UFC 145 Rewind
Published on April 22 at 2:33 p.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
Jon ‘Bones’ Jones defended his light heavyweight title by defeating former champion and former training partner ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans by unanimous decision in the main event at UFC 145 on Saturday night at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Jones hooked up his backers as an expensive minus-500 favorite.
One judge scored it 50-45 and two had it 49-46. BrianEdwardsSports.com also had Jones with a 49-46 advantage.
According to CompuStrike, Jones enjoyed a 112-56 edge in strikes landed. As usual, he used his 84.5-inch reach to keep his opponent on the outside, while he fired away with kicks, punches and elbows.
Evans’ best moment of the fight came early in the second round when he landed a big overhand right that backed up the champ. But any momentum Evans had was thwarted when Jones landed a couple of elbows about a minute later.
“It felt completely different fighting him,” Jones told Joe Rogan in the Octagon. “I threw a lot of elbows, which is something you don’t do to a training partner. My wrestling, I’m a better, stronger wrestler [than when we trained together].”
The fourth round was Jones’s best as he continued to technically beat down Evans, who began to tire and offered little in the way of an offensive attack.
Dana White confirmed that Dan Henderson would get the next shot at Jones at the postfight press conference.
In the co-main event, Rory MacDonald was extremely impressive once again, finishing Che Mills with a second-round knockout. Mills was no match for the welterweight division’s rising star, who improved to 4-1 in the UFC.
MacDonald exploited Mills’s poor takedown defense and battered the Brit on the ground in both rounds. MacDonald nearly finished the fight in the opening round and Mills was a bloody mess at the end of the stanza.
The second round was no different with MacDonald scoring the early takedown and going back to work from the top. Look for MacDonald to most likely face the winner of Josh Koscheck-Johny Hendricks at UFC on Fox 3.
‘Big’ Ben Rothwell earned Knockout of the Night honors by taking out Brendan ‘The Hybrid’ Schaub as a plus-200 underdog (risk $100 to win $200). Schaub landed a combination that backed Rothwell up against the cage, but Rothwell connected with a counter hook that floored Schaub. Rothwell added two more shots from the top before referee Herb Dean intervened.
Rothwell appeared to be in the best shape of his career, as he looked much leaner than he was in his loss to Mark Hunt at UFC 135. After four consecutive wins, Schaub has now dropped back-to-back fights, both of which he appeared to have his opponent in trouble before getting too aggressive and leaving himself vulnerable.
In the featherweight division, another young up-and-comer was dominant. Michael McDonald needed just 3:18 to dispose of former World Extreme Cagefighter champ Miguel Torres by KO (punches). McDonald got the victory in a pick ‘em matchup.
Another Mark Hominick fight failed to disappoint, but ‘The Machine’ lost for the third straight time nonetheless. Eddie Yagin won a split decision as a huge plus-410 underdog in a wildly entertaining slugfest that won Fight of the Night honors.
Yagin was swinging for the fences from the get-go and he nearly finished the fight early with a roundhouse right that floored Hominick. In the second round, Yagin put the former No. 1 featherweight contender on the canvas again, but Hominick recovered quickly and got back to his feet.
From there, the tide began to turn in Hominick’s favor. His technical boxing and relentless cardio were on full display late in the second round and throughout the third and final stanza. By midway through Round 3, Yagin’s face was busted up and bloody.
Hominick appeared to have the Hawaiian in trouble several times, but he couldn’t finish him off. When the final bell sounded, Yagin was spent and Hominick was ready to run a marathon or go 10 more rounds if needed.
But the judges gave it to Yagin by scores of 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28.
Mark Bocek won a unanimous decision over John Alessio (30-27, 29-28, 30-27) in the lightweight division, using his superior wrestling and grappling to garner the victory.
In what was most likely the runner-up to Hominick-Yagin for Fight of the Night honors, Matt Brown handed Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson his first career MMA loss by capturing a unanimous-decision win.
Brown executed a perfect gameplan by turning the fight into a brawl. He scored several first-round takedowns, taking advantage of Thompson’s lackluster takedown defense. But in the second round, Thompson began to get busy with his striking and appeared to have Brown in big trouble at one point.
But Brown gutted it out and then found his wind between the second and third rounds. In the final five minutes, Brown regained control and spent the last two minutes hammering on Thompson’s face on the ground.
Brown hooked up his backers as a plus-220 underdog (risk $100 to win $220).
Mac Danzig and Efrain Escudero got the preliminary fights on FX started by going the distance. Danzig showed incredible toughness by not tapping on a heel-hook attempt by Escudero in the opening round and won a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Wagers on ‘over’ 2.5 rounds cashed at an expensive minus-220 price.
VegasInsider.com scored the bout 30-27 in favor of Danzig, who was coming off a Fight of the Night loss to Matt Wiman.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
–Travis Browne won Submission of the Night honors with his first-round finish of Chad Griggs by arm-triangle choke (think Brock Lesnar over Shane Carwin).
–The bonuses were worth $65,000.
–If you missed the news over the weekend, Frank Mir will now face Junior dos Santos for the heavyweight title at UFC 146. Dos Santos is the ‘chalk’ in the minus-500 range with Mir available for a big return (+400ish at most spots). Mir is seeking to become the heavyweight kingpin for the third time. He was already slated to fight on the card against former champ Cain Velasquez.
–Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson created some confusion with a tweet during the card. Bloody Elbow has the scoop on that.