In what was supposed to be the fight that put Chuck Liddell back into a 205 lbs title fight, Rashad Evans was having none of it Saturday night. What is being described as one of, if not the most brutal knock out in UFC history, Evans used a solid game plan and planted him into the upper echelon of 205 lbs fighters by KOing the former champ in the second round setting himself up for a title shot with Forrest Griffin.
Evans danced and bobbed around in the first round mostly backing away and avoiding occasional punches from Liddell. Whether intended or not, he was using the same strategy that had worked so well for Rampage Jackson against Liddell last May. Evans did not initiate any attack on the notorious counter punch Liddell in round 1. Instead he would back up, back up, and back up some more. And from time to time dance around with his head and body and throw the odd punch. The plan looked to be to frustrate, agitate and almost taught the Iceman, so he would became overly aggressive and wild with his punches.
If you remember in the Liddell vs. Rampage fight, Jackson actually threw his hands up and said ‘come on’ to Chuck when the counter puncher was stalling and waiting for Rampage to make a mistake. Finally, Liddell became frustrated by his taunting and threw a body shot from the outside, which allowed Rampage to capitalize and knock out the former King of 205.
Between rounds Evans Coach Greg Jackson said “keep moving back, moving back. It’s pissing him off”, which suggested that their game plan was in fact to make Liddell too agitated and they would pounce on the opportunity. At 1:51 into the second round, the opportunity came. Chuck went to throw a big right upper cut and dropped his left hand slightly. At the same time Evans threw a straight right that caught the Iceman flush on the jaw, causing him to collapse and he lay motionless on the canvas for over a minute.
After the fight, UFC President Dana White said that Evans would get the next title shot against Forrest Griffin, a fight that will likely take place on the UFC’s late December card. “How could you say ‘No he won’t get a shot after the Liddell fight?’” White said after. It will be the first title fight that will include 2 members The Ultimate fighter series, a show that has made countless superstars.
For Rashad Evans and his camp, their game plan paid off in more ways than one Saturday night. A gigantic win over Chuck Liddell and a title shot opportunity waits.
In other action Rich Franklin proved to be too much for Matt Hamil, as Hamil was stopped with a kick to the body in the 3rd round. Franklin looked comfortable at 205 lbs and used a solid game plan to overwhelm the hearing impaired fighter with kicks and punches from the outside.
Dan Henderon also got back on the winning track with a decision win over BJJ specialist Rousimar Palhares. Dan avoided the take down at all costs and used his superior stand up to knock the Brazilian down a number of times.