A three-part special titled UFC Primetime aired on Spike TV Wednesday night showcasing the bitter rivalry between Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The show is leading up to UFC 114, an event that will be held in the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The two former champions will meet with the title of No. 1 contender on the line. The bout was supposed to take place at UFC 113 held May 8, but was put on hold due to Rampage’s role as B.A. Baracus in the new “A-Team” movie. Rampage briefly retired from the UFC to do the movie, but has come back to address unfinished business with Evans.
Jackson’s last fight was over a year ago on March 7, 2009 when he won a unanimous decision over Keith Jardine at UFC 96.
Most casual fans may just see the title shot significance, but what they will not see is the true animosity the fighters have for one another. During the filming of the Spike TV show Ultimate Fighter 10: Heavyweights viewers were witness to a mental Rashad taking verbal jabs at Jackson, and Jackson subsequently destroying doors.
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Jackson lost the first seven fights of the season due to poor coaching tactics that included shouting obvious instructions to fighters, and showing little support for the losers on his team.
The fact that Rashad Evans has fought more recently might give him the edge over Jackson. Before the event UFC 108 Dana White was quoted as saying that if Evans could beat Thiago Silva, then he would earn himself a chance at the title shot by fighting Rampage.
Sugar went on to defeat Silva after receiving his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu belt the morning of UFC 108. Rashad showed his fans that he had switched from his usual standing and striking style, and displayed a wide array of grappling techniques and takedown moves.
If Jackson stays on his feet against Evans, he will have a shot to come out of this bout victorious. Jackson is clearly the superior boxer, with 14 of his 30 wins coming by way of the knockout. While Evans is a good striker, he will surely have to take the fight to the ground if he is looking for a favorable outcome.
Online Sportsbooks have Rampage Jackson as the favorite at -125, and Rashad Evans assuming the underdog role at -105.