In the weeks leading up to their UFC 114 bout, Rashad Evans and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson did a lot of talking. Conversation topics ranged from fighting styles to racial stereotypes each man promoted in the UFC. About the only thing the two could agree on was the fact that they would beat each other down when they squared off in the ring.
Saturday night Evans backed his words up by winning the match in a unanimous decision.
After the first two rounds, it seemed as though Evans would win the match handily. However, in the third round Jackson began his comeback effort. He began to throw a flurry of shots at his opponent in third round and had his fans thinking a knockout was coming. Unfortunately, despite a last second takedown effort, Evans was able to win the bout by a 30-27 score from two judges’ scorecards.
Evans stayed true to his promise of being the smarter fighter, and consistently bettered his opponent in the early rounds. He kept his emotions in order, and calmly hit Jackson with fast punches all throughout the fight. The hits kept Jackson against the cage, and opened him up to numerous takedowns.
In the third round Jackson tried to more aggressively engage Evans, but Evans held strong. After a Jackson takedown, he worked his way back up to his feet and eventually went back on the offensive.
For their troubles tonight, Evans won $410,000 and a title shot. Jackson on the other hand, earned $250,000 and a lot of question marks.
With his victory, Evans put himself in prime position to take on Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, the new Light Heavyweight Champion.
Jackson’s future is far more uncertain. His in-ring rust was something that even he noticed.
He had this to say to reporters after the match:
"I guess ring rust is a factor," Jackson said. "I looked good, felt good, was strong, but I had a lot of rust."
With his new "A-Team" movie hitting theaters soon, the always-entertaining fighter may decide that the mighty Hollywood dollar and showbiz lights fit what he’s looking for more than the brutal UFC fight scene.