A review of UFC 145, which featured some spectacular KO’s and a lot of one-sided fights, highlighted by Jon Jones making things look easy against Rashad Evans.
Jon Jones def. Rashad Evans: For 25 minutes, Jones more or less toyed with Evans. While Rashad and a couple of good moments, including a head kick, a nice overhand right, and some good body shots, despite what Joe Rogan yelled, Jones was never in any real trouble during the fight. He spent most of the bout staying on the outside and breaking down Evans with a variety of kicks. The most significant strikes during the fight was some sick elbows by Jones after a hand fighting session during the 2nd round. Evans was rocked pretty bad during that frame, but Jones seemed reluctant to move in for the kill, I guess respecting the power of Rashad. Despite the wrestling credentials of both, neither man really committed to a takedown. When they clinched up, you could see how much bigger Jones was compared to Evans, and it looked as if Jones could easily put him on his back, but he decided to throw jumping shoulder strikes instead. Jones just seemed to be on cruise control of the entire fight, and he still dominated the second best light heavyweight in the sport, which really shows just how good this kid is. Furthermore, he’s improving with every fight and can only get better, which is an extremely scary thought. He’s finally developed a good jab, his kicking technique will likely come around, and I’m sure he’ll learn to use his footwork a bit better as well. Plus, if he’s ever in any real trouble, he can always use clinch up, throw his opponent to the ground, and use his dominating top game to rough his opponent up. He’s going to fight Dan Henderson next, and besides Hendo’s legendary right hand, I don’t like his chances. Henderson is just way too hittable and has a terrible gas tank. Obviously if he lands the right on Jones’s chin, the champ could be in a bit of trouble, but I imagine that Jones will have a great game plan to avoid the right and expose the weaknesses of Henderson. As for Evans, he’s still an elite fighter who did the best of anyone against Jones. I want to see him against “Shogun” Rua next as that was the original title fight over a year ago, and had it happened then, Jones and Evans may still be friends.
Rory MacDonald def. Che Mills: If you want to see some scary accurate and powerful ground and pound, watch MacDonald. From the moment he put Mills on his back, he hit him with some perfect punches and it looked as if Mills might go out from punches from the guard. MacDonald ended up showing off his ground game a bit more though, as he was able to easily pass to better positions before getting the back and pounding away on Mills and forcing the ref to stop the fight. Even though MacDonald showed a lot of good things in this fight, I don’t want to overstate this victory too much as it was a one-sided affair from the moment it was announced. Despite Rogan’s claims of Mills being “a killer,” he’s really not all that good, especially on the ground. He’s a solid striker who hits hard, but that’s about it. Just because you destroy Chris Cope in 40 seconds doesn’t mean you’re a good fighter. Mills was always in over his head in this bout and is going to be in over his head in any bout where he faces a good wrestler. Speaking of good wrestlers, that’s who I want to see MacDonald face next. It’s obvious that he can out-wrestle mediocre guys, but how will he fare against a guy like Mike Pierce, who is great at making opponents look bad, even in defeat.
Ben Rothwell def. Brendan Schaub: It’s official: Schaub has a very questionable chin. I understand that Rothwell hits relatively hard, but Schaub had him hurt with spinning back elbows and a flurry of punches, but Rothwell hit him with one big left hook and Schaub went down and more or less out. A couple more punches to the throat and Schaub was begging Jesus to come down and save him. This was a decent win for Rothwell, simply because any win for Rothwell at this point in his career is a decent win and Schaub was by far the favorite. Rothwell actually showed up in good shape as well, which was pretty surprising. Granted his cardio wasn’t tested, but I think he could have gone at least three minutes before gassing. Schaub is a talented and athletic guy, but if he doesn’t have a chin that can take punches at heavyweight, he’s pretty screwed. And lets not pretend like Rothwell is anymore than a heavyweight gatekeeper.
Michael McDonald def. Miguel Torres: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Torres was once on top of the bantamweight world, but one KO loss to Brian Bowles, and now he’s struggling to stay relevant. Torres was knocked out clean again, this time at the hands of prospect McDonald. Torres still doesn’t use much head movement and ducks his head on the jab, so he paid for it in this fight with a beautiful counter uppercut by McDonald. At only the age of 21, McDonald is already near the top of the 135 ladder. He hits really hard and is a great counter striker. I need to see more of his ground game but if anyone tries to stand with him, he can turn their lights out in an instance. I want to see him in a #1 contenders bout against Renan Barao, just because it would be smarter of the UFC to solidify a #1 contender rather than risk one of them losing a fight that they have no business losing. Torres has some serious soul searching to do now. His chin isn’t what it used to be, but he wants to be an exciting fighter, so strictly using his reach and jabbing seems out of the question, even though that’s a winning strategy. If he’s smart, he’ll start using his grappling a bit more, even if that means being unpredictable and pulling guard.
Eddie Yagin def. Mark Hominick: Hominick was the better fighter, but was a victim of how fights are scored. For three rounds, Hominick peppered Yagin with an outstanding jab and some wicked body shots. Unfortunately for him, he was dropped, and nearly finished in rounds one and two, which gave Yagin those rounds. Even though Hominick looked better for the majority of the 15 minutes, he still lost, which makes it 3 in a row for him. The worst part of it all is that he hasn’t improved over time. He still gets hit way too much and his chin isn’t what it used to be, he still doesn’t check leg kicks, and he’s stopped throwing kicks altogether. Yagin picked up the victory, but I don’t think anyone considers him a top guy in the division after this performance. He’ll have exciting fights against fellow striker, but that’s about it.
Mark Bocek def. John Alessio: Alessio tried his best in this fight, but Bocek is a tough match for anyone, especially a guy taking the fight on short notice. Alessio had his moments on the feet, but whenever he wanted to, Bocek was able to get the fight to the found with some tricky takedown and then use his superior grappling to get dominate positions and simply control Alessio. Bocek’s ground game is “top of the food chain” as Joe Rogan no longer likes to say, so when he gets you to the ground, it’s pretty tough to get back up because he’s so good in the scramble and getting better positions. Hopefully Alessio gets another fight in the UFC, because he’s a good test for anyone at 155.