Prior to UFC
, many observers, including UFC President Dana White, felt
that former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad
might not look quite right after 14 months away from the
Apparently, somebody forgot to tell Evans (Pictured; file photo),
as “Suga” looked razor sharp in dismantling Tito Ortiz in
their Saturday main event at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.
“I’m a big believer in ring rust,” White quipped at the post-fight
press conference. “Rashad f---ed up my theory tonight.”
Evans used excellent takedown defense early in the bout, fending
off a charging Ortiz with his back to the cage. After escaping the
grasp of “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy,” Evans appeared to find his
rhythm standing, rifling off crisp combination to the head and body
of his slower foe.
“Speed was definitely the difference,” said Evans. “I just took my
time with it. I knew Tito would try to get at me early, so I wanted
to make sure I didn’t rush into anything. I set up my standup so
things went right.”
Evans then seized full control of the cage, diving for his own
double-leg and hoisting Ortiz high before slamming him forcefully
to the mat to inflict damage from top position. Though the second
round would mimic the end of the first, Evans found himself in hot
water for a split second when he shot for a takedown and left his
neck exposed. Ortiz attempted to snatch both the opportunity and
Evans’ throat, grabbing an arm-in guillotine -- the maneuver he
used to finish Ryan Bader
just one month ago at UFC 132.
Evans would not succumb to the choke, however, as the former
Michigan State Spartan expertly defended the submission attempt
while passing to half-guard.
“Right before the fight, I was working with Renzo Gracie
on defending [the arm-in guillotine],” said Evans. “Once I pushed
my head down and pushed [Ortiz’s] knee down, I didn’t feel the
pressure. The worst thing you can do is try to pull out when you’re
After escaping the submission, Evans began to drop punishment on
the 14-year pro. Though Ortiz tried valiantly to scramble to his
feet, he was eventually trapped on his knees against the cage in
round two. Evans did not hesitate to strike, finishing the fight
with a brutal knee to the solar plexus followed by more punches to
his helpless adversary.
“I was especially conscious of [not kneeing Ortiz in the head],”
said Evans. “He [lifted] one knee up, then put it down. For a
minute, I was thinking about the knee so much that I forgot to
punch him. So I punched him, then kneed him in the body
Ortiz stepped up to face Evans in a rematch of their 2007 pairing
out of necessity, as Evans was originally slated to face both
Davis and Jon Jones
before each dropped out of the event due to injury. Now the light
heavyweight champion, Jones was once a teammate of Evans’ at Greg
Jackson’s MMA. That tie now severed, Evans looks forward to
reclaiming his title, preferably from his former teammate and
friend, provided Jones can successfully defend his belt against
“Rampage” Jackson at UFC 135 in September.
“I would prefer to [win the title] from Jones. You think I’m cocky?
He’s for-real cocky. He’s like go-to-sleep-praising-himself cocky.
I would love to teach him a lesson. I know where Jon’s weak and he
knows where I’m weak. So we’ll see who covers those [weak areas]
first,” said Evans. “If he makes it past Rampage, I’ll have a
chance to do that. I think Rampage should train in my camp for this
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