UFC 145: "Jones vs. Evans" is in the books from the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, and one of the biggest grudge matches in the history of mixed martial arts (MMA) has come and gone. Or at least they told us it was one of the biggest ever.
In the main event of the evening, UFC Light Heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones maintained his spot at the throne by cruising to a decision victory over his former teammate, training partner, and friend, Rashad Evans. It was a five-round affair that, more than anything, truly drove home the fact that Jones just might be untouchable at 205-pounds.
However, there's something else worth mentioning here: Evans seemingly fought with the exact game plan he said he couldn't if he wanted to win.
Previous opponents of Jonny "Bones" all ran into a similar problem when trying to figure him out, and Evans quickly realized the same after just a few minutes in the Octagon with him. He's just too long. Too lanky. His limbs are like missiles and they can launch from a range that's nearly impossible to prepare for.
We know this because Evans had seen it. He had sparred with Jones before. Maybe now we can definitively say that sparring with someone isn't anything close to exchanging actual punches with bad intentions behind them. Or maybe Jones is just so damn good it didn't matter what Rashad did.
But it was curious to say the least that "Suga" stayed at a perfect distance for Jones to score points with push kicks, leg kicks, head kicks, spinning side kicks, Nike kicks, every kick you can think of and even a few that you can't. Evans also committed to so few takedown attempts they're not even worth remembering.
At times it felt like Evans was trying to recreate his infamous knockout of Chuck Liddell in the very same building at UFC 88 in 2008. He let Jones push him against the fence and tried like hell to land a big overhand right. But once he connected with it and the champion shrugged it off like it was nothing, no adjustments were made.
It was as though Evans accepted the inevitable. In a way, I guess he did.
And now fight fans and pundits will have to do the same. Bad game plan, poor execution, whatever it may have been, Jonny "Bones" Jones is simply the better fighter. Better than Evans, better than the rest of his weight class (by a mile) and maybe better than everyone in every other weight class, too.
For a detailed recap of the "Jones vs. Evans" showdown click here and for complete UFC 145 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.