UFC 133 Recap: Rashad Evans’ sweet return

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The main event at UFC 133 was four years in the making. The last time we saw Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans face each other in the Octagon was back in UFC 73 which we all know ended in a draw due to Tito losing a point for grabbing the cage fence. Much has changed since 2007 and now in 2011, two completely different competitors step into the cage. One man looking for another shot at the light heavyweight title, the other a legend trying to stay relevant in today’s MMA landscape.

Rashad in the beginning of the first round showcased some spectacular striking abilities while Tito didn’t look uncomfortable exchanging a few punches of his own. Ortiz managed to get himself the takedown late into the round but was unable to control Evans’ hips. Rashad eventually got back to his feet and with The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’s back against the cage, Evans made best use of the striking tips he learned from the likes of Tyrone Spong and Cosmo Alexandre. After a barrage of heavy and accurate punches, Rashad attempted a takedown, and slams Tito right on his side. With Sugar in dominate position, he unloads some heavy punches. Tito manages to weather the storm and continues on to the 2nd round.

In the following round Rashad once again showcases his superior striking, and then attempts to go back to his wrestling roots, and takedown Ortiz. But while attempting this takedown, Tito Ortiz tries to submit Evans with a guillotine choke. Rashad escapes, demonstrates his ground game, but in the process almost gets caught in a leg lock attempted by Tito. While struggling on the ground, Rashad gets back to his feet, throws a big knee to the solar plexus, and finishes off Ortiz with some ground and pound.

Questions after seeing Evans vs. Ortiz II:

-Who would give Rashad Evans a more difficult fight, Jon Jones or Quinton Jackson?

-Will Tito fight again and if he loses will he get cut?

-What are some flaws in Rashad’s game that need to be improved before challenging for a title?

Notes and more questions from UFC 133:

-With more K-1 caliber strikers working with MMA camps, I think it’s safe to say more fighters will be hiring real world class kickboxers and muay thai fighters.

Vitor Belfort showed us glimpses of ‘old’ Vitor against Yoshihiro Akiyama. With the Japanese-Korean losing three straight, we might have seen the last of Sexyama in the UFC. However, don’t expect him to remain jobless as a fighter for long. The Judo black belt really is a mega star in Japan and DREAM would most definitely love to have him back. Or he can continue his blossoming music, television, and modeling career. Either way, his life is pretty good.

Brian Ebersole beat the veteran Dennis Hallman in devastating fashion in the first round and even got a special bonus from UFC president Dana White for “getting those horrible shorts off of TV”. This was probably one of the most bizarre and entertaining moments in our sport’s history. Ebersole always comes to his fights with his trademark ‘hairrow’ while Dennis Hallman surprised the world with his purple banana hammock. Something we haven’t seen since the old Vale Tudo days of legendary Chute Boxe fighter Pale Landi.

-Jorge Rivera vs. Costantinos Philippou was a fairly entertaining bout with Philippou who took the fight on short notice surprising everyone with the unanimous decision victory.

Rory MacDonald once again showed fight fans why he is one of the top new comers on the main stage with an exclamation mark victory over Mike Pyle. The MMA community in my home province of British Columbia, Canada have known for many years of Rory’s talents and now the world is beginning to recognize his potential. I’m very curious to know who the UFC matches him up against next; I’d really like to see him test his abilities against maybe a Jon Fitch in the near future.

Lowkick.com UFC 133 main card awards:

Fight of the night – I personally believe the fight between Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans was full of exciting action.

Performance of the night – Rashad Evans tonight showed that he is new and improved. It looks like his new camp at Imperial MMA is taking his game to the next level.

Finish of the night – Vitor Belfort’s destruction of Yoshihiro Akiyama was awesome, but I thought Rashad Evans’ knee to the chest that dropped Tito Ortiz was just spectacular.

Disappointment of the night – I have to give this award to Sexyama. His attempt to throw a Steven Seagal special front kick didn’t work in his favour and eventually lead to his demise in the fight against Vitor Belfort. I’d also like to mention, that even though Akiyama is a hell of a brawler, trading punches with Vitor Belfort is just not smart, and he needed a much better game plan.

Further Reading: Rashad Evans would love to teach Jon Jones a lesson

Photo: Rashad Evans during UFC 108 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on January 2, 2010, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Francis Specker