Rashad Evans returned to the UFC Octagon after over a year on the shelf with various injuries. However, in his UFC 133 main event bout against Tito Ortiz, Evans looked better than ever.
UFC Light Heavyweight Main Event
Rashad Evans (16-1-1) TKO (Strikes) Tito Ortiz (16-9-1)
Official Time of Stoppage: 4:48 RD 2
While Evans had been relegated to the sidelines of the light heavyweight division while recovering from nagging injuries Ortiz’s stock had risen considerably following his victory over highly-touted prospect Ryan Bader. But, Evans is not Bader and despite concerns of “cage rust” for the former light heavyweight champion Evans showed that he is still a force to be reckoned with as he took Ortiz’s best shots and dished out equal parts of punishments. Ortiz seemed eager to trade with Evans early on, but as Evans’ edge in hand speed became apparent Ortiz was forced to cover up from the assault. By the end of the opening round Ortiz looked gassed and despite coming into the fight in tremendous shape it was clear that Evans’ activity was going to pose a problem for the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy.”
True to this fact, Evans came out aggressive in the second round but nearly paid dearly for this tactic. As Evans shot in for a takedown, Ortiz deftly timed the shot and caught Evans in a vice grip guillotine that looked like Evans would not escape from. However, Evans was able to power through the choke and capitalized on the clearly fatigued Ortiz. A devastating knee to Ortiz’s midsection spelled the end of the fight as Evans pounced on his hurt opponent blasting away with punches to the head until the referee had seen enough.
UFC Middleweight Co-Main Event
Vitor Belfort (20-9) TKO (Strikes) Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-4)
Official Time of Stoppage: 1:52 RD 1
Vitor Belfort wasted little time in rebounding from his recent loss as he knocked out Japanese superstar Yoshihiro Akiyama in one round of dominant action. After some very cautious opening moments Belfort unleashed a flurry of punches that clipped Akiyama, sending him crashing to the canvas. Belfort immediately jumped on his downed foe and after some unrelenting ground and pound the fight was mercifully waived off.
UFC Welterweight Fight
Brian Ebersole (48-14-1) TKO (Strikes) Dennis Hallman (50-14-2)
Official Time of Stoppage: 4:28 RD 1
Two of the UFC’s more eccentric fighters waged an entertaining, albeit quick, fight. With Ebersole’s manicured chest hair and Hallman’s short-shorts it would be easy for fans to have been distracted during the fight but the action in the opening round outweighed any shtick.
Hallman came out the early aggressor, taking the fight to Ebersole almost immediately. Ebersole was in danger of succumbing to a Hallman guillotine, but after powering through the choke managed to quickly turn the tables. After getting to top position, Ebersole unleashed a flurry of shots that prompted a halt to the fight.
UFC Middleweight Fight
Constantinos Philippou (8-2) Split Decision Jorge Rivera (19-9)
Scores: 29-28, 29-28, 28-29
In one of the most competitive fights of the fight Philippou was able to edge out Rivera over three closely contested rounds. Philippou started things off in the first round with some serious kickboxing but Rivera would rally back to close out the round. The second round didn’t go well for Rivera who was dropped early in the round by Philippou. Despite some shots landed by Rivera, it simply wasn’t enough to earn the round. The third round Rivera came out looking to finish the fight but despite a valiant effort Philippou’s work in the earlier rounds probably earned him the nod from the judges.
UFC Welterweight Fight
Rory McDonland (12-1) TKO (Strikes) Mike Pyle (21-8-1)
Official Time of Stoppage: 3:54 RD 1
22-year old white-hot prospect Rory McDonald looked impressive in stopping the tough Mike Pyle in one round. After getting up from a Pyle takedown, McDonald was able to rock Pyle on the ground with some hard punches. The relentless assault from McDonald was enough to prompt the referee to stop the fight.