UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans – Preview & Event Coverage
By PDG Staff
This Saturday night in Atlanta, the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship is again on the line in perhaps the most toxic grudge match in years, as Jon “Bones” Jones defends his title against former champion and former close friend “Suga” Rashad Evans. The two former friends and training partners have been feuding for well over a year now and the time for trash talk is over and it is time to see which cage crawler entrance user is the true champion.
Also on the main card is a welterweight match-up featuring young gun Rory MacDonald and former Cage Rage champion Che Mills. Former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres returns to action as he faces rising star Michael McDonald and heavy hearted Mark Hominick takes on Eddie Yagin. In heavyweight action, Ben Rothwell takes on former Ultimate fighter Brendan Schaub and a lightweight bout with John Alessio versus Mark Bocek rounds out the pay-per-view portion of the card.
The preliminary portion of the card that airs live on FX features a heavyweight showdown between Travis Browne and Chad Griggs. Also on FX, Matt Brown takes on the “Wonderboy” Stephen Thompson and John Makdessi will square off against Anthony Njokuani. Lightweights Mac Danzig and Efrain Escudero will open the night on FX.
The UFC Facebook stream features two bouts including Chris Clements versus Keith Wisniewski and the first fight of the night is former Ultimate Fighter Marcus Brimage versus Pancrase and Sengoku veteran Maximo Blanco.
Jon “Bones” Jones (15-1) vs. Rashad Evans (17-1-1)
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
Jon Jones (9-1 UFC) quickly rose as a fan favorite with exciting, inventive performances against Andre Gusmao and Stephan Bonnar. Jones then made short work of Jake O’Brien, picking up his first finish in the UFC before steamrolling The Ultimate Fighter 3’s Matt Hamill – although illegal 12-to-6 elbows from mount gave Jones a disqualification loss, the only loss of his career.
Following the Hamill bout, Jones brutalized Brandon Vera with elbows from guard, and then used elbows to finish Vladimir Matyushenko – each in the first round. After stopping The Ultimate Fighter 8 winner Ryan Bader with a guillotine choke, Jones was given a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title.
In his title shot, Jones overwhelmed PRIDE superstar Mauricio “Shogun” Rua with size and aggressiveness, becoming the only fighter to stop Rua by TKO. In his first title defense Jones showed patience aggression which led to a fourth round rear naked choke over former UFC champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Most recently he defeated another former champion as he choked out Lyoto Machida at UFC 140.
Jones, who is the youngest champion in UFC history, was a national JUCO champion while wrestling at Iowa Central Community College. Jones currently trains under Greg Jackson and owns five wins by submission and eight by TKO.
Rashad Evans (12-1-1 UFC) first made a name for himself by winning the second season of The Ultimate Fighter as a heavyweight. Evans quickly transitioned to the light heavyweight division and earned a 7-1-1 mark with the promotion to earn a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title.
Entering his title shot against Forrest Griffin, Evans had already compiled notable wins over former UFC champion Chuck Liddell, The Ultimate Fighter 3 winner Michael Bisping, and The Ultimate Fighter 1 finalist Stephan Bonnar. Evans made the most of his title shot, knocking out Griffin with ground and pound in the third round. In Evans’ first title defense, however, he was knocked out in his sole career loss by Lyoto Machida in the second round.
Evans rebounded with a decision win over highly-regarded Thiago Silva before appearing as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter opposite former UFC champion and PRIDE star Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Following the conclusion of the show the two fought with Evans edging out a unanimous decision. Then Evans stopped former UFC champion Tito Ortiz with a knee to the body and punches in the second round at UFC 133 in August. Most recently Evans won his fourth fight in row with a one-sided decision victory over Phil Davis.
Rory MacDonald (12-1) vs. Che Mills (14-4-1)
Rory MacDonald (3-1 UFC) is a promising welterweight prospect with only one loss on his professional mixed martial arts record. In all but one of his victories he has finished his opponent, only going to the third round twice. He holds six wins by submission and five by technical knockout or knockout.
After beginning his career in smaller shows, including seven bouts in King of the Cage where he won the promotion’s lightweight Canadian title over Kajan Johnson and the promotion’s lightweight world title over Clay French, MacDonald made his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 20 where he submitted Mike Guymon on the event’s preliminary card with a first round armbar. Following that fight he suffered the only loss of his career as Carlos Condit scored a TKO victory over MacDonald in an award winning fight (FOTN).
MacDonald was able to rebound though as won a closely decided decision victory over Nate Diaz at UFC 129. He last fought at UFC 133 where MacDonald scored a first round TKO win over Mike Pyle. MacDonald fights out of Tristar Gym, the home of UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre. The twenty-two year old fought a majority of his career at lightweight but made the move to welterweight permanently last year.
Former Cage Rage British welterweight champ, Che Mills (1-0 UFC) will look to improve on his current five-fight win streak as he makes his second appearance in the Octagon. After starting his mixed martial arts career 1-2, Mills has won twelve of his last fourteen bouts and holds notable wins over Marius Žaromskis twice, Chris Cope and Jake Hecht.
After losing back-to-back fights against Yuya Shirai and Jim Wallhead, Mills rebounded with a first round knockout of Manuel Garcia in Spain and then a unanimous decision victory over Jake Hecht. Then the well traveled fighter went to Russia and defeated Magomed Shikhshabekov at M-1 Challenge XXI. His last two victories including his Knockout of the Night performance against former Ultimate Fighter Chris Cope took place in England and Saturday night’s fight will be Mills’ first professional bout in the United States.
