Bad blood at UFC 114
Preview by Brady Crytzer
Following the completion of his “A-Team” remake, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has returned to the fistic fantasy world of the UFC to finally do battle with light heavyweight star “Sugar” Rashad Evans.
While both men have previously held the world light heavyweight championship, this showdown is deeply personal and will be fueled by rage and animosity. Cooler heads always prevail, but who will be able to set aside their emotions and earn another shot at the light heavyweight belt? Read on to find out.
Striking: What do you get when you combine two fighters with quick hands and thumping power? A light heavyweight showdown over a year in the making. Though these two warriors were scheduled to meet in January, this main event isn’t any less enticing. Rashad Evans proved his KO wins over Sean Salmon and Chuck Liddell that he is a quick, smart counter puncher with fight ending power. Though he has had knockouts before, his recent performances lead one to believe that he will not be purely focused on trading blow with Jackson. “Rampage,” fresh off of the filming of the sure-fire hit (sarcasm) remake of “The A-Team,” has been a fan favorite for his ability to show off his brutal banging ability. In his 2007 win over Chuck Liddell, Jackson proved that he has fight ending power in his left hand. In his 2008 win over Wanderlai Silva…he proved that he has it in his right hand, too.
Jackson will be focused, as always, on stuffing the takedown and throwing heavy leather at Evans. While Evans won’t rely solely on his stand up, he will utilize quick counters to effectively set up takedowns. Jackson carries two sledgehammers into the cage however, and he will use them to hurt Evans on the feet.
Grappling: The edge in experience and skill falls to Rashad Evans. In a camp consisting of Georges St. Pierre, Nate Marquardt, and the monstrous Shane Carwin, it really says something when they all tip their hats to the ground supremacy of Evans. A wrestler at Michigan State, Evans began his MMA career as a powerhouse grappler but has quickly evolved into a well-rounded show stopper. His takedowns were spectacular in his last outing against Thiago Silva, and they will be largely responsible for a win over Jackson, should it happen. “Rampage” doesn’t possess a black belt in anything, but his pure grit and out-of-this-world toughness makes him nearly impossible to take down. Once his is taken down however he is well out of his element
Evans enjoys an edge as the better-rounded fighter, and a well rounded attack anchored by his wrestling will be just what the doctor ordered for “Sugar” Rashad.
How They Match Up: Evans wants this fight in a bad way, and if Quinton Jackson is unfocused he will be grossly overmatched.
Jackson initially bowed out of their January contest due to Hollywood obligations, and while he was proudly sporting a Mr. T Mohawk, Evans was hard at work at Greg Jackson’s New Mexico fight factory.
Rashad Evans showed some issues with his chin against Silva, and that is always a concern with a natural brawler like “Rampage.” A Jackson KO here would be a stretch, though.
Evans defeated Silva by mixing up his game and outworking the dangerous Brazilian. He will do the same to Jackson. While we haven’t seen it take center stage in a long time, expect Evans’ wrestling to score the points and his striking to steal the show.
Jackson is tough to stop without stopping his cold in his tracks, so keep an eye out for a unanimous decision win for Evans. With that in mind fear not “Rampage” fans, Jackson will keep things interesting by stinging Evans on the feet more than once in this fight.