Sunday, April 22, 2012

There's No Keeping Up With This Jones

Even when not in top form, Jon Jones finds a way to embarrass his opponents

image via heavy.com
BY JODY WHITE

A comment from Jon Jones’ corner at the beginning of the fourth round spoke volumes about last night’s UFC 145 main event.

“Hey Jon, have fun out there!”

Throughout most of the headline fight for UFC 145, Jon Jones, the ridiculously talented UFC light heavyweight champ, certainly looked as if he was having a good time. He commanded complete control of the Octagon,  throwing strikes at will -- mixing push kicks, quick jabs and spinning elbows -- and receiving almost nothing in return.

The same could not be said for his opponent, former champ (and former friend) Rashad Evans, who gradually realized that he lacked the skills, the reach and the conditioning to pose a threat to Jones.

Aside from a beautiful head kick early in the fight that rocked Jones, Evans could not put together any meaningful offense, opting instead to hover on the outside and go for big, singular strikes that often missed. In the second round he fell into Jones’ deadly trap of playing pattycakes and eating half a dozen nasty elbows, one of which began to close his right eye.

The fourth round was the beginning of the end for Evans. If he stayed outside, he’d take a push kick to the face. If he closed the distance, he’d eat knees and elbows. He attempted to take Jones down, but ended up in a standing guillotine that looked a lot like the one that put Lyoto Machida to sleep last year.

And when Evans leaned into Jones in an effort to secure underhooks, Jones hit him in the face repeatedly with his shoulder. It seems there is no part of the champ’s body that can’t be turned into a weapon.

By the fifth round, Evans was little more than a sparring partner for Jones. Realizing that Evans was exhausted and mentally beaten, Jones threw a dizzying array of combinations, constantly changing levels and distances. But for all the punishment he doled out, he could not finish Evans, which makes me wonder if perhaps he was sick going into the fight? Evans is tough, but he was ripe for the taking and Jones just couldn’t close the deal.

On a side note, the propensity for North American fight fans to start booing at the first sign of anything less than a brawl is getting more than a little embarrassing. Watch any fights from Europe or Asia and you’ll see an audience who appreciates the high level of technique and athleticism on display. On this side of the pond, drunken yahoos rain down jeers and derision if they don’t see a knockout every five minutes.

But they pay their way, so I suppose they’re entitled to vent their spleen, educated or not.


Paqman&Bull are pleased to welcome special guest correspondent Jody White on board to share his insight and musings on all things MMA. We also asked him to shave, but he just wouldn't listen to us.

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