Heading into the main event of UFC 133, questions were poised about both of the former champions competing. Was this a Cinderella story for Tito Ortiz? Would ring rust be a factor for Rashad Evans? How would this match be different from their draw years ago? With a dominant performance and being one of the few men to stop The Huntington Beach Bad Boy, “Suga” proved why last night’s victory is oh so sweet.
Rocking the resurgent Ortiz with shots in the first round and finishing in a dominating fashion TKO, Evans silenced all critics and detractors as he made his position as number one contender cemented again in the light heavyweight division. Coming into the fight surrounded by speculation, reservation and being counted out after over a year from fighting, he was aggressive and finished the fight, derailing a comeback for Ortiz.
Not a fan favorite, Evans has always remained optimistic in the face of adversity and promised to win the fight; he has all but one loss (his only title defense to Machida) but has remained strong in his absence and is ready for a rematch with foe Rampage Jackson or epic grudge match with former training partner, Jon Jones after UFC 135’s light heavyweight championship matchup.
Stating in interviews before this fight that his new training camp in Boca Raton, FL was better than Jacksons MMA (Albuquerque, NM) many had laughed and thought it to be spiteful; the disposal of his opponent last night showed that he is not swayed by high-profile trainers or competitors and is still a force to be reckoned with.
A match between Jon Jones is ideal to silence the argument of “who is better” of the two men. Jones should bring out the best in Evans for the purpose of history and the beef they have with each other. Evans took a unanimous decision against Jackson in 2010, a rematch of the two would be entertaining for pre-fight trash talk and guaranteed brawl but may stalemate like the original meeting.
The end of the year may deliver a light heavyweight title classic for the ages, all the men mentioned (Jackson, Jones, Evans) are capable to become or remain the division champion but at UFC 133, Evans has reminded us all why he is not to be look past or down upon but as a world-class fighter, able to handle and finish anyone you put in front of him.
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