for Saturday's event. Not only does Velasquez have to worry about putting on an exciting performance but he has to do it against the best boxer in the UFC.
There isn't any bad blood between these two heavyweights and it really isn't necessary. Although it's always entertaining to see a rivalry and guys trading verbal jabs, for the UFC's debut on FOX, it's better to have two professional fighters do their talking inside the octagon.
The countdown show was done a little differently than those done in the past on Spike TV. There wasn't a heavy amount of footage of guys beating each other down in training camps and hitting heavy bags. Instead the show focused more on who these two fighters really are and what makes them tick.
To someone who wasn't familiar with either fighter, the message they got walking away from the countdown show was that Velasquez is your everyday guy who provides for and devoutly loves his family. A man of very few words that hasn't let fame get to his head and still mops the floors at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, where he tirelessly trains.
For Dos Santos, a similar picture was painted showing the heavyweight walking the streets of Salvador, Brazil signing autographs and giving children hugs without the usual entourage of groupies we've grown accustomed to with boxers like Floyd Mayweather. We saw Dos Santos being, well Dos Santos. A cheerful guy who loves to joke around and make you envious of just how much he seems to enjoy the small things in life.
Yeah, they're just your typical everyday guys. They also just happen to be two of the most dangerous men on the planet.
Dos Santos has steamrolled everyone he's faced in the UFC, maintaining an undefeated record of 7-0 in the Octagon. Also undefeated is the current champ, who holds an equally impressive record of 9-0, winning eight fights by knockout. Dos Santos has the edge on the feet and the better boxing but not by much. Velasquez has worked hard on improving his hands and showcased that in his last two bouts against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Lesnar. But none of his previous opponents possessed the boxing skills of Dos Santos.
Velasquez, a two-time 5A state champion in wrestling at Arizona State University, has a definitive advantage on the ground but Dos Santos has showed in his previous two fights that he's almost impossible to keep down. That's where the difficulty lies for Velasquez. Even though the champ is no slouch on the feet, it would be foolish to stand and trade with the powerful Dos Santos. Taking his opponent to the ground would be the best option for the champ but Velasquez has said that he plans to stand and trade with Dos Santos.
Not only is standing with Dos Santos the most dangerous path to victory, Velasquez likely feels an enormous amount of pressure to put on an exciting fight, which would include staying off the ground. In no way am I suggesting that anyone has told the champ to keep the fight standing because I can assure you that hasn't happened. However, when there's a full fight card and the heavyweight title matchup is the lone fight being broadcast, not to mention it's the biggest thing to ever happen for the UFC, the fighters and potentially all of MMA as a whole, it's safe to say these two guys will be head hunting.
Regardless of who wins the fight, it's hard to root against either one of these fighters. They're both gentle giants outside of MMA and killers inside the Octagon. Although it's an extremely risky move putting all of your eggs into one basket, I think the UFC and FOX made the right call in choosing this heavyweight showdown as their entrance into mainstream America.
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Middleweight contender Chael Sonnen has quickly become the greatest trash-talker in MMA history. Sonnen didn't make so much as a peep leading up to his bout with Brian "All American" Stann, claiming it was "just business."
But don't believe for a second that Sonnen will continue his vow of silence as a much anticipated rematch with champion Anderson Silva seems to be in the cards.
Sonnen gave an exclusive interview to MMA Weigh-In (www.mmaweighin.com), where he unleashed on Silva, claimed he was the greatest fighter in MMA and even touched on interviwer, Navid Razi's uphill battle at airports.
Since last August when Anderson Silva was pushed to the brink by top contender Chael Sonnen, there have been tireless debates on forums, roundtables, and over airwaves debating whether Silva or welterweight champ George St-Pierre was the pound-for-pound king. Silva's destruction of Yushin Okami, coined "the best fighter ever to come out of Japan," according to UFC President Dana White, silenced any such debate.
There have been countless times where a fight card looked rather dull and ended up providing some of the years most entertaining bouts. There's also cards that look very promising on paper but fail to deliver. UFC on Versus 5 not only looked promising on paper but delivered the kind of excitement normally expected out of a pay-per-view.
Only five of the 12 fights went to decisions last Sunday night and the implications for losing and winning were heavy.
Duane Ludwig, a heavy underdog, put on a striking clinic against Amir Sadollah through three-rounds. Ludwig had lost three of his last four bouts coming into last Sunday's fight but looked spectacular against the TUF favorite. Ludwig's two-fight win-streak may not amount to much but a blueprint of sorts was revealed on how to better Sadollah.
Even though UFC 126 will feature a main event in the Middleweight division, the real shakeup could take place in the organization’s most stacked division.
Before Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort enter the octagon to battle for the middleweight title, the UFC will see four of its best light-heavyweights enter the cage to determine the pecking order in the division. Long regarded as the most competitive weight class in the UFC, the light-heavyweight division has seen five different champions since 2007.
In what has been a highly anticipated matchup among die-hard UFC fans, two of the divisions most talented and devastating young talents meet to see who will take the next step toward the belt.
UFC 121 takes place from the Honda Center in Anaheim California on Saturday night where heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar puts his belt on the line against contender Cain Velasquez.
The heavyweight match-up is being touted as one of the most competitive bouts in the divisions history. Fans and media alike seem to be split right down the middle when it comes to Lesnar and Velasquez but TheFinalPoint.com breaks down why Lesnar will still be the heavyweight champ Sunday morning and how the rest of the card will play out.
UFC 118 is less than 24 hours away and fans might as well give up on trying to talk themselves out of purchasing the pay-per-view.
There are infinite story lines leading up to Saturday night's bout, where one matchup seems to overshadow the next.
When current heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar and interim title holder Shane Carwin step into the Octagon this Saturday, the UFC Heavyweight title wont be the only thing up for grabs.
Fabricio Werdum shocked the MMMA world when he dethroned Fedor Emelianenko, who is widely considered the greatest heavyweight in MMA history.
But after suffering his first legitimate loss to the hands of Werdum by way of triangle choke just 1:09 into the first round, "The Last Emperor" no longer has the invincible status that M-1 Global worked so hard to create.
After defeating Thiago Alves last July at UFC 100, George ‘Rush’ St. Pierre (19-2) has been waiting to see which welterweight would be the next to challenge his title.
St. Pierre’s answer came after British sensation Dan ‘The Outlaw’ Hardy (23-6-2) handily defeated Mike Swick last November at UFC 105. Despite only four fights in the UFC, Hardy was given the golden opportunity to stand toe-to-toe with the most decorated 170-pounder in UFC history.
Light Heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida put his title on the line against a rejuvinated Mauricio Rua.
Going into this fight, Machida was the least hit fighter in MMA history and by a significant margin. Machida took the title away from a then undefeated Rashad Evans, in devistating fashion.Rua was coming into the Machida fight after getting a knock out win against UFC Hall-of-Famer Chuck Liddell. Rua had a tough debut in the UFC, getting beat up and then
Anderson Silva painted his masterpiece at the expense of former UFC light heavyweight champ, Forrest Griffin. The debate over who is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world is endless but after Silva's brilliant performance last night, I'm sold.
Griffin never managed to land a single clean punch as Silva casually kept his hands at his sides, begging Griffin to engage. It was as if Silva was facing a man that had never before stepped foot into the cage. Silva did to Griffin what he does best; make professional fighters look like raw amateurs.
The argument that places Fedor Emelianenko at the top of many pound-for-pound lists is a valid one. Fedor has earned my respect as the best heavyweight in the world. You won't