Numbers Never Lie: UFC 145 Jones vs. Evans

April 11, 2012

UFC 145 Jones vs. Evans Timeline

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The reputations of both UFC 145 headliners Jon Jones and Rashad Evans are well known, but what are the statistics that back up these two main event fighters?

As Jones and Evans head towards their showdown at UFC 145, the numbers never lie about how good these two really are inside the Octagon.

Jon Jones

First up, let’s take a look at UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and what he brings to the table ahead of his fight with Rashad Evans:

Best Takedown Accuracy in Division History

Jones comes from a strong Greco-Roman wrestling background and his skills have translated very well to MMA. His takedown accuracy of 63.6% is the very best in light heavyweight history. He’s already scored 21 takedowns, 4th most in division history, and his 3.32 takedowns per 15 minutes average is the 4th highest in division. Aside from winning takedown battles, Jones shows great control on the ground, spending only 12 seconds in the UFC on his back.

100% Takedown Defense

Jones has never been taken down, an impressive feat considering he’s fought high level wrestlers like Quinton Jackson, Ryan Bader, and Jake O’Brien. In the case of O’Brien, who holds the UFC record with 6.44 takedowns landed per 15 minutes, Jones defended all four attempts by O’Brien. Jones’ takedown defense should be one of his biggest weapons when he faces the takedown-hungry Rashad Evans.

Outlands Opponents by 2.4 Strikes per Minute

Jones is known for the unorthodox striking techniques that he displays in the Octagon, but what may surprise most is that he’s actually quite efficient in this area. Jones’ strike differential is 2.40, the fourth best total in UFC history. This means that Jones lands 2.4 more strikes every minute than he absorbs.

Jon Jones’ career stats:

Average fight length: 9:29 (UFC average 9:34)
Knockdown average per 15 minutes: 0.47 (UFC average 0.29)
Strikes landed per minute: 3.82 (UFC average 2.61)
Striking accuracy: 51.9% (UFC average 42%)
Strikes absorbed per minute: 1.42 (UFC average 2.61)
Striking defense: 66.6% (UFC average 58%)
Strike differential +/- : 2.40 (UFC average 0.00)

In his striking career in the UFC, Jones lands 53% of his strikes to the head, 25.4% of strikes to the body, and 21.5% to the legs. Jones strikes at a distance 42.8% of the time, in the clinch 22.4% of the time, and on the ground 34.8% of the time. For his average time in the cage, Jones has spent 73.4% of his time standing, 26.4% on top, and an amazing 0.2% on his back.

Takedown average per 15 minutes: 3.32 (UFC average 1.93)
Takedown accuracy: 63.6% (UFC average 41%)
Takedown defense: 100% (UFC average 55%)
Submission attempts per 15 minutes: 1.11 (UFC average 1.06)

Rashad Evans

Now let’s take a look at the challenger, former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans:

Taken Down Every Opponent He’s Tried to Get to the Ground

Rashad Evans’ average of 4.32 takedowns per 15 minutes of fighting is the 2nd highest average in light heavyweight history. He’s managed to takedown every single opponent that he has tried to get to the ground. His takedown accuracy is second only to Jon Jones, with a 53.3% success rate, 2nd best in division history.

Most Takedowns in Light Heavyweight History

Rashad Evans’ 48 career takedowns are more than any light heavyweight has ever earned, but his approach to takedowns has changed considerably as his striking has evolved. Evans scored half of his takedowns, 24, in his first 3 light heavyweight fights and the other 24 his in next 10 contests combined. During those 10 fights, his striking came alive as he recorded 4 of his 5 UFC knockouts.

Third-Best Striking Defense in Light Heavyweight History

Much has been made of Rashad Evans’ speed and footwork, and the numbers back up the hype. Evans’ 66.7% career striking defense is superb, the 3rd best in light heavyweight history. Remaining elusive and fleet-of-foot will be helpful skills against someone with the range and style of Jon Jones.

Rashad Evans’ career stats:

Average fight length: 12:59
Knockdown average per 15 minutes: 0.33
Strikes landed per minute: 2.12
Striking accuracy: 39.5%
Strikes absorbed per minute: 1.89
Striking defense: 67.9
Strike differential +/- : 0.23

For his striking career, Rashad Evans throws an incredible 84.4% of his shots thrown at the head, while only 11.2% to the body, and 4.4% to the legs. Even more than his opponent, Evans throws his strikes at distance 47.3% of the time, with 21% coming from the clinch and 31.7% on the ground. Evans stands up 71.9% of the time, 24% of the time on the ground in the top position, and only 4.1% of his time on the bottom on the ground.

Takedown average per 15 minutes: 3.96
Takedown accuracy: 53.3%
Takedown defense: 65.7%
Submission attempts per 15 minutes: 0

It also must be noted that of all UFC light heavyweights in takedown accuracy, with a minimum of at least 20 takedown attempts, Jones and Evans rank No. 1 and No. 2 all time. Jones comes in at 63.6% with Evans at 53.3%, which lands both of them ahead of fighters like Randy Couture and Stephan Bonnar who are also in the top five.

Throughout their UFC careers, Jones and Evans have also faced three common opponents – Stephan Bonnar, Lyoto Machida, and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Jones defeated all three and finished both Machida and Jackson. Evans picked up decision wins over Jackson and Bonnar, while Machida counts as the only loss on his record, being defeated by the former champion by knockout at UFC 98.

These are the statistics that two great fighters have compiled as they head into their epic showdown at UFC 145, and as they say, numbers never lie.

(All Stats courtesy of FightMetric)

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