LAS VEGAS – Rashad Evans had gotten away from his dominating wrestling of late, favoring his speed and power in the exciting knockouts of Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin. Following his devastating knockout loss at the hands of Lyoto Machida, some fans wondered if Evans would revert back to wrestling in this bout against the heavy-handed Thiago Silva.
That is exactly what he did in a dominating effort through the first two and a half rounds against the the very tough brazilian. Evans used his speed and superior wrestling to control the fight, taking Silva down countless times during the first two frames of the bout.
Silva managed to work back to his feet each time he was taken down, but was unable to mount any tangible offense until late in the third round after calling out Evans to man up and come forward for a war. Silva taunted Evans with his hands down by his waste and motioning with both hands for Evans to come forward, in an attempt to bait the former light heavyweight champion into a stand up battle.
Silva finally got inside to throw some hands, wobbling Evans with a huge right hand, instantly putting Evans into deep water as he staggered backward toward the cage trying to survive the coming onslaught that never really materialized.
Silva stalked Evans, but was nearly out of gas late into the fight and couldn’t close the deal, backing off after throwing all he had left. The lull in the offense from Silva gave Evans the time he needed to recover with little more than a minute left to go in the fight.
The clock ran out on Silva’s comeback and the fight went to the judges, with all three scoring the fight 29-28 for Rashad Evans.
When asked how hurt he was after eating the big right hand, Evans admitted that he was stunned.
“I didn’t realize how hard it was till I tried to take a step back,” Evans said. “Then I was like, where’s my legs at?”
Gilbert Yvel and Junior Dos Santos were the co-main event for tonight’s UFC 108 event, but Dana White moved them up to the first fight to kick off the PPV in an attempt to get the show started with some fast action. The decision was a good one as both guys came out looking to drop bombs.
Just two minutes into the fight, with both guys looking to stay in the pocket and trade, it was Dos Santos that connected with a big left hand that flash K.O.’d Yvel on his way to the ground.
Once there, Dos Santos followed up with a series of punches to the downed Yvel forcing Herb Dean to step in and stop the action.
The win was very impressive and moves “Cigano” one step closer to a title shot in the UFC’s Heavyweight division. Dos Santos now 10-1 and 4-0 in the UFC, believes that not only is he closer to a title shot, but that he is in fact at the top of the list after this win.
“On the top I think,” Dos Santos said. “I love this, I love being a fighter, I love this place, I love you guys, this is my home.”
Hazelett tastes some “Semtex”, KO’d by Daley
Daley’s power was no secret coming into this one. It was a match up that could go either way depending on whether the fight stayed on the feet, or went to the ground.
Hazelett tried to use his feet to control the distance, but just as his corner screamed “Dustin you need to move”, he stepped into range landing a stiff jab that Daley countered with a huge and explosive left hook early into the first round that dropped Hazelett.
Daley followed Hazelett to the ground for a few more left hands, but it was over as soon as “Semtex” connected behind Hazelett’s ear with the left hook. Some may be a bit surprised that Hazelett stood up with Daley up to that point, but “Semtex” was not.
“I wasn’t surprised at all that he chose to stand with me,” Daley said. “Dustin’s a great guy, a great fighter and he knew he had to start standing with me, all fights start standing so I wasn’t surprised at all.”
Joe Lauzon dominated by Sam Stout
Joe Lauzon came back over three months early following a devastating knee injury and started with a fury in his bout against the dangerous striker Sam Stout.
Lauzon immediately came out, shot in, locked up a body lock and took Stout to the ground. Lauzon used some big elbows to open up the face of Stout before transitioning to a rolling kimura attempt.
Stout eventually worked out of the submission attempt and worked back to his feet, then dominated the rest of the fight en route to a dominating unanimous decision victory.
Stout used a vicious combination of kicks and punches much of the rest of the fight and stuffed most of Lauzon’s efforts to get the fight back to the ground.
Lauzon got one more shot at a comeback attempt late in the final round, finally getting Stout to the ground and transitioning to full mount. It was short lived however as Lauzon went high going for a guillotine, missing his opportunity to steal the fight, giving Stout just enough room to escape and scramble back to his feet.
Jim Miller “bangs” then submits Duane Ludwig
Jim Miller brought his always frenetic pace into the Octagon and showed an improved stand up game against Duane “Bang” Ludwig landing crisp punch/kick combinations. Miller landed a short right hook that dropped Ludwig, and once it hit the ground, Miller quickly transitioned to full mount.
Ludwig scrambled to reverse position but left an arm hanging out there that Miller quickly locked up for the fight ending arm bar, forcing Ludwig to tap at 2:31 seconds of the first round.
Miller is known for his ground game, but it was his stand up game against the very dangerous Duane Ludwig that setup the finish for Miller.
“You know I just train and try to get better everyday,” Said Miller. “I been working on my striking everyday.”