Ultimate Fighting Championship presents
UFC 145 – Jones Vs Evans
Philips Arena – Atlanta, Georgia
Saturday, April 21, 2012, 10:00 pm Eastern, TV: Pay-Per-View
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker
The UFC light Heavyweight Title will be on the line Saturday in Atlanta at UFC 145. Jon “Bones” Jones will put his title on the line against his former friend and training partner Rashad Evans. With Middleweight champion George St. Pierre on the shelf with a torn ACL, Jones is arguably the best pound for pound fighter in MMA, but it won’t be a cake walk against the crafty veteran Evans.
The main event isn’t the only great fight on the card in the Dirty South. I will discuss each of the six fights on the card in detail and offer some predictions. All betting odds are courtesy of Bookmaker.
Mark Bocek (-355) vs John “The Natural” Alessio (+285) – Lightweight Bout, Three Rounds
Bocek is 30 years old from Toronto with a 10-4 career record (6-4 UFC). He will take on the journeyman John Alessio. Alessio is 32 and resides in Las Vegas. He is 34-14 overall in his career but is 0-3 in UFC.
Bocek is a dangerous submission specialist but just hasn’t been able to get over the hump to be one of the top tier lightweights. He has losses in his career to Frankie Edgar, Jim Miller, and Benson Henderson, some of the best lightweights in MMA. He is a little inconsistent, but has shown flashes of brilliance as he did in his last fight against Nik Lentz in December of last year. Lentz had won 15 fights in a row prior to that bout but Bocek used takedowns and a devastating ground and pound to score a unanimous decision. It was arguably the best performance of his career. Seven of Bocek’s wins have come via tap-out.
Alessio was an injury replacement for Matt Wiman who withdrew with a knee injury. Alessio has won 10 of his last 11 fights, but hasn’t fought in UFC since 2006. Most of those fights were at welterweight, but Alessio started competing at 155 last November. He just fought just over a month ago, and hasn’t faced anyone the caliber of Bocek in quite a while. Stamina could be an issue if the fight goes the distance.
Alessio also has a good ground game, but his best chance to win might be to stay on his feet. Bocek is deadly on the ground with his Brazilian jiu-jitsu attack.
Prediction: If Alessio can stay on his feet, he might survive all three rounds. If Bocek catches him on the ground it could be over quickly. Alessio will give a game effort, but Bocek wins by submission in the third round.
Mark “The Machine” Hominick (-650) vs Eddie “The Filipino Phenom” Yagin (+450) – Featherweight bout, Three Rounds
Hominick is 29 from London, Ontario, Canada. He has an MMA record of 20-10 including 3-2 in UFC. Yagin is 33 from Honolulu, with an MMA record of 15-5-1 including 0-1 in UFC.
Last December at UFC 140, Hominick was a heavy favorite against South Korean brawler Chan Sung Jung. However, Hominick threw a wild left hook that missed, and got knocked out by a straight right in 7 seconds. It was his second loss in a row after he lost to UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo last April by unanimous decision. It will be a while before Hominick gets another title shot. Hominick will use his excellent striking skills to try to erase the memory of what happened last December.
Yagin lost his UFC debut last September at UFC 135 to Junior Assuncao by a unanimous decision. It wasn’t that close as Assuncao controlled Yagin on the ground for most of the fight. Yagin was tentative in that bout and paid the price. If he is indecisive against Hominick it will be another lopsided fight.
Prediction: Hominick will not be careless this time after such a humiliating defeat last time out. He won’t take Yagin lightly. Hominick wins by unanimous decision, that could be even more lopsided than the Assuncao bout.
Miguel Torres (-125) vs Michael “Mayday” McDonald (-105) – Bantamweight bout, Three Rounds
Torres is 31 from East Chicago, Indiana. He is 40-4 in his career and 2-1 in UFC. McDonald is 21 from Modesto, California. He is 14-1 in his young career, including 3-0 in UFC. He has won 7 fights in a row.
Torres has won 3 of his last 4 fights, but hasn’t fought since November. The former WEC Bantamweight Champion was briefly released from UFC after a poor attempt at humor last December on Twitter. He made a joke about how “rape vans” should be called surprise vans instead. He was rehired less than 3 weeks later.
At 5’9″ Torres usually has the reach advantage in bantamweight bouts, and this will be no exception. He likes to use angles to employ his dangerous stand-up attack. He sometimes struggles against strong wrestlers, like he did against Demetrious Johnson last May in a decision loss. However, McDonald doesn’t really fit that bill.
McDonald is considered to be an up and coming bantamweight. He is 3-0 in UFC but it hasn’t been easy. He battled pre-fight injuries and struggles to make weight in his first two fights in the Octagon, lackluster decision wins over Edwin Figueroa and Chris Cariaso. He knocked out Alex Soto in 56 seconds last November, in a very impressive performance that earned him a fight of the night bonus.
McDonald will rely on his counterstriking and takedowns to put Torres off balance.
