A report of the Main Card results from UFC on FOX: Evans vs Davis
CHICAGO, January 28 –Rashad Evans knocked Phil Davis from the ranks of the unbeaten Saturday night with a conservative five round performance in the UFC on FOX main event at the United Center, but he will probably need to take more risks when he faces friend-turned rival Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight crown.
The title bout may take place April 21 in Atlanta, Evans’ post-fight medical report permitting.
Uncharacteristically playing it safe, Evans rarely tried to unload heavy leather on Davis, despite clearly owning superior standup skills to his less experienced foe. Perhaps it was Evans’s way of respecting the explosive wrestling skills of Davis, a former NCAA champ at Penn State University. Or perhaps it was also the pressure of another title shot on the line.
“I fought at a pretty high pace. I felt like I wanted to put him away but I just couldn’t land those big punches,” said Evans (22-1-1), who won his fifth straight since losing the world title to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98. “I’m excited. The monkey has been on my back; it was hard to get up for this fight because everybody kept asking about that fight (with Jon Jones). But I got my shot and I’m very excited.”
Though cautious offensively, Evans was masterful defensively, pretty much deflecting most of Davis’s strikes and takedowns. The exception came in round four, when Davis landed a nice kick to the body and left hand to the face, and in the third round, when Davis (9-1) recorded two takedowns. A big key for Evans was making Davis pay for low kicks by scoring takedowns and ground and pound. In the first round, Evans’s strongest, he trapped Davis on the canvas and unloaded punches before Davis escaped.
Judges awarded the bout to Evans via scores of 50-45 across the board. Watch Rashad's post-fight interview
In the evening’s co-main event, Chael Sonnen, the UFC’s silver-tongued and beloved Big Mouth, once again backed up his over-the-top smack talk with a smothering win over a feisty Michael Bisping, setting the stage for one of the most anticipated rematches in MMA history.
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While the newly-minted top contender has contended the UFC middleweight champ wants no parts of a sequel, UFC president Dana White has said that if Sonnen prevailed there would be a rematch at a soccer stadium in Brazil later this year. Triumphant in five of his past six bouts, Sonnen did not immediately afterwards call out Silva, the only fighter to beat him in the past three years. But he left no doubt as to his own grandeur and place in the UFC hierarchy when commentator Joe Rogan attempted to interview him inside the Octagon.
“Joe Rogan, tonight is not for questions for me, tonight is about questions for you,” Sonnen said with the royal air of a king. “I want to know how you feel being inches away from greatness? Do you not have chills down your spine? You’re in Chael’s Octagon, holding Chael’s microphone … When you’re the greatest fighter they got a name for you -- Chael Sonnen. Beat me if you can.”
Originally slated to face Mark Munoz (who dropped out two weeks ago with an elbow injury that required surgery), Sonnen had his hands full with Bisping (22-4), who had been victorious in four straight entering the contest. The well-rounded Brit is notoriously difficult to take down and hold down, and he gave Sonnen fits in rounds one and two in that regard. But Sonnen did get his takedowns, did score with punches on top, and never let Bisping get into the stick-and-move groove that would have been ideal for the British star. Rather, as he does with every opponent, Sonnen largely cornered
Bisping and made him fight in close quarters and in the clinch.
Bisping was solid in the clinch (with knees and dirty boxing) and occasionally landed combinations, but the ultra-aggressive Sonnen held his own there and also landed timely right hands and straight lefts. The crowd sporadically showered Sonnen with “U-S-A!” chants. Quite simply, Sonnen made Bisping fight his fight, leading to a unanimous decision by scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28. Hear what Chael had to say after the fight
Fighting on only two weeks’ notice, undefeated Chris Weidman eked by former No. 1 contender Demian Maia via unanimous decision in what qualifies as the signature win of his career and a big statement to the rest of the division.
Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice
A replacement for Michael Bisping, the New Yorker predominantly exchanged blows with the Brazilian, though it was Weidman’s several takedowns that may have swayed judges in the closely contested opening two rounds. When he did take Maia down, Weidman wisely
Maia threw a lot of left hands, and when they landed they mostly hit Weidman’s head, perhaps hurting Maia’s hand more than Weidman’s head. The standup action was steady, perhaps explaining why both fighters were fighting on fumes by midway into the third round. On the most rubbery of legs, they barely seemed able to stand. Watch Weidman's post-fight interview