Regarding the promotion of the fight, the story behind their feud couldn’t have been better. The rivalry began when former champion Rashad Evans became the number one contender, and was set to fight for the title against Shogun Rua, only to be sidelined due to injury. In the meantime his good friend and training partner, a man who he considered to be like a brother, Jon Jones, was slowly moving up the ranks behind him and was given the opportunity to fight for the belt instead. Jones then went on to ultimately defeat shogun to win the title. This left both fighters and there training camp (Jackson’s Submission Fighting) in a particularly awkward situation as it would mean that they would now have to square off against one another. Evans presumed that the coaches would support him as he was one of the original fighters to help establish the training camp in the first place. ‘Jackson’s Submission Fighting’ chose instead to side with their new protégé, which saw Evans leave the camp with a sour taste in his mouth. Since then there has been much hatred between the two sides, more so from Evans as he feels betrayed having been at the camp long before Jones. The long awaited grudge match will take place this Saturday when both fighters will finally have the chance to exchange blows.
Since losing his belt at the hands of Lyoto Machida back in 2009 Evans has been on a long journey back to the top of the division. Following the only loss of his career the former champion reverted back to his grappling style of fighting and came off two decision wins over Thiago Silva and Rampage Jackson. After taking a year off due to injury and switching training camps he then fought UFC legend Tito Ortiz back at UFC 133 where he had shown drastic improvements to his game finishing off Ortiz with a vicious knee to the chest. The 32-year-olds last fight was a unanimous victory over Phil Davis, who he dominated for five rounds displaying both his elite striking and grappling credentials. These back to back victories show that Evans is still the number one contender and in his opinion, the champion to be. Evans will do everything he can to become the glorified champion he once was, and nothing would please him more then to shove it in the faces of those who betrayed him. ‘Suga’ has the advantage of having trained with Jones so he knows his weakness and the challenger truly believes he can capitalize on them and shock the world come Saturday night.
Jon Jones is considered by many to be the number two ‘pound for pound’ best fighter in the world. ‘Bones’ has come a long way since his debut in 2008. The youngster firstly powered through Muai Thai wrecking machine Shogun Rua at UFC 128 to become the youngest champion in UFC history at the age of just 23. Shortly after that he choked out Rampage Jackson which marked the first time the powerful knockout artist had been finished in the UFC, while also taking out the only man to defeat Evans, Lyoto Machida. No opponent to have faced Jones has ever come close to stopping him and the fact that he is so young could mean that he has the possibility to become greater then Anderson Silva. The gifted fighter’s long reach along with his speed and pure athleticism makes him a very tough opponent to deal with. Last year was a very good year for Jones and he will look to continue his dream of becoming the greatest of all time, but he must take out the one man who claims to have his number. The champion believes it is his time and does not see his belt being taken from him any time soon. ‘Bones’ hit back at Evans comments by saying ‘you fought rampage and almost got finished in the last round... I stopped him. You got knocked out by Lyoto Machida... I put him to sleep’. Jones is aware of his weaknesses just like any fighter, but will do everything in his power to ensure that he comes out on top.
This will make for a really exciting fight as both men are highly skilled in all areas of the sport. Evans has the edge on the wrestling and power but Jones’s unorthodox style and technique will prove troublesome. Jones of course is the favorite to remain the champion because of his continuous improvement and the fact that he has never shown to be in trouble. But make no mistake about it, if there is one man to end the era of this highly skilled fighter it is the man who paved the way for him.