Both Rashad "Suga" Evans and Chael Sonnen looked ripped and ready to go at Friday night's weigh-in for their light heavyweight clash at UFC 167. The bout is the co-feature on a card headlined by the UFC welterweight title fight between champion Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks.
Sonnen officially weighed in at 206 pounds, and Evans was 205.
The pre-fight hype hasn't been as nasty leading up to Saturday's events as one would expect with a Sonnen fight. He has a noted friendship with Evans and plenty of respect. Aside from the personal admiration, Evans' skills command Sonnen to take notice.
Rarely does Sonnen face a fighter with a wrestling background that is just as impressive as his. The 36-year-old is a former NCAA collegiate wrestler and Olympic alternate in Greco-Roman wrestling. That said, Suga brings an impressive resume of mat work himself.
He is a former NCAA Division I champion and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Sonnen will not manhandle him on the ground as he has the likes of Brian Stann, Michael Bisping and, most recently, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
Sonnen will have to diversify his attack to defeat Evans. It is unclear whether he can do that and remain conscious against Evans who does possess sneaky power.
While their amateur backgrounds may be somewhat similar in regard to success, Evans has clearly accomplished more as a professional MMA fighter. He's a former light heavyweight champion, while Sonnen's best claim in the UFC is that he nearly defeated Anderson Silva in their first bout.
Quickness could be the factor when the two lock horns on Saturday night. There is no doubt Evans is the better pure athlete, and his wrestling skills are at the very least on par with Sonnen's.
It should be a great battle to set the table for the main event.
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