It's official: Jackson challenges Evans May 23
Postfight report by Brady Crytzer
Photo: Joe Cordova
It’s official. “Sugar” Rashad Evans will defend his UFC world light heavyweight title against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on Saturday, May 23 in Las Vegas, NV in the main event of UFC 98.
The original main event of UFC 98, Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir II, was called off due to knee surgery recieveld by the challenger Mir. The light heavyweight title bout scheduled between Jackson and Evans was an eleventh hour decision following the news of Mir’s condition. With Saturday night’s win, Jackson secured his place against Evans. Should Jackson have lost, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida would have received the title opportunity.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine were awarded the prestigious “Fight of the Night” bonus. They each walked away with an extra $60,000 for their efforts.
Matt “The Hammer” Hamill received the “Knockout of the Night” award for his first round head kick KO of Mark Munoz. He also received the $60,000 bonus.
There were no submissions awards at UFC 96 as seven of the ten bouts ended by KO or TKO.
President Dana White announced that Munoz, who was KO’ed by Hamill, was medically cleared. Pete Sell however, who was knocked out in the first round by Matt Brown, went to the hospital for a precautionary MRI.
In regards to the early stoppage of Aaron Riley vs. Shane Nelson, Dana White stated his opinion on the matter. White claimed that people make mistakes, but “it drives me crazy.”
On a similar note in regards to stoppages, White claimed that he respected referee Yves Lavigne, but was upset with his failure to stop the welterweight fight between Matt Brown and Pete Sell at the appropriate time. “I hurt my arm tonight beating on the Octagon screaming to stop that fight.”
Although Shane Carwin’s win over Gabriel Gonzaga was not an official title eliminator, when asked about the fight White promisingly responded by saying that the 6’4. 260 pound heavyweight “answered a lot of questions."