If you believe the hype coming from the Jones camp ahead of UFC 145, Evans is going to get hurt again.
The former friends and training partners turned bitter enemies after Jones battered Mauricio Rua and took the light heavyweight title. Evans has battled injuries and other challengers to earn his way back to the title shot he should have had March 19, 2011.
And oddsmakers are handling tons of money on the young champion, even though he is a prohibitive -500 favorite. The experienced Evans, with a lone loss on his resume, is a tempting +400 at many sportsbooks, a 4/1 payout.
Jones has finished eight straight fights (although he was disqualified in the Matt Hamill fight for illegal elbows) and has pledged to do the same at UFC 145 in Atlanta. Evans has three decision wins in his current four-fight run of Octagon victories.
"Lyoto Machida showed that aggressive striking can bother Jones, but we’re not sure if Evans will try that," said Jack Randall of OddsShark.com.
"He is patient and tactical but he will be physically outgunned by the bigger, taller Jones. We are predicting a mid-round stoppage."
Jones is not the biggest favorite on the card however. That respect goes to Canadian featherweight mark Hominick, a whopping -700 moneyline favorite to beat Eddie Yagin.
Hominick needs to atone for his last loss (seven seconds to the Korean Zombie) and many expect him to finish quickly with strikes.
Another Canadian – surging welterweight prospect Rory MacDonald – is the next-biggest favorite on MMA odds menus at -500. He faces Che Mills in a battle many see ending quickly due to MacDonald’s stunning athleticism.
The fighter most in need of an impressive win is Brendan Schaub. His climb up the heavyweight rankings was derailed in Brazil by Big Nog last year and he is favored at -260 against Ben Rothwell. An impressive win vaults him back near the top of a confusing heavyweight contender pile.
Warrior Matt Brown gets the UFC’s next chance to quiet the hype around karate guru Stephen Thompson. The athletic Thompson won via head kick in his UFC debut and gets a seasoned vet to try his kicking game again.
"Thompson is -310 and if we had to pick someone to gut out a win, it would be Brown," said Randall. "But we’ll be avoiding this one at the book because that roundhouse kick looked pretty devastating against Dan Stittgen back at UFC 143."
UFC 145 Jones vs Evans Odds - lines courtesy of Odds Shark
Matt Brown 230
Stephen Thompson -310
Miguel Angel Torres -110
Michael McDonald -110
Rory MacDonald -500
Che Mills 400
Mark Hominick -700
Eddie Yagin 500
Ben Rothwell 220
Brendan Schaub -260
Rashad Evans 400
Jon Jones -500