After winning “The Ultimate Fighter,” Rashad Evans made his mark as a dominant wrestler. His ‘lay-and-pray’ style was deemed boring by some, but it enabled him to win some early decisions as he developed his skills.
Recently, however, the explosive Evans has made a mark as a knockout specialist, primarily using his hands to defeat fighters like Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin. It was this newfound reliance on striking that cost him his recent bout with Lyoto Machida, however, as he was simply unmatched on his feet.
In his UFC 108 fight with Thiago Silva, Evans went back to his wrestling roots. Both men threw some shots in the first two rounds, but the tipping point was Rashad’s wrestling–he consistently took Silva to the mat. Though the newly-crowned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt had no real luck doing any damage once on the ground, he completely neutralized Thiago Silva with an aggressive wrestling assault.
Then, in round three, things changed. After mocking Rashad Evans’ hesitance to engage on the feet, Silva ended up connecting with a flurry that dazed Evans and caused him to fall from his feet. Evans worked his way back to the feet, but it was clear that the assault took the bite out of his game–he no longer offered any threat to Silva.
Silva, however, presumably due to fatigue, never capitalized. Even as Evans stood essentially out on his feet, Silva’s reaction was more about staying put than it was going for broke and pursuing victory. That gameplan ended up costing Silva the fight; he had definitively lost the first two rounds, so without a finish, he was looking at either a 29-28 loss or a 28-28 draw (in the rare event that the judges deemed the round one-sided).
Evans ultimately won the decision (unanimous 29-28) and a seemingly guaranteed grudge match with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. What Evans’ aura of dominance lost in the third round was made up with impressive survival skills; Evans ultimately managed to score a solid victory over one of the world’s best fighters.
UFC 108 RESULTS
Rafaello Oliveira b. John Gunderson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jake Ellenberger b. Mike Pyle via TKO (strikes) at :22 of Round Two
Mark Munoz b. Ryan Jensen via submission (strikes) at 2:30 of Round One
Cole Miller b. Dan Lauzon via submission (kimura) at 3:05 of Round One
Martin Kampmann b. Jacob Volkmann via submission (guillotine) at 4:03 of Round One
Junior dos Santos b. Gilbert Yvel via TKO (strikes) at 2:07 of Round One
Jim Miller b. Duane Ludwig via submission (armbar) at 2:31 of Round One
Sam Stout b. Joe Lauzon via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Paul Daley b. Dustin Hazelett via KO (strikes) at 2:24 of Round One
Rashad Evans b. Thiago Silva via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
*Bonuses: Sam Stout vs. Joe Lauzon – Fight of the Night, Paul Daley – Knockout of the Night, Cole Miller – Submission of the Night