UFC on FOX 2: Evans vs. Bones title implications
Last November, Fox previewed the UFC for viewers with a single heavyweight title fight between then champion Cain Velasquez and challenger Junior dos Santos. That match ended in a quick KO win for dos Santos, and so failed to demonstrate to potential new fans the mixed part of mixed martial arts. Not so last night in Chicago's United Center.
In a five round title elimination bout, former light heavyweight champ ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans (17-1-1) proved NCAA wrestling pedigree doesn’t necessarily mean much when the Michigan State Spartan easily handled the 2008 NCAA champion from Penn state, Phil ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Davis (9-1). Evans twice had Davis in the crucifix, and once had him mounted. At no time in the fight did Davis have any physical control over the more experienced veteran, even when he had top position.
Davis’ lean, cut frame tired quickly with the pace put on by Evans, a trademark of the Michigan state Spartan. In the stand-up, Davis was telegraphing his strikes and giving Evans the chance to check what could have been powerful, game-changing leg and body kicks.
Both fighters proved something with their 25 minute rumble: Rashad showed that speed can kill, and that he is an elite fighter with an impressive arsenal who deserves his long awaited title fight with Jon Bones Jones; Davis proved he can go the distance and survive a five round fight against one of the very best in the division, and that he is continually improving.
Rashad will now fight Jon 'Bones' Jones in April, at UFC 145 in Atlanta. Evans had two previous fights scheduled for five rounds, but the win over Davis is the first to go the distance, demonstrating at least that he’s capable. He won't last that long against the dominant champion.
Mouthy Chael Sonnen (27-11-1) plied his weak Muhammad Ali shtick--- which inexplicably works for some fans---after a less than impressive win over a very game Michael 'The Count' Bisping (22-4). Sonnen won the fight despite a weak stand up, by taking Bisping to the mat and generally controlling the fight.
To the surprise of commentator Joe Rogan, and the rest of the arena, Bisping kept bouncing up, actually controlled the clinch against the fence---versus the Olympic alternate in Greco-Roman wrestling---and looked more viable than Sonnen when the final bell sounded. Bisping finished the fight on top, and more than one fan doubted Sonnen’s chances had the fight been five rounds.
Sonnen will now get his long-awaited rematch against Anderson 'The Spider' Silva, a man who defeated Sonnen in August, 2010, via triangle choke with under two minutes left, devastating the American, who’d promised his late father a world championship. Silva, who suffered a serious rib injury before that fight, had looked relatively lackluster and spent a large portion of that evening with his back to the mat before finishing the challenger.
Sonnen has significantly more on his plate now, considering Silva will be healthy and hungry to finish Sonnen, with strikes this time. Unfortunately for Sonnen, it will be difficult to stoke the smugness with his ‘meh’ performance in Chicago.