1. The Grudge Match:
The history between Rashad Evans
and Jon Jones
and well documented. Bottom line is they do not like each other, in fact Evans does not like anybody that Jones associates himself with. Evans has said that beating Jones is more important than winning the UFC Light Heavyweight
Championship, and Jones has said Evans is fueled by jealousy. Whatever fuels them, they are going to meet inside the Octagon on Saturday night. Evans, with his strong wresting background, presents some problems for Jones, who has really never been in trouble as the champion. Evans has talked the talk, we will see if he can walk the walk.
2. The Youth Movement:
Two of the UFC's youngest and brightest starts take center stage in Atlanta on Saturday night. 22-year-old welterweight Rory MacDonald
faces Englishman Che Mills in the co-main event of the evening. MacDonald is 3-1 in the UFC and is on a two fight winning streak since his loss to Carlos Condit
at UFC 115. Many, including welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, view MacDonald as the next big thing in the welterweight division. If MacDonald looks good against Mills, he could be on the fast track to a title shot.
21-year-old bantamweight Michael McDonald
faces veteran Miguel Torres
on the main card of UFC 145
. McDonald is 3-0 in the UFC and is quickly rising up the bantamweight rankings. However, McDonald will take a major step up in competition when he faces Torres. Torres is the former WEC Bantamweight
Champion and has over 40 professional fights in his career. A win against Torres puts McDonald in position for a title shot.
3. Brendan Schaub's Return:
In 2011, Brendan Schaub was one of the best prospects in the heavyweight division. Schaub had won four fights in a row since his loss to Roy Nelson
at The Ultimate Fighter Finale in 2009 and he was about to face the biggest challenge of his career. In August of 2011, Schaub faced Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
at UFC 134
. Schaub was knocked out in the first round by Big Nog and he as thrusted back on the UFC heavyweight ladder. Schaub showed some flashes that he could contend for a title, however he is unproven against top competition. Although his opponent, Ben Rothwell
, is not considered top competition, he is a worthy test for Schab as he looks to continue his climb back up the heavyweight division.
4. Stephen Thompson:
Former world kickboxing champion Stephen Thompson makes his second appearance in the Octagon at UFC 145. In his UFC debut, Thompson was awarded "Knockout of the Night" for his head-kick knockout of Dan Stittgen
at UFC 143
. Thompson is truly one of the best kickboxers in the world and although he has limited MMA experience (only six fights), he has the potential to make some noise in the welterweight division.