UFC 145 Results: 5 Fights to Get Rashad Evans Back on Track

Hunter Homistek@HunterAHomistekCorrespondent IApril 23, 2012

UFC 145 Results: 5 Fights to Get Rashad Evans Back on Track

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    Where has that smile gone, Rashad?

    After playing the role of human punching bag against Jon Jones at UFC 145, "Suga" is at a crossroads in his career.  

    In the lead-up to UFC 145, Evans mentioned not having the same passion for the sport he once did, and this could be the beginning of the end for the legendary light-heavyweight.  

    If Evans is still serious about continuing his career and forging a path back to the title, though, here are five fights that could get him back to his winning ways and restore some of that once-shining confidence.  

Ryan Bader

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    Although Bader is coming off a victory and the UFC brass tends to not match fighters coming off a loss with fighters coming off a win, this fight makes all kinds of sense for Rashad Evans

    Bader is a strong wrestler with powerful hands, and this makes him a significant threat to Evans.

    This would cause Rashad to take training very seriously, and it would hopefully result in the explosive "Suga" of old.  

    Evans would do well to utilize his quick, accurate strikes to cruise to a unanimous decision victory and get his career back on track against Bader.  

Stephan Bonnar

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    Stephan Bonnar has wanted to fight Quinton Jackson for quite some time now, so why not give him the upgraded version of Rampage in Evans? 

    Bonnar, who is on a three-fight win streak, could catapult into the upper echelon of the light-heavyweight division with a win over Evans, so he would almost certainly take the offer if it presented itself.

    For Evans, Bonnar would serve as an opportunity to prove that he still has what it takes to dispose of a fighter quickly and efficiently.  

    I'm not trying to suggest that this would be throwing Bonnar to wolves necessarily, but this should be a nice, easy tune-up fight for Rashad to get back to his winning ways.  

Lyoto Machida

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    This fight could serve as the ultimate test for Evans.  

    If Jon Jones made him look bad, Lyoto Machida made Evans look Janet Reno bad, and that, my friends, is a whole different level of bad.  

    Machida knocked Evans senseless, and with each fighter coming off a loss to the champion, this fight makes sense to decide who is for real and who needs to hang 'em up.  

    A win in a rematch over Machida would immediately cement Evans' relevancy and prove that he is still one of the best light-heavyweights in the world.  

Alexander Gustafsson

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    While this may sound like a tall order for a man coming off a loss, a matchup with Gustafsson makes sense on several levels.  

    First, it would serve to show if Gustafsson has corrected the holes in his wrestling game or if he is still uneasy in that department.  

    Secondly, it would show if Evans is still truly elite or not.  

    After getting hosed by Jones, many people are questioning Evans' heart and drive, and if this matchup doesn't motivate him, he is doomed to retirement. 

    Gustafsson is a big name right now in the UFC's light-heavyweight division, and his biggest weakness is Rashad's biggest strength.  

    Sounds like the recipe for a good-looking win, no?  

Mark Munoz

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    Oh, I'm going there.

    What Evans really needs to do at this point in his career is drop to middleweight.  

    He isn't a huge light-heavyweight, and his frame looks better suited for 185 than it does 205.  

    At middleweight, he would have a great wrestling and power advantage over most opponents and would instantly become a title contender.  

    Not getting ahead of myself, but think about Anderson Silva vs. Rashad Evans for a second.  

    Juicy, right?  

    First up, though, Rashad should take on "The Filipino Wrecking Machine."  

    They each have similar styles, and it would be interesting to see if Evans could handle a tough opponent at middleweight in his first outing.  

    With the level of competition he has faced at 205 for his entire career, I don't think it is a stretch to match up Evans with Munoz in his debut middleweight performance. 

    Personally, I think this is the right move for Evans to get his career as a mixed martial artist back on track.