In the world of professional wrestling, in which many of you follow, emotionally charged matches are a weekly happening. Not so much within mixed martial arts, as matchups are simply business as usual. There was nothing ‘business as usual” about the main event from UFC 145, Saturday in Atlanta.
Champion Jon Jones and former champion Rashad Evans have both etched their names in history as all-time greats within the light heavyweight division. A little over a year ago, Evans’ coach Greg Jackson invited Jon Jones to train with the camp. After a short friendship between the two fighters, Jones agreed to battle his opponent within the violent confines of the UFC octagon. More than a year later, after injuries to both fighters, the fight finally took place. Prior to the fight, a rollercoaster of emotions made this fight the biggest grudge fight since Lesnar/Mir II.
Jon Jones controlled every aspect of this fight on his way to a unanimous decision victory. Jones, instead of overwhelming Evans, as he has the majority of his opponents, used his reach to his advantage. The nearly ten inch differential caused major issues for Evans, as he was unable to successfully engage, shoot for takedowns, or virtually anything else he wanted. This makes Jones’ third title defense in under a year, and is only two defenses from tying Tito Ortiz’s record of five within the division.
Also on the card were MMA prodigies, Rory MacDonald and Michael McDonald (No relation….obviously). Both under 23 years old, with one loss apiece, the two future contenders faced much different competition. Michael, faced Miguel Torres, former WEC Bantamweight Champion and consensus top 5 pound for pound fighter, while Rory took on Che Mills, a traveled fighter with excellent stand up.
Michael McDonald made short work of the bantamweight legend Torres, as he caught him with an early combination, and finishing Torres, putting him out cold.
Rory MacDonald started slow against Mills, and quickly recovered, controlling Mills through the second round before the fight was stopped.
Many pro wrestling fans will remember Chad Griggs, and his evil, demented sideburns. Griggs handed former ECW Champion Bobby Lashley his first defeat in MMA, and faced the undefeated Travis Browne on Saturday. There was no colossal upset on this night, as Travis Browne completely handled Griggs, making short work of he and has magical sideburns, before finishing with an arm-triangle choke.
THE VIRTUOUS ONE’S VIEWPOINTS
After Jon Jones’ lopsided victory over Rashad Evans, I’m fully considering him the top light heavyweight of all time. I don’t believe there’s a fighter in a division with a more impressive resume than his in the past 13 months, let alone what happened before that.
Of course immediately following Jones’ victory, people were saying the champion, who is 225 pounds when not in a training camp, should move to heavyweight. This is totally asinine, with Dan Henderson and Alexander Gustaffson still in the division. Not to mention, where will guys like Stanislov Nedkov, Glover Texiera and Gegard Mousasi be in a year’s time? Not saying any of them could contend with Jones, but the idea that he should immediately go compete with guys 40 pounds heavier is moronic. By the way, I told you guys this fella was unstoppable in 2008.
With Alistair Overeem becoming a part of the goon patrol, and being forced out of UFC 146 against Junior Dos Santos due to elevated testosterone levels, he has been replaced by Frank Mir. This has caused a major hole in the card, specifically against former champion Cain Velasquez. I had reported Friday that the UFC were planning on waiting until after UFC 145 to weigh their options, and Travis Browne should be one of those options. The undefeated project of Greg Jackson looked amazing against Chad Griggs, and offered to step in and fight on the UFC 146 card. The card features all heavyweights on the the PPV portion of the show, as the UFC planned on keeping many major name heavyweights on a similar schedule.
How good did Rory MacDonald look? I know GSP said that Wonderboy Thompson has the best stand up he’s ever seen (HA!), but it seems as if his comparison of himself to Rory could be accurate. Let’s keep in mind, the guy is 22 years old, 13-1, with his only loss to Carlos Condit, and has been fighting professionally since SIXTEEN YEARS OLD. Unbelievable. There are plenty of tests for him within the welterweight division, and he appears to be patient, in no rush for a title shot. I tweeted Saturday night, I believe he could decisively beat Nick Diaz, and hopefully that fight eventually comes to fruition.
Equally impressive, albeit an abbreviated performance was put forth by the barely 21 year old Michael McDonald. Now sitting at 15-1, with four UFC victories, McDonald is one of the six or so guys I assume to the future of MMA over the next ten years (McDonald, MacDonald, Poirier, Gustaffson, Jones, etc). He had no trouble at all with Torres, a guy considered to be a top pound for pound fighter only a couple of years ago. He’s avenged his only loss, which was against Cole Escovedo, and should be near the top of the bantamweight ladder. I’m not ready to say he should have a title shot before Renan Barao (who is unbeaten in the 29 fights he’s had since his debut), but I would expect to see him fighting for the title a year from now.
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