UFC on FOX 2 Recap: Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen punch their tickets for title fights

In the days leading up to UFC on FOX 2 the level of trash talk between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis became elevated, Chael Sonnen’s self promotion reached new levels, Michael Bisping was, well, Michael Bisping and Demian Maia and Chris Weidman lurked in the background. By the time the three main card fights had come to an end it felt like the hype had been much more interesting than the fights themselves.

Rashad Evans did deliver what he said he would in the days leading up to the fight, he showed that his MMA wrestling was superior to that of Phil Davis, but he did so in a defensive manner, letting Davis come to him and countering. Yes, it got Evans the win and in the end that’s the name of the game, but the performance was a bit of a letdown as this was not the Rashad Evans we have come to expect.

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Questions after seeing Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis:

-How will the Rashad Evans of tonight fare against Jon JonesJon Jones will have more of a height and reach advantage over Rashad Evans than Phil Davis did and he won’t be as tentative and unsure of his striking as Davis was. Jones will be confident and will come after Evans from odd angles and with many more weapons that Davis did tonight. If Evans attempts to use the same style used on Saturday night, it’s very doubtful that he will have the same amount of success.

-What does Phil Davis have to work on? Phil Davis is a very good fighter, not great. He’s young and developing and has holes in his game. His leg kicks are pretty good, but his punches need work as does his MMA wrestling. He needs to use to take his solid collegiate wrestling base and adapt it to the cage. Against lesser opponents he’ll do fine with the skills he has, but the elite and experienced fighters are much more well rounded and will negate his advantages, much in the way that Rashad Evans did tonight. Davis should not look at this fight as a lost opportunity, instead he should use it as a learning experience, something to use to improve.

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Questions Following UFC on FOX 2:

-What did the casual fan think of the fights? The hardcore fight fan may have walked away thinking the three main card fights lacked the excitement of some of the preliminary card fights. It’s easy to imagine a newer viewer, perhaps tuning in for the first time thinking, “what’s the big deal?”  Hopefully the casual viewer will give the sport we all know and love another shot.

-Was Michael Bisping that good or was Chael Sonnen that bad? The odds said that Michael Bisping had little chance in this fight, but he did give Sonnen a bit of a struggle. It’s hard to imagine the Chael Sonnen that fought tonight giving Anderson Silva any problems in their rematch, he just did not look like the same fighter we saw in his past two fights.

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-Does Demian Maia have to go back to his strength? As of late there has been a great deal of praise for the growth of Demian Maia’s striking skills, but at what cost? Tonight it seemed as if he was solely focused on establishing himself as a striker, totally forgetting that he has one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu bases in the middleweight division. Why he didn’t utilize his biggest weapon against Chris Weidman is something to ponder.

Further Reading: UFC on FOX 2 Wrap-Up and Bonuses

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