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Rashad Evans Wins UFC 114 Grudge Match Over Rampage Jackson

Rashad EvansLAS VEGAS – Rashad Evans finished what he started.

Igniting the spark that led to a wild rivalry with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson 14 months ago, Evans had some thinking he bit off more than he could chew. But in a battle of former light heavyweight champions, Evans outworked Jackson with a perfect brew of power striking, clinchwork and takedowns to outpoint him on the way to a unanimous decision win at UFC 114.

Jackson came into the fight as a favorite both on betting lines and with the fans, who roared at every image of Jackson and went to a full howl upon his introduction. But Jackson couldn't really got his offense started until the third round, and by then Evans was in firm control. After withstanding a furious Jackson charge in the third, Evans reasserted his will and closed out the contest in command.

The final scores were 30-27, 29-28, 30-27.

"It's a huge relief," Evans said afterward. "Me and Quinton put on a good show."

"This fight is going to haunt me," added a disappointed Jackson.

Evans surprised onlookers from just after the opening bell, landing his first strike, a powerful overhand right that sent Jackson reeling sideways and against the cage. Time and again, Evans capitalized when Jackson was against the fence, clinching him and gambling that the work would pay off later due to his conditioning.

Despite going from 251 pounds to 205 pounds in eight weeks, Jackson never faded, but his timing was off on his strikes, and he later admitted it was likely due to being rusty after the 14-month layoff.

He did make one late charge in the third though, dropping Evans with an uppercut against the fence. Jackson tried desperately to finish his disoriented opponent, but Evans recovered and closed out the round strong with two takedowns and strong groundwork of his own.

"I'm very surprised he recovered from that," Jackson said afterward. "I put all my eggs in that basket and it didn't work. I guess ring rust is a factor."

Jackson also asked for a rematch, though the winner was promised a title shot, meaning Evans will go on to face Mauricio "Shogun" Rua later this year. In the post-fight press conference, Evans said he came out of the fight injury-free, meaning the UFC will likely go to work to put the match together in short order and he can move past this all-encompassing feud.

"I'm happy I don't have to answer questions about Rampage anymore," a beaming Evans said.

In the co-main event, British middleweight Michael Bisping rebounded from his UFC 110 loss by outlasting the tough New Jersey fighter Dan Miller in a unanimous decision.

Though Miller came in with a wrestling pedigree, he only attempted two takedowns over the course of the 15-minute fight, landing one. The result was a kickboxing-heavy fight that favored Bisping's speed and accuracy.

Miller fought a very close first round until Bisping asserted himself from the early moments of the second. After landing a hard right, his varied attack had Miller off-balance and bloodied from the nose and near the eye.

"Dan Miller is a great guy with some great skills," Bisping said. "He'll go on to a fantastic MMA career. He's tough. I hit him with some big right hands and he was still right there."

Undefeated British welterweight prospect John Hathaway earned the biggest win of his young career, upsetting Diego Sanchez in a lopsided decision.

Hathaway took Sanchez's favorite weapon – the takedown – out of his arsenal, and the former No. 1 lightweight contender had a rough time in the standup against the reach advantage of Hathaway.

Hathaway set the tone of the fight early by knocking Sanchez down with a knee as Sanchez shot in for a takedown. He nearly finished it there but the durable Sanchez weathered the storm. Still, Hathaway's long jab and right hand found their targets repeatedly, bloodying his opponent's face.

Todd Duffee came into the event as one of the must-watch young heavyweights in MMA, and after two-and-a-half rounds of dominance, it seemed the praise was well-deserved. But on his way to seemingly certain victory, he was derailed by a stunning reversal of fortune.

Mike Russow authored one of the most stunning comeback knockouts in recent memory, rebounding from a two-round deficit with a pair of back-to-back right hands that knocked out the surging Duffee.

Duffee seemed to be in cruise control, gliding to a unanimous decision while avoiding Russow's wrestling and takedown game. Scoring with jabs and right hands from distance, Duffee easily captured both of the first two rounds, and was on his way to taking the third in the same fashion before fates quickly changed.

While one young prospect prospered, another floundered.

Russow stepped into an overhand right that landed on the chin. Duffee was already falling backwards as Russow caught him with a follow-up right. Duffee crashed to the mat unconscious for the sudden KO. Amazingly, Russow fought much of the bout with a broken arm after blocking a Nogueira kick, it was reported by the UFC in explaining Russow's absence from the post-fight press conference.

In the most controversial fight of the evening, top 10 light-heavyweight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira avoided a major upset, with the judges handing him a disputed split decision win.


Brilz seemed to control both of the first two rounds with his takedowns and groundwork while Nogueira captured the third in desperation mode. The vast majority of what appeared to be a pro-Nogueira crowd felt Brilz won the fight, but when the decision was read, Nogueira got the nod.

The fight was essentially decided by the pivotal first, which judges Tony Weeks and Marcos Rosales both scored for Nogueira.

The crowd drowned out Nogueira's post-fight comments booing the seeming injustice, though Brilz took it in stride.

"First off, don't boo this guy, he's one heckuva fighter," Brilz said. "Don't boo him. I left it to the decision of the judges. It is what it is, but I had a good performance, and that's what the whole plan was."

On the first fight of the Spike portion of the broadcast, Efrain Escudero defeated Dan Lauzon by unanimous decision, getting the judges' nod by identical scores of 29-27.

Escudero controlled the entire fight with clinchwork that featured a steady diet of knees to the body. He also outstruck Lauzon en route to the win. The odd score came as the result of a point that was deducted for a third-round low blow.

Dong Hyun-Kim followed that with an equally dominant performance, staying unbeaten with a systematic unanimous decision over Amir Sadollah.

Kim (13-0-1) took Sadollah down seemingly at will, and while he wasn't able to finish the fight, he rarely gave up position and scored with well-timed elbows and strikes from the top. Sadollah was never really able to get any offense going until the final moments of the 15-minute fight, when he landed his first power combo of the night.

Sadollah fell to 3-2 with the loss.

In the prelims, Ryan Jensen needed just 1:06 to finish Jesse Forbes via guillotine submission, Aaron Riley outworked Joe Brammer to earn a unanimous decision, Cyrille Diabate KO'd Luiz Cane to win his promotional debut, and Melvin Guillard made it four of his last five, scoring a first-round knockout of Waylon Lowe.
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