Having not competed since Nov. 2013, Rashad Evans (19-4-1) nearly missed two full years of competition inside the Octagon. He was thrown to the wolves upon his return, as he needed to get past Ryan Bader (20-4) to get his comeback on the right path.
“Suga” fell well short.
Bader landed a leg kick early on, looking to slow down his opponent. “Darth” connected with two right hands and looked comfortable throwing kicks. Evans made Bader pay for a takedown attempt with a punch to the body and the head. Bader popped “Suga” with a jab. Evans caught Bader with a combination and searched for a takedown, but couldn’t find it. The story of round one was Bader being quicker and Evans’ timing looking off.
Bader caught Evans with a right hand and left hook in the beginning of round two. “Darth” connected with a side kick. Bader was able to take “Suga” down for a bit. Evans threw a big right hand, but his right eye was swelling so he had difficulty following up. Evans connected with a leg kick. Evans went for a takedown near the end of the round, but couldn’t complete it.
The final frame saw Bader land a left hook. “Darth” landed a nice body kick that was masked by a one-two. Bader popped Evans with an elbow on the break from clinch work. Bader completed a takedown, but Evans popped up quickly. The judges didn’t have much of a problem scoring this fight.
Final Result: Ryan Bader def. Rashad Evans via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)