Make no mistake about it, the palatable animosity exhibited between Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was very much the real thing, and not some manufactured hype. To put it simply, Evans and Jackson hate each other. While the emotions raged leading up to their fight this past Saturday at UFC 114, the one-sided dominance of Rashad Evans in the fight came as a bit of a shock to some.
Actually, to be fair, the shock was not so much in Evans dominance. Many, including myself, picked Evans to win the fight. After all, conventional wisdom dictated that one had to go with the better-rounded and arguably more serious fighter in Evans. For all of Jackson’s accolades in the sport of mixed martial arts it is hard to overlook the very real perception that “Rampage” simply got by purely on natural talent.
Saturday night Evan’s astute preparation to fighting played out like a dream as he gave Jackson fits with his speed, technique, and wrestling acumen. Evans pressed the fight throughout the contest, controlling the action in the clinch and giving Jackson little opportunity to get into his rhythm. Things got dicey in the third round when Jackson came alive, and peppered Evans with a flurry of strikes, but Evans was able to weather the storm and end the fight in dominating fashion.
Following the fight, Jackson attributed his losing performance to ring rust accumulated from his hiatus from the cage. Animosity still running high, Jackson has made it clear that he wants a rematch with Evans, but with Evans getting a shot at the light heavyweight title currently in possession by Mauricio Rua a rematch will have to wait.
UFC 114 Awards and Bonuses
Jason Brilz and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira were awarded matching $65,000 “Fight of the Night” bonuses for their slugfest on the main card which resulted in a disputed split decision in favor of Nogueria.
Mike Russow pocketed $65,000 for “Knockout of the Night” bonus following his improbably knockout of highly touted heavyweight prospect Todd Duffee.
Ryan Jensen was awarded a $65,000 “Submission of the Night” bonus for his first round guillotine choke of Jesse Forbes.
UFC 114 drew a sellout of 15,081 to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for a live gate of $3.895 million.