With UFC 145 on the horizon everyone has been voicing their thoughts on the main event which will see former teammates Rashad Evans and Jon Jones battle one another for Jones’ light heavyweight title – who will win, how will they win, and was Jones wrong for seemingly breaking the vow he and Rashad made never to fight one another. Many wonder whether or not Evans will be able to control his emotions and not allow his them to get the better of him. It’s one of the hottest topics to hit MMA in a long time and one Randy Couture was eager to talk about in a recent conversation with Five Ounces of Pain.
“I really don’t have a prediction and I could make a case for either fighter winning the bout,” admitted Couture. “The favorite is probably Jones because of his range and he is so athletic with such a dynamic striking style. Rashad has the tools and the skillset to make it a tough fight for Jones, but he has to make it a wrestling match and take him down at every opportunity. That’s not the style we tend to see out of Evans since he landed that headkick on Sean Salmon. Being a stand-up fighter is not a great style match-up when you are facing a guy like Jones.”
“The question is can Rashad formulate a gameplan and make Jon wrestle with him? If he can do that he certainly has the ability he can win the fight, but I question he’ll be able to do that for a five round fight,” continued Couture. “The rage and hatred thing it’s overblown, Rashad has taken that road with other opponents. Yes they were training partners and there is some rhetoric going back and forth, but I’m not sure how heartfelt any of that really is. I think because they were training together they need to put it on a level so they can beat the hell out of each other. At the end of the day they will pick each other up and say great fight win or lose. This isn’t like Tito (Ortiz) and Ken (Shamrock) or Tito and Chuck (Liddell) where they really hate each other (though) they were close at one point.”
If by chance Evans isn’t the one legitimately defeat Jones for the first time in his career, the next question becomes one relating to whether or not anyone out there can. Essentially, what skills does that fighter have to possess to finally derail the Jones Express that has been running roughshod over the UFC light heavyweight division since his debut in August of 2008?
“I think a fighter like Dan Henderson or even Chael Sonnen who is a very big 185-pounder and used to compete as a light heavyweight with strong wrestling,” replied Couture to the topic. “They have to take him out of his comfort zone and take away his reach advantage. There is no longer in the division and maybe not in the sport as far as Jones reach. His takedown defense is good and he has very good wrestling. He has very unorthodox striking which makes him very dangerous. I think you have to use the fence, use your wrestling and force him to fight your fight. Either one of those guys can do that.”
As chance would have it, Henderson is in line for a shot at the light heavyweight title, possibly setting up the very fight Couture sees as being troublesome for Jones. Of course, “Bones” has to get by Evans first this weekend before it truly matters.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC