By Elias Cepeda
(Jon Jones successfully defended his UFC belt against Rashad Evans Saturday night)
For my money, Saturday night’s UFC 145 main event between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans was exactly what I’d want from a high-level grudge match. A quick stoppage could have led of talk of “luck,” or controversy and perhaps an immediate rematch.
Instead, the former training partners got to see each other from many different angles over the course of five long rounds. In so doing, each man passed tests they had yet to before, each got their licks in and we still had a clear winner.
In only his second career loss, Rashad Evans proved that he could get seriously hurt in a fight and keep going. The young champion Jones showed us much as well in going to a decision.
We know that Jones has the conditioning to go the distance. Perhaps more important than that, we now know that Jones, who recently steamrolled Lyoto Machida, Mauricio Rua and Quinton Jackson, won’t necessarily get frustrated when an opponent doesn’t quickly crumble under his onslaught.
Jones stayed patient, measured and effective throughout the fight with Evans, even when the challenger refused to quit after getting rocked. Jones also has a chin on him.
It would have been easy to miss because of how little he reacted to them, but Jones took some heavy single shots from Evans, right to the chin, temple and neck. And he didn’t even flinch.