UFC on Fox: Rashad Evans dominates Phil Davis to earn title shot
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship light-heavyweight titleholder knew he would get another crack at the belt he used to hold with a win over Phil Davis. And in front of his adopted home crowd, Evans came through.
Evans dominated the scorecards to win a five-round unanimous decision at the UFC's debut at the United Center in Chicago in a nationally televised card on Fox. With the win, Evans moves on to a title fight against former friend and training partner Jon Jones on April 21 in Atlanta.
"I'm excited because this was the fight to get the monkey off my back -- and it was hard to keep focused on this fight with everyone talking about the other fight," Evans said. "Phil Davis definitely brought it, and now that I've won I get a chance to fight Jon –- and I'll get excited about it."
A Michigan State wrestling product who has lived in Chicago the last three years, Evans was able to stuff most of the takedown attempts of Davis, who won a national title at Penn State in 2008. Evans had questioned Davis' wrestling credentials earlier in the week, calling his technique "trash," and he wound up getting most of the fight's takedowns and controlled the standup game en route to a 50-45 sweep of the judges' scorecards.
"I fought at a pretty high pace," Evans said. "I wanted to put him away, but I just didn't get a chance to do it. I'm kind of disappointed about that."
In the co-main event, further title implications were settled in the UFC's middleweight division when Chael Sonnen earned his highly anticipated rematch with Anderson Silva, the consensus No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
In a close fight, Sonnen, a former Division I All-American wrestler at Oregon, outpointed former "Ultimate Fighter" winner Michael Bisping, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.
Sonnen advances to a middleweight title shot against Silva that the UFC has said is likely to take place in June in a soccer stadium in Silva's home country of Brazil.
On the preliminary card, Mike Russow, a police officer in Chicago's 3rd District, won his heavyweight fight against John-Olav Einemo by displaying dominant control on top for a unanimous decision.
Russow kept his UFC record spotless by employing a game plan that was perhaps surprising given Einemo's jiu-jitsu credentials. Earlier in the week, Russow said he had been working his boxing, hoping to keep the fight on the feet and away from Einemo's submissions.
"I'm really surprised by the total amount of time we spent on the mat," Russow said after the fight. "I was really looking to keep it on the feet and to box him as much as possible. I can’t believe I’m 4-0 in the UFC right now –- it’s unbelievable."
--Matt Erickson, reporting from Chicago
Photo: Former UFC champion Rashad Evans. Credit: UFC