It may have ended with the favorite winning but Jones vs. Evans was not the war many had anticipated. Over one year in the making, the rivalry between these former teammates was as heated as it gets but inside the cage, it was a different story.
Both Jones and Evans looked tentative on the feet as they worked to find their range most of the fight. Not surprisingly, Jones got the better of the exchanges, using his reach to land a couple big elbows and timely jabs. While Rashad landed a few of his own, one of his greatest weapons—his MMA wrestling—was underutilized and he failed to take Jones to the ground.
Even with the decision, we did see Jones pull off the unexpected. From flying knees to pulling guard, Jones continued to prove himself as one of the most unorthodox strikers in UFC history even if it was not in the devastating fashion he is known for.
Judges scored the bout 50-45, 49-46, 49-46 in Jones' favor. The win gives "Bones" his third title defense and moves him to 15-1 in MMA.
"Definitely my most satisfying victory," explained Jones. "I did a lot of things tonight that wasn't how I planned. I felt like my striking was looking a little more elementary. I just didn't want to make any mistakes so I didn't feel the cleanest on my feet but the victory was very important to me."
While he did not get the knockout he predicted, Jones was happy to pull of the victory. Always a sportsman, Jones acknowledged his opponent despite their differences.
"I was a little surprised. I had a goal to finish this fight and I didn't," Jones stated. "Hats off to Rashad. He definitely has made a lot of leaps and bounds in his game as well."
The experience training together didn't seem to help either fighter, as neither looked comfortable against their opponent. A disappointed Rashad admits he was caught off guard by the unpredictable Jones.
"He was pretty crafty and pretty tricky and stuff like that and I didn't get my timing down. But give him props, you know. He was creative and kept me on my toes so I got to give it up to him."
Evans falls to 17-2-1 with the loss.
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