Former UFC light heavyweight champion “Sugar” Rashad Evans earned himself a title fight after dismantling Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis at UFC on Fox 2. Evans showed a more rounded game, earning the advantage both in the standup and on the ground as he worked his way to a unanimous decision, winning all five rounds on all three scorecards.
Davis, who trains with Brandon Vera at the Alliance MMA camp in San Diego, came into the fight as a blue-chip UFC prospect with an undefeated record. He also held a four-inch reach advantage over Evans. But Davis couldn’t take advantage of his superior reach as he often came up short on punches against Evans’ more advanced striking.
Evans drew first blood when he was able to catch a Davis kick and take him down in the first round. Evans worked his way into a mounted crucifix where he was able to inflict some damage on Davis in the first significant action of the fight.
Davis came out less aggressively with his kicks in the second, but eventually conceded a similar takedown off of a kick late in the round.
The third was a slow grind of takedown attempts, reversals and dirty boxing. Davis was able to get Evans on his back but was unable to deal any damage or even keep the former champion down as Evans quickly worked his way back to his feet.
The fourth began with a striking exchange where Davis was surprisingly unable to utilize his reach advantage. Evans, the more experienced striker, connected with a few jabs off of counters despite keeping distance and rarely coming in to the inside.
The final round went decisively in Evans’ favor when he caught another kick and connected with punches that dropped Davis. Evans passed the younger fighter’s guard into another mounted crucifix and eventually taking the back. Davis was able to stand up but never really threatened the rest of the way.
With the win, Evans sets a date against former training partner and current champion Jon “Bones” Jones. The two were initially set to face each other twice before but both fights were cancelled due to injuries to the fighters. Jones and Evans are now set to face off in April at UFC 145 in Atlanta.
Earlier, Chael Sonnen eked out a close unanimous decision win over Michael Bisping to earn himself a rematch against UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva for the title.
In Sonnen’s first shot at the championship, he was able to hold Silva down for most of the fight and looked headed for a win before Silva caught him in a triangle choke in the fifth round.
Sonnen was originally set to face Mark Muñoz before the Filipino fighter pulled out with an elbow injury.
» UFC 158: Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre crushes Nick Diaz in front of hometown crowd
» Women’s champ Ronda Rousey retains title in UFC 157 main event
» Cain Velasquez decisions Junior Dos Santos in UFC 155 to reclaim heavyweight crown