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Five huge questions heading into UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans

The UFC had been on quite the hiatus prior to this past weekend’s UFC on FUEL 2 show that took place in Stockholm, Sweden. Quite honestly, the break was probably helpful as there was an abundance of shows early in the year that probably overwhelmed some casual fans.

However, with UFC 145 we will probably have the largest PPV to date which is carried by the light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans. I’m sure most of the fights will deliver because of the stylistic match-ups, but there isn’t a ton of star power on this PPV.

This event does offer some interesting story lines outside the main if we dive past the names on the card. Actually, there’s a lot at stake for a few fighters so let’s get into it:

  • Does Rashad Evans have a legitimate shot at beating Jon Jones and will this PPV do more than 600,000 PPV buys?

It’s amazing watching the evolution of Jon Jones as a fighter, but the evolution of Rashad Evans is even more impressive in my opinion. When this bout was first announced the odds makers had Jones as the overwhelming favorite which I thought was absurd.

Make no mistake about it in that Jones is and should be the favorite to win, but it certainly would not surprise me to see Evans walk out of the octagon with the belt around his waist.  I’ll have more on this in the fight preview that’ll be up later this week, be sure not to miss that one.

In regards to PPV buys, I think 600,000 could be the target for this one. It’s a heated rivalry where both fighters dislike one another and that has been heavily documented and it’s a title fight. Jon Jones hasn’t done less than 450,000 PPV buys when headlining at PPV, and Rashad Evans was just seen by over 4 million people when he fought on the FOX card in January against Phil Davis. All of that coupled with the long break between PPV’s and we have the makings of a big PPV carried by the main event.

  • Does Miguel Torres stay in the upper echelon of bantamweight fighters or does he pass the torch to young prospect Michael McDonald?

I know that question may sound crazy to you, but it’s pretty accurate when you look past the name of the fighters. Torres hasn’t been the champion since 2009 and is (3-2) since losing the belt while not looking anything like the dominant fighter that won 17 fights in a row over a five year period.

McDonald is a force to be reckoned with with only one career loss that he has already avenged. He’s only allowed his fights to go to the judges twice in his career, and this could easily be fight of the night. It’ll be interesting to see what Torres has left in the tank at 31 years old. That’s not old numerically, but Torres has been in close to 50 sanctioned MMA fights which could be catching up to him.

  • Does Rory MacDonald continue to prove he’s the future of the welterweight division against the explosive Che Mills?

MacDonald is thought to be the future of the UFC welterweight division, as he is a very talented kid who’s already given the likes of current UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit all he could handle and more. He’ll be facing Che Mills who exploded on the UFC scene with a brutal KO in his UFC debut at UFC 138 last year against Chris Cope.

Yea, Chris Cope.  However, Mills has finishing ability as he has only gone to the judges four times in close to 20 fights. MacDonald is expected to win, but the main question is how will he win and will he continue his string of outstanding performances?

  • Will Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson continue his surge off his spectacular debut win earlier this year against Matt Brown?

Thompson took out UFC newcomer Dan Stittgen this past February with a highlight reel KO. Thompson came with a little bit of hype due to his extensive kickboxing resume although he only has a handful of fights. It also doesn’t hurt to be co-signed by one of the best welterweights of all time in Georges St. Pierre. However, he’ll be facing a dangerous opponent in Matt Brown on Saturday night.

Brown’s record doesn’t look great on paper, but he’s a very difficult guy to just run through with ease. I think Thompson can get the win, but this fight will be one to keep an eye out for as Brown usually comes to fight.

  • Does Travis Browne finally cement himself as a contender in the UFC heavyweight division?

I feel like I’ve asked this question a couple of times (only once before really), but Browne just seems to be hovering in a state of oblivion for some reason. I guess it’s because of his last performance at UFC 135 where he didn’t look good at all. The thing with prospects is that you want to see some type of growth in each fight against better competition, but we saw the opposite with Browne.

He fought a lackluster fight against a guy that was probably considered a lackluster opponent. It could simply be a case of fighting to the level of competition, but Browne needs a big win against Chad Griggs. Griggs is going to bring it and he’s never gone allowed a fight to go to the judges.

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