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Rashad Evans draws submission specialist Gabriel Checco in return from retirement at Eagle FC 44

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans has finally booked an opponent for his return from retirement as he clashes with submission specialist Gabriel Checco at the upcoming Eagle FC 44 event on Jan. 28 in Miami.

Eagle FC officials announced the pairing on Thursday.

Evans will be competing for the first time in nearly four years after calling it a career following five consecutive losses to end his run with the UFC. After retiring in 2018, Evans worked as a coach and analyst before finally deciding to fight again while teasing a possible crossover into boxing while pursuing a matchup against YouTuber Logan Paul.

While that fight never materialized, Evans still had the itch to compete again and now he’ll join Eagle FC, which is owned and operated by former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Prior to the losses that precipitated his retirement, Evans was widely considered one of the best 205-pound fighters of all time with a string of impressive victories including notable wins over Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Michael Bisping and Forrest Griffin.

As for Checco, the Brazilian light heavyweight will look for the biggest win of his career when he faces Evans in January.

Checco has spent a lot of time in recent years competing in grappling competitions where he holds submission wins over names such as Austin Vanderford, Jake Ellenberger and Philip Rowe.

He has fought in regional promotions such as LFA as well while taking on fighters such as Jordan Wright and Jake Collier as well.

Evans vs. Checco is the latest addition to the growing Eagle FC 44 card, which will be headlined by heavyweights Tyrone Spong and Sergei Kharitonov with the event streamed live over the FLX app from the new FLX arena.