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UFC on FOX 2: Analyzing the performance of Rashad Evans against Phil Davis

Rashad Evans wins the UFC on FOX 2 main event and gets a title shot with UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones on April 17 in Atlanta.

I’ve been reading feedback from various places and the consensus seems to be that Rashad Evans had an ‘ok’ performance against Phil Davis last night. I came away pretty impressed with Evans with the only blemish being that he didn’t fully take advantage of a couple of positions in which he potentially could have put Davis away. It’s natural to see Evans perform against Davis and come up with the conclusion that he will lose to Jon Jones based on the way Jones has been performing in his career.

The thing I look for in a fighter is if they are improving every fight. I certainly saw a lot of improvements from Evans last night.

We no longer see Evans waving his hands around awkwardly while he’s trying to figure out his striking attacks. We now see a calm Evans with ‘quiet hands’ that moves fluidly in and out of range to get his strikes off. There is no more pawing with his jab. He has replaced that with a stiff jab, which stopped Phil Davis in his tracks a couple of times last night. We no longer see Evans shooting for takedowns and then just laying in the guard of his opponent while he’s about gassed after two rounds. We saw Evans fighting with more of a strategy against Phil Davis. It’s common knowledge that Davis prefers to kick more so than strike with his hands, so Evans was prepared for that by catching those kicks and transitioning into takedowns. He also worked to move to dominant positions while being able to go 25 minutes at a decent pace. He has definitely improved a ton over the last two years.

I felt that Evans could have taken advantage of the crucifix positions he was able to obtain on Davis. I thought he should have gone to short elbows instead of punches. However, it may have been difficult for him to maintain that position against the larger Davis. I also think Evans was cautious to really go for the finish knowing that it was a five round fight. That’s really the only criticism I have of his performance last night.

I’m not going  to get too far into it, but I do believe that Rashad Evans has the tools to beat Jon Jones. I could list some examples of it here, but then I’d be stealing thunder from my preview that I’ll write prior to their fight at UFC 145 in Atlanta. 

What are your thoughts on the performance of Rashad Evans against Phil Davis?

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