Rashad Evans is a tough match-up for anybody at this point.
He is a very well rounded MMA fighter, whose skills were on full display with his unanimous decision victory over Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 114 on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Evans is known for his exceptional wrestling game, which he used to control Jackson this past weekend. However, Evans is not all ground game.
He also has very good stand up, and a lot of fighters don't overlook it or they end up forgetting what just happened.
Breaking 'Em Down
Evans is 15-1-1 in his MMA career, with the majority of his victories coming as decision wins (eight). This can be credited to his superior wrestling ability.
He also has five TKO wins under his belt, so one can't underestimate any part of Evans' game.
Evans used all of his abilities to beat Jackson at UFC 114, and earned a shot at Mauricio "Shogun" Rua for the light heavyweight title.
This is going to be a very good fight, but in my opinion, I think this is Evans' fight to lose.
Rua is 19-4-0 in his MMA career, but many think he's been a disappointment since coming to the UFC from Pride.
A lot of that disappointment flew out the window after he brutally knocked out Lyoto Machida, who many people thought was untouchable.
Rua has 16 wins by way of knockout or technical knockout. This is scary to think about if your lining up across from Shogun in any event.
I think Shogun does have a good shot at retaining his belt, but Evans has the best chance of beating him.
The edge in the stand up game has to go to Rua.
Evans does have good stand up, but you can't compete with 16 TKOs.
Evans' stand up is almost always a set up for a takedown attempt, which I expect him to utilize a lot against Rua.
Shogun is also a fairly good counter striker, which plays as a strength against an aggressor but I don't think I would call Evans an aggressor in this match up.
The edge in the ground department goes to Evans.
His takedowns are relentless, and a tired Rua will be on his back a lot in the later rounds of this fight.
I know that Rua went the distance with Lyoto Machida, but that was an all stand up chess match. Being on your back is a lot more tiring than being on your feet all night.
The X-Factor in this fight has the be the wave of momentum these two fighters are on. Both are extremely confident after their impressive wins over top guys in the division.
The question is, who's wave is going to crash first?
In my opinion, Rua's will.
Evans is going to control this entire fight with his great ground game and his cage management.
Look for flurries of punches into takedown combos from Evans in hopes of tiring Rua.
Shogun will look to stuff and counter Evans' takedown attempts. He has a mean clinch game, and could definitely hurt Evans with big knees from the clinch.
Although Shogun is very good on his feet, I question his toughness on the ground, and whether or not he can take the exhaustion.
I give this fight to Evans via fourth-, or fifth-round TKO.
Either way this is going to be a great fight, and the winner will deserve to be the light heavyweight champion.
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