Not many people suffered more from Rampage Jackson’s retirement and Dana White’s big mouth more than Rashad Evans. Evans will miss out on a boatload of money and a chance at biggest UFC fight of the year. Nobody benefits more than Thiago Silva. Silva will now step in and fight Evans at UFC 108.
This is a huge comedown for Evans. In just three The Ultimate Fighter episodes alone, Evans vs. Rampage is the most anticipated fight in UFC. The natural tension between the coaches has created the ultimate TUF rivalry. Chances are good that this coaching rivalry would easily shatter numbers of past coaching matchups. Not since Shamrock-Ortiz have two coaches had as much natural chemistry against one another than Evans and Jackson.
This isn’t the first time that Dana White and The Ultimate Fighter have had to wait out a coaching match. Matt Serra and Matt Hughes also had great chemistry as coaching rivals on TUF season 6. The rivalry on the show promoted great anticipation for their match. Unfortunately, Serra had to pull out of the fight due to a herniated disk. It was almost two years before the fight actually took place. By that time, the fighters were in different places and the air was out of the balloon. Dana White doesn’t want to see this happen again.
Evans was faced with the choice of waiting out Rampage or fighting again. Evans last fight was a terrible loss to Lyoto Machida in May. Sitting out an entire year at the hope that Rampage would reconsider, does nobody any good. Evans needs to capitalize on his current TUF fame and nobody knows that more than Dana White. Evans will now fight in January at UFC 108 against top light heavyweight contender Thiago Silva.
This is a very dangerous match for Evans. It is entirely conceivable that Evans would get a title rematch against Lyoto Machida with his next win. There is no real system in UFC when it comes to title rematches. Some guys get them with one win while some guys need two or three wins. It was presumed that the winner of Evans-Jackson would get an immediate title shot, so I presume the same is true here. Silva is the most dangerous guy in the division in my opinion for Evans and quite honestly, I am surprised he took the match.
Evans was on cruise control in UFC up until the Machida fight. Nobody dominated Evans in UFC like Machida did. Silva is almost like a chameleon of Machida. Both have strong BJJ games with tremendous speed. Silva was on a 10-fight win streak until he was knocked out by Machida last year. Thiago Silva is no joke. Silva does prefer to strike which plays better into Evan’s style than Machida did. Rashad reportedly turned down a fight with Randy Couture. I give Rashad credit because Couture would have been the much easier fight. The road to Machida may have just gotten a lot longer with this match.
A Silva win would not be in the best interest of UFC. I still think the knockout is fresh in people’s minds and casual MMA fans don’t necessarily take Silva seriously. In my opinion, the Rua-Machida match has very little buzz and is looking like a big disappointment at this point. It is very hard for UFC to promote fights with two Brazilian fighters. For some reason or another, they don’t catch on like they do when an American is involved. It is entirely possible that Lyoto Machida becomes the most dominate champion in UFC and the least marketable champion if this continues.
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