Prediction: The winner of this fight could be in line for a title shot against Dominick Cruz very soon. This could be a candidate for fight of the night. Torres wins a close hard fought decision.
Brendan “The Hybrid” Schaub (-290) vs Ben Rothwell (+230) – Heavyweight Bout – Three Rounds
Schaub is 29 from Aurora, Colorado. He is is 8-2 in his career including 4-2 in UFC. Rothwell is 31-8 in his career and 1-2 in UFC. The 30 year old is from Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Schaub lost the Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale in 2009 to Roy Nelson. After that Schaub won 4 fights in a row before he ran in Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Schaub got knocked out in the first round, and it led people to question his chin as Nelson also knocked him out. Schaub will rely on his striking ability and athleticism. Seven of his eight wins came by knockout or ref stoppage.
The veteran Rothwell lost his last fight in the thin air of Denver last September to Mark Hunt. Both fighters were exhausted in the high altitude. Rothwell showed a lot of guts by lasting the all three rounds despite gasping for air. Even though Rothwell has been involved in some brawls before, he will get destroyed if he starts trading punches with Schaub. Rothwell needs to make this ugly with takedowns and pinning Schaub against the cage.
Prediction: I wouldn’t leave to get a beverage once this fight starts because it could be over quickly. Schaub will be out for redemption after his last loss and will knock the journeyman out in the first.
Rory “Ares” MacDonald (-620) vs “Beautiful” Che Mills (+470) Welterweight Bout – Three Rounds
MacDonald is 22 from British Columbia, Canada. He is 12-1 in his MMA career including 3-1 in UFC. MacDonald has won 2 fights in a row since a TKO loss to Carlos Condit in 2010. Mills is 29 from England. He is 14-4 in his career including 1-0 in UFC. He has won 5 fights in a row.
MacDonald hasn’t fought since last August, a sensational first round TKO over Mike Pyle. MacDonald has drawn comparisons to George St. Pierre at the same age. In the Condit loss, MacDonald was ahead on all scorecards but the fight was stopped with seven seconds left in the third round. MacDonald is solid in all areas, striking, takedowns, wrestling, on the ground and with submissions. MacDonald is still young but very talented. He can beat you in whatever style you want. The problem is the welterweight division is loaded even with St. Pierre’s injury. MacDonald will have to wait his turn to get a title shot but it will happen eventually.
Mills made his UFC debut last November with an impressive first round knockout of Chris Cope. Mills isn’t well known in the US, but he is a very talented fighter. Mills wants to keep this fight standing up, and will use his quickness and movement to elude MacDonald’s takedowns.
Prediction: Barring something unexpected like surprise knockout, Mills could be in serious trouble in this fight. Schaub is much more talented than Cope, and won’t get caught by Mills’ knee. Mills might survive until the second, but Schaub wins by KO or submission.
Jon “Bones” Jones (-470) vs Rashad “Suga” Evans (-370)
UFC Light Heavyweight Title – Five Rounds
Jones is 24 from Rochester, New York. He is 15-1 in his career including 9-1 in UFC. His only loss came in 2009 when he was disqualified for illegal elbows against Matt Hamill in the Ultimate Fighter 10. Evans is 32 from Niagara Falls, New York. He is 17-1-1 in his career including 12-1-1 in UFC. He has won his last 4 fights.
Though it could be acting to hype the fight, there appears to be legitimate heat between former friends Jones and Evans. The list of fighters these two have faced is a who’s who of light heavyweight contenders past, present, and future. Phil Davis, Tito Ortiz, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Thiago Silva, Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin, Chuck Lidell, Michael Bisping Mauricio Rua, and Ryan Bader have all been beaten by either and/or both Evans and Jones.
Jones beat Lyoto Machida last December by technical submission in the second. It was his sixth straight win since the Hamill DQ loss. Machida gave Evans the only loss of his career in 2009 by a second round KO. Evans won his last fight in January against Phil Davis by unanimous decision.
Jones has never been knocked down or taken down in any of his fights so he hasn’t really been tested so far. Machida came closest by winning the first round, before Jones choked him out in the second. Jones will have a definite reach advantage against Evans by almost 10 inches. Jones doesn’t really have knockout power, and is more of a submission specialist.
For Evans, he will use a similar game plan as he did in his decisive victory over Davis. He used his quickness to dodge Davis’s attack and score takedowns of his own. Jones has never faced anyone as quick as Evans, though Machida is very elusive in own right.
It will be interesting to see how Jones reacts if and when Evans is able to take down to the mat. If Evans gets Jones down he can use his long legs to neutralize Jones’ offense.
Prediction: These two sparred and trained with each other for years, so they know what the other will do. Evans will struggle to get in close enough to do damage. The problem is one he does get in close he open’s himself up to Jones’ dangerous striking and ground game. Evans is good enough to last at least two rounds, but Jones simply has too much for him and wins by submission.
It should be a great card with some exciting fights.