UFC 167: Evans vs. Sonnen Recap and Analysis

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2013

Jun 15, 2013; Winnipeg, MB, Canada; Rashad Evans gets ready to fight Dan Henderson (not pictured) during their light heavyweight bout at UFC 161 at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

Rashad Evans reintroduced himself as one of the top light heavyweights in the world with a superb performance against Chael Sonnen in the co-main event at UFC 167:

Rashad Evans d. Chael Sonnen by TKO, round 1

— Bleacher Report MMA (@BR_MMA) November 17, 2013

Despite close odds and similar track records in recent fights, Evans made it appear as though Sonnen didn't deserve to be in the same Octagon with the former light heavyweight champion. 

Sonnen started off with his signature in-your-face takedown attempt to start the fight, but he only succeeded in pinning Evans against the cage.

That success would be short-lived. 

Evans quickly turned the tables on Sonnen and seized control of the clinch, landing strikes against the cage as he waited for an opening to move the fight to the ground. Evans didn't have to wait long as he put Sonnen on his back with a well-executed takedown. 

From there, things only got worse for Sonnen. 

Evans secured three passes on the ground as he eventually took Sonnen's back and landed the bulk of his 20 significant strikes before Herb Dean intervened and called an end to the fight at 4:05 of the first round. 

This win was crucial for Evans. After going 1-2 in his last three fights, a loss would have sent him into obscurity in the light heavyweight division. Instead, he now has an impressive win that reminded analysts like Kenny Florian of Evans' impressive top game:

A powerful @SugaRashadEvans wins takedown battle & having felt Suga's top game before, worst place to be is on bottom against him. #ufc167

— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) November 17, 2013

For Sonnen, this is a devastating loss for any hopes he may have had of contending for a title. Although there's no shame in losing to a fighter as decorated as Evans, this one should send him far back in the pecking order at light heavyweight. 

Note: All statistics via FightMetric unless otherwise noted.