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By: Jason Amadi, MMATorch Columnist
Robert writes: I wanted to know who at the Torch thinks Dan Henderson will be the man to beat Jon Jones. I flipped when Rashad landed a head kick on Jones. That first round showed that you can get inside that reach. The thing I noticed though is that Evans has more experience and it seemed he found his range right away. Jones took a little longer, but the moment he did it was over. If Rashad could've controlled the center of the cage, he might've been able to be more effective. Do you think Dan could find his range early, and back Jones up? Do you think he could take Jones down and keep him there?
A: The power that Dan Henderson carries in his right hand is the only thing that makes this fight even remotely compelling for me. Jon Jones is the better MMA wrestler, the better striker, has better submissions and is better conditioned as well.
For Dan Henderson to win, at some point during the fight he has to land his vicious right hand on Jon Jones' chin and put the champ to sleep. "Hendo" certainly has the power to do that and over the last few years he's demonstrated the skill. The problem with this fight, though, is that he doesn't really have to tools to disguise the "H-Bomb" against Jones.
Jon Jones fights at such a distance that Henderson can't just fake a shot and explode with a right hand like he's been known to do. Henderson probably isn't going to be able to bully Jones in the clinch and go crazy with uppercuts either.
"Bones" Jones has demonstrated a fight IQ on par with UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva; this isn't a guy that's going to make a series of tactical mistakes and fall into Henderson's game. Jones is more than likely going to use his length to punish Henderson, force him to commit to punches that he has no chance of landing and will probably look to counter.
Perhaps if Dan Henderson weren't a middleweight who just doesn't want to cut the weight anymore, he would have a better shot at dethroning Jon Jones. However as it stands, Jones is just too big, too bad and too talented for Dan Henderson.
Derek writes: Jon Jones is such a well rounded fighter and really looks tough to beat. What type of fighter do you think would be most likely to take his title. Would it be someone capable of catching him with either a submission or in the standup game? The thing that makes him so tough is that he has great wrestling too. So a fighter would have to he able to avoid his takedowns in order to beat him in the standup. I just don't see him losing any time soon. I root for the underdog though so I'm just curious as to what your opinions are.
A: Jon Jones isn't just a great athlete and he doesn't just have an exceptionally long reach; the reigning UFC Light Heavyweight Champion is one of the most intelligent fighters in the game. Jones uses every technique in the book and knows better than almost anyone when to use them.
With the flash and pizzazz in which Jones is able to damage his opponents, I don't see too many fighters outpointing him en route to a five round decision.
On paper, a guy like Rashad Evans could give Jon Jones some trouble, but he doesn't really have the kind of striking output to keep the champ off balance. As we saw last Saturday night, Evans can close the distance and can land a big shot, but if that big shot doesn't put his opponent down, he'll get out landed every time.
I could definitely see a guy like Dan Henderson toppling Jon Jones, if that guy weren't a natural middleweight. While Henderson packs the most power of any of Jones' previous opponents, I believe he also has the shortest reach. Couple his reach disadvantage with his historically poor cardio and shockingly inadequate takedown defense, and we've got ourselves Jon Jones victim number eighteen.
Alexander Gustafsson can stick and move likes nobody's business right now, but he needs more time to develop before contesting the Light Heavyweight Championship. "The Mauler" is fast, has great footwork and carries serious one-punch knockout power. With a bit more seasoning and some improvement in his defensive wrestling, perhaps Alexander Gustafsson could be the Jon Jones' most interesting challenger.
Brian writes: I have been watching all the posts for the ratings of TUF: Live and I think I have found the problem. Friday nights. Let's face it, the UFC and TUF audience is mostly comprised of men, probably between 18-40. Well, on Friday nights, most younger men, find themselves at bars or parties or other social gatherings. The Wednesday spot on Spike, in my opinion, was perfect because there isn't as much going on a Wednesday vs. a Friday. Even as big a fan of the UFC and TUF as I am, I still only saw the prelim fights and the next episode. Just thought I would throw my two cents in and wondered if you were thinking along the same lines?
A: I agree with you completely, and I really don't see how the Friday night timeslot isn't the first thing mentioned when discussing TUF ratings.
However, it's also worth mentioning that the Ultimate Fighter isn't really worth going out of your way to see at this point. From a reality television standpoint, after 15 seasons of TUF we're not going to see anything new. From a competitive standpoint, there is no real hook; the winner is guaranteed a spot on the UFC roster, most of the cast is going to wind up on the roster anyway, but relatively few of them are really going to last.
At any rate, as tired as the Ultimate Fighter may be, I still feel pretty confident that it would be seen by more people if the show's key demographic wasn't out chasing girls and getting hammered.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @JasonAmadi and direct your "Ask the Torch" questions to email@example.com
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