Click below for the UFC 145 main event report...
ATLANTA, April 22 - One of the UFC’s most bitter feuds saw Jon Jones pushed five rounds for the first time in his career Saturday night at Philips Arena, but friend-turned-enemy Rashad Evans was unable to overcome the 205-pound champ’s massive reach advantage, wicked elbows and relentless plethora of kicks in the UFC 145 main event.
Jones, widely anointed as the skyrocketing sport’s Superman of sorts, did not steamroll his former sparring partner as many had expected. Rounds one and two were at times riveting and very competitive, but Jones was noticeably busier over the final three rounds to cinch the unanimous decision by scores of 49-46, 49-46, and 50-45.
“Yeah, this was definitely my most satisfying victory,” the 24-year-old champ said. “I felt like my striking was a little more elementary (than usual), I just didn’t want to make a lot of mistakes.”
Yet Jones (16-1) noted that the bout played out much different than their training sessions, before Evans departed Greg Jackson’s team over a year ago amid turmoil over teammates fighting teammates.
“It felt completely different,” Jones said. “You saw tonight I threw a lot of elbows. I would never do that to a sparring partner … and I think my wrestling has definitely improved a lot. I had a goal to finish this fight and I didn’t. Hats off to Rashad. That’s the first time I’ve gone five rounds so I learned some things there, too.”
After the final horn had sounded neither champ nor challenger shook hands or exchanged verbal pleasantries that would indicate the simmering tensions are squashed. But there was respect in the comments they gave to commentator Joe Rogan.
“I give him props; he was creative and kept me on my toes, so I got to give it to him,” said 32-year-old Evans, the former UFC light heavyweight champ who fell to 22-2-1. “He had those sneaky elbows that kept getting in on me.”