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Jon Jones made the third successful defense of his light heavyweight title this past Saturday night with a unanimous-decision victory over Rashad Evans. The bout served as the main event of UFC 145 at Phillips Arena in Atlanta.
Both men seemed hesitant to engage and both showed the respect they had for each other's skills. Jones got the better of the striking, rattling Evans at multiple times during the fight. Evans was not able to get the fight to the ground, and did not do enough damage standing to earn a victory.
Even though Jones said after the fight Evans wobbled him, the champion was in no real danger at any moment during the fight. The final scores were 49-46, 49-46 and 50-45, all for Jones. After the fight it was announced that Jones will face former Arizona State wrestler Dan Henderson in his next title defense.
The star of the night was 22-year-old welterweight Rory MacDonald, who dominated Che Mills en route to a TKO victory. In the first round, MacDonald got Mills to the ground and performed vicious ground and pound on the Englishman. The second round was much of the same, with MacDonald finishing the fight on top of Mills pounding away before the referee stepped in and ended the fight.
UFC 145 pulled an attendance of 15,545 for a live gate of 2.3 million. "Knockout of the Night" was awarded to heavyweight Ben Rothwell for his TKO of Brendan Schaub. "Submission of the Night" went to Travis Browne for his arm triangle submission of Chad Griggs. "Fight of the Night" went to featherweights Mark Hominick and Eddie Yagin, who engaged in a bloody batte over three rounds, with Yagin earning a split-decision victory.
Highlights of the main event of the evening
Video embedded from Youtube, courtesy UFC, Zuffa and Fox Sports
UFC 145 takes place tonight from the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones (15-1) faces former training partner Rashad Evans (17-1-1) in the main event. In the co-main event of the evening, welterweights Rory MacDonald (12-1) and Che Mills (14-4) clash.
The night of fights begins at 4 p.m. Pacific time with live fights on the UFC's Facebook page. Ultimate Fighter veteran Marcus Brimage (4-1) faces Maximo Blanco (8-3) in a featherweight clash, and welterweights Keith Wisniewski (28-12-1) and Chris Clements (10-4) battle in the second fight of the evening. To view the fights, just click "Like" on the UFC's Facebook page.
At 5 p.m. the action shifts over to FX. Four preliminary fights are scheduled for FX, highlighted by a heavyweight bout between Travis Browne (12-0-1) and Chad Griggs (11-1). Glendale's Efrain Escudero (19-4) faces fellow lightweight Mac Danzig (21-9-1) to open the FX prelims.
Former kickboxing world champion Stephen Thompson (6-0) faces Matt Brown (15-11) on the FX prelims, Thompson was 63-0 as a professional kickboxer and won "Knockout of the Night" in his UFC debut at UFC 143.
At 7 p.m., the action shifts to pay-per-view with a six-bout main card. 22-year-old bantamweight Michael McDonald (14-1) faces veteran Miguel Torres (39-4) and heavyweights Brendan Schaub (9-2) and Ben Rothwell (31-8) clash as part of the pay-per-view portion of the card.
The evening culminates with the battle for the light heavyweight championship, as Jones and Evans will settle their differences inside the Octagon. Jones and Evans were former training partners under Greg Jackson, however when Jones won the light heavyweight title, Evans was forced to leave the camp and start his own training team.
Listen to a full preview of UFC 145 on the latest episode of The Devil's Cage. An MMA podcast that I co-host with Blane Ferguson. In this episode we breakdown UFC on FUEL TV and give a full preview of UFC 145 with predictions. Listen below.
Full TV Schedule and Predictions below.
Main Card (7 p.m. PPV):
SB Nation Arizona Predicts: Evans by knockout
Welterweight: Rory MacDonald (12-1) vs. Che Mills (14-4)
SB Nation Arizona Predicts: Mills by knockout
SB Nation Arizona Predicts: Schaub by knockout
Bantamweight: Michael McDonald (14-1) vs. Miguel Torres (39-4)
SB Nation Arizona Predicts: McDonald by knockout
SB Nation Arizona Predicts: Hominick by knockout
SB Nation Arizona Predicts: Alessio by unanimous decision
Preliminary Card (5 p.m. FX):
SB Nation Arizona Predicts: Griggs by TKO
SB Nation Arizona Predicts: Thompson by knockout
SB Nation Arizona Predicts: Njokuani by unanimous decision
SB Nation Arizona Predicts: Danzig by submission
Preliminary Card (4 p.m. Facebook):
SB Nation Arizona Predicts: Clements by knockout
SB Nation Arizona Predicts: Brimage by unanimous decision
For full fight night coverage go to MMA Fighting
UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones and challenger Rashad Evans were both on weight today, in advance of their Octagon showdown tomorrow night. Evans came in at 204-pounds, a full pound below the light heavyweight limit. Jones came in at the limit of 205-pounds.
