Tonawanda News

September 26, 2012

PARRINO: Rashad to the Rescue

By Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News

— Nobody’s really talking about the dark skies forming on the horizon of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Light Heavyweight Division.

Current champion and phenom, Jon “Bones” Jones, suffered what many believe to be a serious injury to his right arm on Saturday night in his title defense over former champion Vitor Belfort. 

Rumors floating around suggest Jones may have some nerve damage resulting from an arm bar by Belfort that almost forced the champ to tap out. Depending on the severity of the injury, Jones could be out of action for an extended period of time.

Enter Rashad Evans.

In the UFC, when a champion is forced out of action for more than six months, usually two of the top contenders face off to determine an interim champion. It just so happens that Evans doesn’t have anyone lined up and would be available for such a contest.

If Jones is out long term and UFC President Dana White wants to book a dream match, here’s how things should play out over the coming months:

1) Rising star Alexander Gustafsson is set to take on the division’s resident measuring stick, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, at UFC on Fox 5 on Dec. 8. Once thought of as arguably the pound-for-pound best at 205 pounds, Rua is still one of the most dangerous guys in the division, and if Gustafsson can take him out he most certainly should be in line for an interim title shot.

2) Evans should get matched up with Lyota Machida or Quinton “Rampage” Jackson for a fight in December. Given that the Niagara Falls native can pull off a victory, it’ll set up an early 2013 interim title match at 205 pounds.

3) A chance to witness Part 2 of one of the biggest grudge matches in UFC history in the summer of 2013: Evans (ic) versus Jones (c). 

The original Evans-Jones contest failed to live up to the hype, like many of its predecessors that overflow with vitriol. Fighters tend to outthink themselves in these big fights and a boring fight ending in a decision usually ensues because neither guy fights their fight.

In the sequel, I think both fighters would be more relaxed and we should see one of the great title fights of recent memory. Evans’ quickness and wrestling gave Jones a few problems in the first fight. The champ’s timing was off all night and he didn’t even attempt a takedown. 

Jones destroyed Machida and Rua and unless the young Gustafsson can knock off a couple former champions, I’m ready for Jones-Evans 2.

Contact Tonawanda News Sports Editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find him on Twitter @MattParrino.