The main event of the UFC on Fox 2: "Evans vs. Davis" event taking place tonight (Sat., Jan. 28, 2012) at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, featured a light heavyweight showdown with a title shot against Jon Jones on the line ... kind of.
If Rashad Evans could emerge victorious, he would move on to UFC 145 on April 21 in Atlanta, Georgia, to square off against his former teammate and training partner. If Phil Davis won, he wasn't promised the same but his name would certainly be in the discussion.
As it turns out, "Suga" Rashad is an elite 205-pound fighter and "Mr. Wonderful" is not. Or at least he's not on the same high level as Evans, who took home the unanimous decision victory by scores of 50-45 across the board.
He earned it. His cardio held up well, he showed a strong striking game, his wrestling was on point and he was never once in danger. A fitting opponent for "Bones" Jones, me thinks.
Davis came out early looking to land a few low leg kicks to take Evans' feet out from underneath him. It's a sound strategy, really, seeing as it makes it far more difficult for "Suga" to get away from takedown attempts later on.
The problem, of course, is that Evans was ready for this strategy and played solid defense. It was obvious that Evans was the superior striker and he showed that in the few exchanges.
The first takedown of the fight came about three and a half minutes in when Rashad caught a leg kick and sent Phil crashing to the mat with a trip. It wasn't long after that Evans attained a mounted crucifix and started landing shots. Davis started bucking like fish out of water, understanding the terrible position he was in. He got out of it, too, but came up bloody.
Score one for Rashad.
Not much going in the second frame, as Davis mostly stayed on the outside to utilize his big reach advantage. He looked for more kicks, be they high or low. Rashad was ready for all of the above and avoided any real danger. When he wanted to, in fact, he unleashed his lethal hands, which were far faster than anything "Mr. Wonderful" could handle.
The final seconds of the round ticked away shortly after Evans earned a takedown and delivered a bit more pitter-patter ground-n-pound.
Score two for Rashad.
You can imagine how round three went, though Davis finally scored some points of his own with a late takedown. He couldn't keep Evans down, however, and likely had his offense voided by what Rashad was able to do early, which was continuing controlling the fight.
Closer this time but score another for Rashad and the fight. Unless Davis could come back to earn a finish in the final two frames.
By the time the fourth round was over, the punches and takedowns were coming in slow motion from both fighters. 20 minutes strong inside the cage doing battle is a long time to stay fresh and neither guy was able to maintain that level of fitness. We are talking about light heavyweights here.
It was at this point, too, that reports started hitting Twitter that a lot of fans were leaving the United Center because they didn't enjoy the fight. That tells you a whole lot about how this thing looked from the word go.
Rashad caught another kick in the early parts of the final frame and used it to unload some shots on Davis, who was so utterly gassed and out of it that it put him on the mat. This was the end, though it was over long before it.
One thing became quite clear very early: Rashad Evans is miles ahead of Phil Davis in the fight game.
Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans at UFC 145 on April 21 in Atlanta, Georgia, for the light heavyweight championship. Get ready, y'all; it's coming.