Fight fans have heard this before - two fighters who are battling for a title in a major pay-per-view event don't like each other. But in the case of the light-heavyweight title fight at UFC 145 it's not a manufactured storyline, Jon Jones (15-1) and Rashad Evans (17-1-1) truly do not like each other.
On Saturday Apr. 21, the two men will attempt to settle their differences in the ring, with the UFC's Light-Heavyweight Title on the line in Atlanta. It is easily the most hyped and anticipated fight in the division since Chuck Lidell beat Tito Ortiz at UFC 47 in 2004.
The Jones-Evans feud goes back to the days when they were both training partners and friends under Greg Jackson. At the time they met, Evans was already an established UFC name and Jones was a raw talent that was already rumored to be the next big thing at the light heavyweight division.
According to Evans, he took the young Jones under his wing and helped him along early in his career, eventually turning Jones into one of the top contenders in the division.
Ironically, it was an injury to Evans that gave Jones his break - and that caused the break in their relationship.
Evans was to have his shot at a title fight in March of 2011 against Maruricio Rua, but he had to be replaced after injuring his knee and Jones took the fight in his stead.
Jones TKOed Rua in round 3 and has held the title ever since. But it wasn't jealousy at Jones' success that caused the rift but the things he said after the bout.
In a pre-recorded interview for the fight, Jones told Versus, (now the NBC Sports Network) that he would be willing to fight Evans if he won the title belt. Evans claims that they had an agreement to not fight one another and that spark set off a powder-keg of bad blood.
Evans left Jackson's gym, and he and Jones have traded shots in the media at nearly every opportunity since Jones' title fight, and at least once in person at a Las Vegas nightclub. Details of the altercation are sketchy, but the pair crossed paths at Surrender, a nightclub on the strip. They apparently almost came to blows before welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre stepped in to separate the men.
All of this should lead to fireworks when the two men enter the cage next Saturday night with the light-heavyweight title on the line. No matter who wins the bout, UFC and Dana White will definitely win the evening with the extra money and prestige generated by the feud.
Betting info: Sportbet.com lists Rashad Evans at +400 now, a pretty serious underdog, but that line should move as more money flows in as the fight approaches.
Where to watch: UFC 145 has a multitude of viewing options in addition to Pay-per-View through your cable provider. It can been seen online at www.ufc.tv as well as on YouTube, UStream and Yahoo Sports all for the $44.95 pay-per-view fee. It can also be viewed through an app available in the Android Marketplace, or through a Roku.
Prediction: Expect a long and drawn out fight between Jones and Evans. They are both cerebral fighters who will bide their time looking for an opening before making their move. Evans, at 32 might have the advantage in this fight over the 24 year-old Jones as the man who better controls his emotions will have the opportunity to pounce on the first mistake.
Outcome: UPSET! Rashad Evans wins by TKO in the fourth round.