At 15-1-1, Rashad Evans is considered an elite talent in the UFC. He has held the Light Heavyweight Belt, albeit in the weird time frame where he and Forrest Griffin somehow reigned supreme in the division.
But when it comes to selling a main event, Evans is easily the worst. I'm not sure why the UFC keeps throwing this guy on us like the blanket he is, but it's not doing them (or us) any favors.
UFC 114 was supposed to be a great night of fights. After a boatload of decisions and a restless crowd, the main event was supposed to come through with high-profile fighters like Evans and Rampage Jackson.
It was the worst main event since...hmmm...when was it? Oh, that's right—Evans' last fight, against Thiago Silva at UFC 108.
Now I'm not taking the win away from Evans by any stretch. He beat Rampage straight up and employed a proper game plan. But regardless, it isn't main event material.
Evans has only ever really had one exciting fight against good competition: his knockout against Chuck Liddell—and it's generous to call Liddell good competition these days.
In the past he's had finishes against B-level fighters, but as a main event fighter I don't see how he can sell the card. The only reason people will tune in to a Rashad Evans fight is to see his opponent. This time it was Rampage; next time it will be Shogun.
Other than landing one right hand to Rampage's jaw in the first minute of action, Rashad really did nothing but hug on to Jackson and hold on for dear life until the final bell. He knew he was completely outmatched if the two were to exchange standing, and that was evident when he was stunned by Page in the last round.
How Rampage didn't finish the fight has fans' minds boggled.
Regardless, if the UFC wants to market a card, it might be a good idea to leave "Evans versus ______" out of the title.
Aside from the title shot against Rua later this year, I can't really see how people will want to tune in to watch what they saw on Saturday.
As an undercard fighter or gatekeeper, Rashad is all right, but if the UFC wants people to fork over 60 bucks for a fight card, leave him out of the main event.
I'm all for the technical aspects of fighting and the ground game, no doubt. But stalling an opponent intentionally to try to squeeze out a gross decision win is not what I want to pay to see.
UFC 114 was probably the biggest letdown of the year so far, rivaled only by UFC 108 earlier this year.
Credit him for the win against Rampage, but don't be surprised to tune in for another Rashad Evans snooze-fest in the future.