FREDERICK, Md., April 20, 2012 — On Saturday night at UFC 145, Jon Jones and Rashad Evans, two of the UFC’s brightest stars will fight each other for the light heavy weight title. This won’t be the first time that they have exchanged blows as they used to train together at Greg Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts in Albuquerque, NM.
This is what makes the fight so interesting for fight fans. Their rivalry has become a long drawn out feud since it became clear that these two would eventually fight last year. The feud began when Jones, who was then a teammate and friend of Evans, served as an injury replacement to fight Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. At the time, Jones was a young and inexperienced fighter on the rise who received a great opportunity to further his career.
Jones went on to defeat Rua and became the reigning light-heavy weight champion. Evans, who had been playing the role of mentor to Jones, was now in the unenviable position of having to fight his way back up the ranks to an eventual shot against his teammate.
The relationship between the two quickly deteriorated, causing Evans to leave Greg Jackson’s camp and create his own team, The Blackzillians. From this point on, UFC PR and MMA press have capitalized on the verbal warfare that ensued between the two fighters with heated press conferences and spiteful sound bites. (See video below.)
The story couldn’t have been more manicured if WWE writers were on the job. Jones plays the role of the young star with bright future. Evans plays the role of the crafty veteran unable to accept his dwindling years. In fact, the hatred between Evans and Jones has been so widely publicized by the MMA media that you would have to have little or no interest in the sport to not know about it.
The problem is that the UFC is about a lot more than two fighters. Who else is fighting on the card? I bet most fight fans wouldn’t be able to name any of the fights that precede the main event without having to check fight-card. This is very similar to any boxing or pro-wrestling promotion where the main event is the only reason why people watch in the first place.
If this trend towards over-promoted main event continues, we will never know about fighters, like Jones, who are on the rise. One of the central reasons Jones has so many loyal fans, is they have been able to watch him rise from being an undercard fighter to a champion. Fans should be excited to see a bout between two amazing competitors facing each other after such a long, drawn-out feud.
But fans should also excited to see the rest of the card as well. Notable names such as Mark Homnick, Miguel Torres, and Rory MacDonald will all be competing and are sure to put on a great show leading up to a main event that we have all been waiting for. Check out the card and get excited for another awesome night of fights.
I have over 10 years of experience in Mixed Martial Arts working in several different capacities including professional fighter, coach, promoter. Now I cover Mixed Martial Arts for the Washington Times.
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