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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Jon Jones cemented his status as the best light heavyweight in the world, and one of the best fighters period, on Saturday night, defeating former friend and training partner Rashad Evans in a one-sided decision at UFC 145.
After all of the talk between the two over the last year, the fight didn't end in the type of crazy violent spectacle that could have reasonably been expected, but Jones made it clear he was the better fighter in another uniquely Jon Jones-style performance.
Jones used his reach in a really effective manner, keeping Evans at bay with his jab, landing kicks to the legs, and avoiding much of what Evans tried to hit him with. But the big thing Jones pulled out on Saturday was a short elbow striking attack on the feet.
It began in the second round, as he got in close and placed his outstretched arms to those of Evans. He used that set up to then pop over the blocking hands of Evans with his elbows, and they stunned the challenger multiple times.
In fact, the elbows almost led to the finish in the second, as Jones had him staggered and clearly hurt, but Evans grabbed a clinch and managed to survive. He wasn't the same the rest of the way, as he was forced to be more defensive save for a few nice strikes that did manage to test Jones' chin.
Ultimately, Evans simply had no answer for the incredibly varied and unpredictable offense of his former protege. Jones was on a completely different level as a fight, and he now finds himself one more win away from matching the title reign of the last great Light Heavyweight Champion, Chuck Liddell.
Next up for Jones is likely Dan Henderson, a man who will attempt to test that chin even further with his big overhand right. For Evans, he was forced to admit that Jones was the better man on Saturday, and now he'll be in a slot as the best fighter in the division behind the Champion.
[Jon Jones art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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