Following every UFC and Strikeforce event, The MMA Corner will break down the event and suggest fights the promotion should make in the future. This week, our focus is on UFC on Fox 2, which took place on Jan. 28 from the United Center in Chicago.

Rashad Evans vs. Jon Jones

After many setbacks, Evans and Jones will finally get their long-awaited grudge match.

The former teammates will lock horns on April 21 in Atlanta after Evans defeated Phil Davis on Saturday to earn his right to fight Jones with the light heavyweight belt on the line.

Jon Jones (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

Against Davis, Evans proved that he was on another level from his opponent and controlled Davis everywhere the fight went inside the Octagon. While the win was dominating, the question is, will Evans be tough enough to take out “Bones” Jones?

Jones is a far better fighter than Davis, with the longest reach in UFC history and athleticism that has never been seen before. This will give Evans a totally different match-up from Davis. The champion has an explosive wrestling game much like Davis, but it’s the Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu game that is even more dangerous than his top of the line Greco-Roman wrestling background.

If “Suga” is going to have a chance against Jones, it has to start with the weeks leading up to the fight. He’ll have to put together his best training camp ever to prepare to fight for the belt again. But there’s another element that Evans will need to use to his advantage: trash-talk. Evans needs to get under Jones’ skin to possibly make the champion nervous before stepping in the Octagon on April 21.

As far as the keys to Evans earning a win, he will have to exploit the reach advantage Jones will have on him and stand in the center of the cage, land some shots, and frustrate “Bones.” In his last title defense, Jones took some shots from Machida, but Machida just couldn’t capitlize on them. That is what Evans will have to do if the fight remains standing.

If the fight goes to the ground, this is where Evans will be at a major disadvantage. Many people look at Jones as a guy that is primarily a striker with a crazy technique, but it’s his jiu-jitsu that is scary. With his long limbs, he is able to submit anyone in the division, maybe even in the whole world. Evans will need be aware on the ground, or he could get finished early by either submission or Jones may ground-and-pound out a win.

Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva

Another highly anticipated fight will take place following UFC on Fox 2: a rematch between UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and top contender Chael Sonnen.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, I’ll break down how the first meeting between the two ended.

Sonnen hyped the fight up by trash-talking leading up to the bout. But he backed up the talk by dominating Silva for the first four and half rounds and it appeared the UFC would have a new middleweight champion. But then Sonnen made a mistake. While on top in Silva’s guard, “The Spider” used his long legs to apply a triangle choke that forced Sonnen to tap.

Since then, Sonnen has been begging and pleading for a rematch and will get another chance later this year, likely in Silva’s native country of Brazil.

Switching to what occured Saturday, Sonnen pulled out a split decision over Michael Bisping to earn No. 1 contender status. Sonnen has long been considered one of the best middleweights in the world, but whenever he barely beats Bisping and claims he is the greatest fighter ever afterward, that’s where I have a problem. His wrestling game was off, his cardio wasn’t there, and Bisping won the stand-up exchanges that almost cost Sonnen the fight.

Let’s break down how the second Silva-Sonnen fight will go down.

For the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter Silva, I think he’ll want to strike more in this fight. If he stays on the outside, Silva will be able to use his length to land strikes that Sonnen will be unable to counter. The only issue will be leaving himself exposed for Sonnen to land a takedown, which happened numerous times in the first fight. On the ground, Silva knows he can handle Sonnen on the mat with his jiu-jitsu game, which is off the charts. If the fight does go to the ground and Sonnen leaves his neck or arm out, you better believe “The Spider” will try to lock up a submission again to get the win.

Sonnen’s game plan will be exactly as it was before: talk bad about Silva for two weeks leading up to the fight, have an epic staredown at the weigh-ins, and step into the Octagon hoping to land a double-leg takedown and pull out a victory anyway he can. That is easier said than done, however. Silva isn’t the best fighter in the world for no reason and will be better prepared the second time around. Sonnen will have to elevate his game to another level to be able to walk away with the belt. If Sonnen comes into this fight like he did against Bisping, he may find himself lying on the mat asleep.

Chris Weidman vs. Rousimar Palhares

Moving on to the non-official match-ups, where I’m given the chance to play Joe Silva once a week…

Weidman stepped in on 11 days notice to take on Demian Maia on Saturday and was impressive by outpointing the Brazilian to earn a unanimous decision. In this case, wrestling proved to be a greater strength than BJJ and Weidman keeps his undefeated record intact.

The win puts Weidman right in the hunt in the middleweight division by defeating a guy that has fought for the title once before. But at only 27 years old and with four UFC fights, he’s not quite ready to be thrown into the Octagon against a top contender. But there are guys just like him that are looking to make it into the top five of the division, so that’s the type of fighter he’ll take on next.

In one of my recent Fight Destiny columns, I had Rousimar Palhares taking on the winner of the original fight that was supposed to happen between Maia and Bisping. But with the changes that occured and Weidman defeating Maia, it makes sense to pair up Weidman and Palhares.

Palhares is ranked in the top 10 when it comes to UFC middleweights and is someone that is overlooked by many. The only two losses “Toquinho” has suffered in the UFC were against Dan Henderson and Nate Marquardt, two of the best middleweights in the world. He is currently on a three-fight winning streak, two of those by submission, and is looking to add another to make a statement to the top contenders in the division.

Weidman would be an interesting fight for Palhares. It would be a similar stylistic match-up as the Maia fight, but he’s handled it before and will be prepared for the bout, with longer than 11 days to come up with a game plan to stop the heel hooks for which Palhares is famous.

Evan Dunham vs. Jacob Volkmann

A fight I was looking forward to watching on the preliminary card was Evan Dunham vs. Nik Lentz in a lightweight scrap. Dunham put on a solid performance by busting up the face of Lentz, forcing the the doctors to stop the bout before the third round began.

Dunham, who was once considered a possible contender, has now stated his case that he still has what it takes to make another run towards the belt.

But before he gets a shot against the top of the heap, he needs to take out another fellow rising star, say Jacob Volkmann for example.

Volkmann has also won a handful of fights – five in a row – that proves that he is contender on the rise, while expressing his political views along the way. This would be a big test for “Christmas,” who hasn’t taken on an all-around fighter like Dunham thus far. But if he is able to get past “3-D,” that would be a huge win to boost his career.

But Dunham has many tools that he can use to finish the fight, both standing and on the mat. On the other hand, Volkmann has appeared to be the complete opposite, with his last five wins coming by decision. It will interesting to see how both men will prepare to cancel out their opponent’s gameplan.

Mike Russow vs. Dave Herman/Stefan Struve winner

Mike Russow (Fight! Magazine)

Chicago’s own Mike Russow got the opportunity to fight in front of his hometown crowd at the United Center and picked up a win over John-Olav Einemo.

Surprisingly though, Russow used Einemo’s strength against him by taking the fight to the ground in every round. His game plan turned out to be effective, and he now moves on to take on the next heavyweight that steps in his way.

Another heavyweight contest that is expected to happen pits Dave Herman against Stefan Struve at UFC on Fuel TV 1 in February. Much like Russow, both of those fighters are looking to move in the upper echelon of the heavyweight division.

Herman and Russow were expected to meet at UFC 136, but Herman tested positive for drugs was forced to take some time off from fighting. It’s possible that the UFC will try to set that fight up again, but even if Struve earns a win over Herman, that would be a good bout to make.

Either way, fans are going to witness some action-packed fights between these three men as their careers progress.

Photo: Rashad Evans (Rob Tatum/Bleacher Report)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.