Rashad Evans is back.
After a long 14-month layoff, Evans fought off a submission attempt and scored a TKO victory over Tito Ortiz at 4:48 of the second round at UFC 133.
"I talk a lot of stuff, I'm a big believer in ring rust. Rashad (expletive) my theory up a little bit tonight." said UFC President Dana White at the post-fight press conference. "He didn't look rusty at all, he looked great."
The first round started with both guys trading and much like their first encounter at UFC 73, Ortiz tried to use his wrestling to control the former Michigan State wrestler. Evans was ready for it.
Evans fought off the takedown attempt and used the fence to push himself back to his feet. That was when Evans turned it on. He scored a few big punches and got Ortiz on his back to finish the opening five minutes.
In the second round, Ortiz countered a takedown attempt into a guillotine choke. As Ortiz was squeezing away, having a de ja vu moment from his victory over Ryan Bader, one that happened only a month ago, Evans got out of it and got inside control.
"The worst thing you could do in that choke is pull out and what I did was move forward so that way, I wasn't in any real danger of being choked." said Evans.
How much time is left in Tito Ortiz's MMA career?
With the win, Evans has solidified himself as the top contender for the UFC light heavyweight championship. Evans made clear to everyone on what his intentions are, for either current champ Jon "Bones" Jones or Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
"I want my belt back. Whether (Jones) has it or Rampage has it, I'm getting my belt back." Evans said to Joe Rogan in the octagon.
With the loss, Ortiz has now lost four of his last five bouts, dating back to the first Evans-Ortiz encounter. Ortiz insists that this was merely a setback and that his career was far from over.
"I wanna fight before the year is over, for sure," said Ortiz. "I'm gonna take about a month off, go on vacation, enjoy my family, enjoy my businesses, then get back in the gym and hop on that horse again man. I'm young still, I just turned 36, I still got a lot of fight left in me."
Do you think Vitor Belfort deserves another title shot?
He made a believer out of the capacity crowd in Philadelphia. After a bit of trading, Belfort closed the distance on Akiyama and landed two left hooks, which rocked the Japanese sensation.
Belfort smelled blood in the water and quickly finished Akiyama at 1:52 of the first round.
"That was vintage Vitor Belfort there," said UFC commentator Joe Rogan, seconds after the fight finished.
Belfort was pleased with his performance, one that earned him the "Knockout of the Night" bonus. At the post-fight press conference, Belfort talked about his title aspirations.
"If Anderson (Silva) woudn't throw that kick, this (knockout) would've happened to him. He knows that, it's on his mind so I'm ready for what's next," said Belfort. "I would like to fight the winner of (Yushin) Okami (and) Anderson (Silva)."
"Fight of the Night" went to Evans and Ortiz while no "Submission of the Night" bonus was awarded, as no submission finishes took place.
There was, however, one more fight bonus given out by Dana White. Brian Ebersole earned $70,000 for "getting (Dennis Hallman's) horrifying shorts off TV."
Hallman came sporting a blue banana hammock, scarring almost every male fan in attendance. If you could believe it, the ring girls left more to the imagination than Hallman did. Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre's ring attire would leave more to the imagination.
I'm getting off topic but to summarize, reading around the web, you could tell that every journalist writing about this event (including myself) is in agreement with Dana White. Hallman's gear was on TV for 10 minutes too long.
"I'm a bit surprised he tried to beat me at my own game, the humour, the showmanship and all that," said Ebersole. "I know he's been around a long time, I haven't seen him do anything like that."
White made a small comment on Hallman's "gear."
"I don't know what that was," said White. "I've seen speedos before, that had to be a custom made...I don't even know what that was but (Ebersole) deserved every dime of the $70,000 that he made tonight."
Ebersole was just as guilty of a fashion crime, however, as Ebersole came in with his chest hair shaved in the shape of an arrow pointing to his head.
The fight was mainly contested on the ground with Ebersole getting top position. After escaping a Hallman guillotine attempt, Ebersole threw some nasty elbows and Hallman went limp. Ebersole took the TKO victory at 4:28 of the first round.
In the middle of the round, Hallman had Ebersole's back. Ebersole humorously commented on the "suggestive" situation.
"I was just worried about that cup, and worrying about his uniform malfunctioning, to be quite honest," said Ebersole.
The other main card fights saw Constantinos Philippou defeat Jorge Rivera via split decision and Canadian Rory MacDonald score a first-round TKO victory over Mike Pyle.