Mills appeared on the first episode of the Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom but lost in the elimination round. Beginning his career back in 2003, Mills has fought for several organizations including BAMMA, Cage Rage, M-1, KUMMA and CWFC.
Michael McDonald (14-1) vs. Miguel Torres (40-4)
PDG’s Match-Up of the Night
Former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres (2-1 UFC) makes his UFC return after briefly being unemployed following a tweet posted to his Twitter making a joke about rape last December. Dana White though had a change of heart and brought back the mulleted former champion.
Torres enters the bout riding a unanimous decision win over Nick Pace at UFC 139. That win came on the heels of a decision loss to Demetrious Johnson and since defending his WEC belt with a victory over Takeya Mizugaki, Torres has gone 3-3. In the WEC, Torres compiled a record of 6-2, including wins over Chase Beebe, Takeya Mizugaki, Manny Tapia, and Yoshiro Maeda.
At one point in his career, Torres rattled off seventeen straight wins and didn’t suffer a loss for nearly six years. He also owns a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy in Indiana and has been training at TriStar Gym in Montreal with trainer Firas Zahabi in preparation for this fight.
Michael McDonald (3-0 UFC) enters Saturday’s bout on a seven-fight win streak including victories in his first three fights in the Octagon. At only 21 years of age this bantamweight phenom has already rattled off fourteen victories with a lone defeat coming at the hands of Cole Escovedo, which he later avenged by knockout in Tachi Palace Fights.
McDonald joined the UFC on a four-fight win streak back in 2010 when Zuffa merged the WEC with the UFC. He made his Octagon debut with a unanimous decision victory over Edwin Figueroa at UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Davis that won both fighters Fight of the Night award bonuses. McDonald followed up that win with another decision victory, this time out-pointing Chris Cariaso. Most recently he was awarded Knockout of the Night honors for his crushing win over Alex Soto at UFC 139.
In McDonald’s career he has eight wins by knockout and four via submission and he holds other notable victories over Cole Escovedo and Manny Tapia. McDonald, who trains at Oakdale MMA with both of his brothers, wants to pursue a career as a minister after his MMA career.
* The main card will also feature an exciting heavyweight bout between former IFL stand-out Ben Rothwell (31-8) and former Ultimate Fighter Brendan Schaub (8-2). Rothwell lost his UFC debut against current UFC champion Cain Velasquez, but won his second Octagon appearance against Gilbert Yvel at UFC 115. Most recently though he was on the wrong end of a decision, losing to Mark Hunt at UFC 135. “Big Ben” made a name for himself in the now-defunct IFL where he compiled a perfect 9-0 record including wins over former IFL champion and The Ultimate Fighter 10 winner Roy Nelson, former UFC champion Ricco Rodriguez, and TUF alum Krzysztof Soszynski (twice). After getting knocked out at The Ultimate Fighter Heavyweights Finale by Roy Nelson, Schaub won four fights in row with wins over Mirko Cro Cop, Gabriel Gonzaga, Chris Tuchscherer and Chase Gormley before losing his last fight against Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira via knockout.
* Also, recent featherweight contender Mark Hominick (20-10) takes on Eddie Yagin (15-5-1). Hominick enters the bout coming off two consecutive losses against Jose Aldo in a featherweight title fight and then being knocked out by Chan-Sung Jung, but had previously been on a five-fight win streak, including three in the WEC. Hominick holds notable career victories over Yves Edwards, Bryan Caraway, Yves Jabouin, George Roop, Stephane Vigneault, Leonard Garcia, and Jorge Gurgel. Tachi Palace Fight’s veteran Eddie Yagin lost his UFC promotional debut last September to Junior Assunção via decision. Yagin entered the UFC riding a two-fight win streak over Joe Neri and Joe Soto and having won seven of his last eight bouts and holds notable career wins over Charlie Pearson, Shawn Bias, and Casey Olson.
* In lightweight action Mark Bocek (10-4) faces off against John Alessio (34-14). Bocek, who has aligned himself with American Top Team, enters Saturday’s bout riding a decision victory Nik Lentz at UFC 140. The victory over Lentz was a nice rebound for Bocek who lost to Ben Henderson in his previous fight. Bocek, who is 6-4 in the UFC, holds promotional victories over Dustin Hazelett, Doug Evans, Alvin Robinson, Joe Brammer, and David Bielkheden. John Alessio makes his UFC return after nearly 6 years from when he lost to Thiago Alves at Ortiz vs. Shamrock 3: The Final Chapter. Alessio is on three-fight win streak and he has won 10 of his last 11 fights while fighting for several different organizations. He has been fighting for more than 14 years and holds notable victories over Thomas Denny, Pete Spratt, War Machine and Ryan Healy.
UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans – Fight Card
Main Card (Pay-per-view):
Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans (UFC light-heavyweight title bout)
Rory MacDonald vs. Che Mills
Ben Rothwell vs. Brendan Schaub
Michael McDonald vs. Miguel Torres (PDG’s match-up of the Night)
Mark Hominick vs. Eddie Yagin
John Alessio vs. Mark Bocek
Preliminary Card (FX):
Travis Browne vs. Chad Griggs
Matt Brown vs. Stephen Thompson
John Makdessi vs. Anthony Njokuani
Mac Danzig vs. Efrain Escudero
Preliminary Card (Facebook):
Chris Clements vs. Keith Wisniewski
Maximo Blanco vs. Marcus Brimage
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