The two men were face to face after they weighed in and had to be separated after only a few moments. "It's a gigantic fight, and I'm happy to be here," said Jones.
All fighters on the main card of UFC 145 made weight. Heavyweight Ben Rothwell (263) will have a 26-pound weight advantage over Brendan Schaub (237), and Travis Browne (250) will have a 22-pound weight advantage over Chad Griggs (228).
The only fighter to not make weight was lightweight John Makdessi. Madessi weighed in at 158-pounds, three pounds over the limit. He will give his opponent, Anthony Njokuani, 20% of his purse.
Full weigh-in results below:
*- Makdessi comes in overweight and will give Anthony Njokuani 20% of his purse.
UFC 145 boasts one of the most anticipated main events in UFC History as Jon Jones faces former training partner Rashad Evans. Over the past year, Jones has rolled his way through the light heavyweight division and up MMA pound-for-pound rankings. Evans has taken a back seat to his former teammate while he recovered from a knee injury.
Evans was forced into a 14-month layoff after his victory over Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in May of 2010. In August 2011, Evans defeated Tito Ortiz, and in January of 2012, Evans defeated Phil Davis via unanimous decision to earn a title shot at Jones.
Full breakdown of the main event:
Striking: Jones is clearly one of the best strikers in the light heavyweight divisions. His diverse array of punches, knees and kicks keep opponents off balance and confused during fights. Jones outlands opponents by 2.4 strikes per minute, meaning he lands 2.4 more strikes every minutes than he absorbs. Jones lands 53% of his strikes to the head, 25.4% to the body and 21.5% to the legs. Evans' 66.7% striking defense is third best in light heavyweight history. Evans has a career striking accuracy of 39.5%. Clearly both men are superb strikers, Jones has proved it against Shogun and Jackson, and Evans' KO of Chuck Liddell at UFC 98 is one of the most brutal ever. Advantage: Jones
Ground: Jon Jones is impossible to take down. Seriously. He has 100% take down defense, meaning that Jones has never been taken down in a fight. Jones also has the best takedown accuracy in the division's history. Jones has a takedown defense of 63.6%, and he has 21 career takedowns. Jones was a wrestling champion in high school. Evans was an All-American wrestler at Michigan State. Every opponent that Evans has tried to take down, he has taken down. Evans averages 4.32 takedowns per 15 minutes in the Octagon. Both men bring strong credentials into the ground game. The thing is, we have never seen Jones on his back in a bad position. Advantage: Evans.
Mental: There is no doubt that Evans wants to win this fight more than Jones does. Even though both men are competitors and both men come to win each time they step in the Octagon. Evans is fueled by revenge and he has said that defeating Jones is more important than winning the belt. Evans seems focused on his goal and he seems hungrier than Jones for this fight. Advantage: Evans
In a division with such parody, Jon Jones has been the exception. From 2007-2010 , the UFC light heavyweight belt changed hands five times, with only Lyoto Machida and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson successfully defending the title.
Jones won the belt from Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in March of 2011 and defended it twice in 2011 with victories over both Rampage and Machida. Jones already has the most light heavyweight title defenses since Chuck Liddell.
Jones comes into his next title defense against his former teammate Rashad Evans as a heavy favorite. Jones is -500 in the eyes of the Las Vegas oddsmakers, and Evans is a +350 underdog. The line shows how dominant Vegas believes Jones is, as Evans is Jones' toughest fight, and Jones is still a substantial favorite.
Full main card odds below via Bovada Sportsbook:
Welterweight: Rory MacDonald (-500) vs. Che Mills (+350)
UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones defends his title against former training partner Rashad Evans at UFC 145 this Saturday night in one of the most anticipated fights in UFC history.