This weekend at UFC 133 former light heavyweight champion “Suga” Rashad Evans will make his long anticipated return to the cage against another former champion in the recently resergant Tito Ortiz. This will be Evans first fight in the UFC without long time coach/friend/mentor/personal Jesus Greg Jackson. During the Jackson era, Evans found a lot of success adding some knockout power to his wrestling base, but after being KO’d by a better and more technical striker in Lyoto Machida, Evans decided to go back to his roots and focus on his wrestling. He was successful, albeit much less entertaining. It also brought up some interesting questions on his ability to keep his opponents on their backs. Both Rampage and Thiago Silva where able to get up almost instantly after being put on their backs by Evans. Rather than employ some ground and pound or work for submissions Evans was forced to take them down repeatedly. Which was confusing considering Evans is a better wrestler than both Thiago Silva and Rampage Jackson. Adding fuel to that fire, there where reports that Evans was just awarded his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu prior to his fight with Silva. When asked about his change in style, Evans would just say he was returning to his wrestling roots because he’s a wrestler and thats what wrestlers do. Wrestle.
The truth is that Evans style of wrestling has never quite matched up with the kind of wrestling you need to enforce a steady dose of ground and pound. He’s always relied more on his athleticism and speed rather than technique and top control (he’s more Kevin Randalman than Jon Fitch). Evans needs to figure out if he’s going to use his wrestling offensively or defensively. Does he want to be Jon Fitch or Chuck Liddell? Even though Im not an expert (and would never claim to be one) I think his style of wrestling is better suited for defensive wrestling. His speed and the power in his hands gives him a huge advantage, especially when he cant be taken down. This makes the fact that he’s training with world class kickboxers and Muay Thai practitioners all the more intriguing. Especially since his footwork has always been the bane of his stand up. A Rashad Evans with solid striking technique is a scary thing. He’s one of the most physically gifted light heavyweights in MMA. Im hoping the change in training camps and the time off has given Evans time to find himself as an MMA fighter.Dont forget to stop by my blog, get my visitors count above 3 lol www.NothingElseMMAtters.com