If You Aren’t A UFC Fan, Rampage Vs Rashad Will Convert You
Over the past few years, the UFC has been growing exponentially and widening its fan base. Still, there are many that simply have not gotten into the sport as of yet. If you are looking for a reason to become a fan of the UFC, we’ve got the fight for you. It has all of the elements which make a good fight: drama, humor, controversy and two athletes that are polar opposites. Oh yeah, did I mention that these two can fight their a*ses off?
Hopefully, the fight is equal to the actual hype as many will be tuning in to see what happens when Quinton “Rampage” Jackson takes on “Suga” Rashad Evans at UFC 114 this Saturday in a matchup sure to have a huge impact on their futures in the light heavyweight division. But who will come out victorious in this heavily hyped bout? They have talked all they could possibly talk, now it is time for their skills to speak for them.
With the winner getting a light heavyweight title shot against the recently crowned Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, the stakes have been raised even higher than they were before. Ultimately, this fight boils down to two things: Rashad’s strategy and in what shape Rampage comes in.
Don’t be fooled by Rashad Evans’s punching power. He did knock out Chuck Liddell in extraordinary fashion and TKOed Forrest Griffin to claim the light heavyweight title back in 2008, but Evans is far from a slugger. Of his 14 wins, only 5 have come by KO or TKO. Griffin has been known to have a fragile jaw and Liddell could have been considered a shell of his former self when Rashad’s perfectly placed overhand right came crashing into his face. Standing and trading with a proven striker like Rampage will surely have Evans counting sheep before the first round ends. Rampage has a nasty habit of trying to takedown larger opponents. His wrestling credentials are solid, but he’ll have to find a way to not telegraph his shots like he has done in the past. That being said, Evans will need to move around the cage and force Rampage into making a mistake. Rampage is also a sucker for leg kicks, as evidenced by Forrest Griffin taking the wheels out from under him in July of 2008. Griffin is the quicker fighter and must have a sound game plan in place in order to upend Jackson.
The biggest concern for Jackson is what kind of shape he will be in. He hasn’t fought since March of ’09 when he defeated Keith Jardine in a performance that was considered rather underwhelming. In his downtime, he often balloons in weight and after shooting the movie The A-Team, I’m not quite sure how difficult it will be for Rampage to get back down to the 205lbs weight limit. A dramatic weight cut could take a massive toll on his conditioning and if he spends a lot of time chasing Evans around the cage, Rampage could be sucking air by the second round. He also despises training, even though he says he has been training harder than ever for this fight. The great equalizer is Jackson’s monster right hand. He throws it as if he wants to punch a hole through his opponent. We all saw Evans catch some Z’s when Lyoto Machida clobbered him to rip away his title. Jackson will surely be looking to do the same. His wrestling is also nothing to sneeze at. Jackson has all the tools to beat Rashad, it’s just a matter of if he’s able put them all to use.
Do I see this fight going three rounds? No. There’s too much hate for them to allow this fight to go the distance. The longer it goes, the better off Evans should be. A tired Rampage will be extremely open and available for Evans to take advantage of. But if Jackson’s mitts connect, it will be a wrap.
My prediction: Rashad Evans will fight smart and get a TKO stoppage late in the 2nd round due to strikes.