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UFC 133 Fight Card: The Curious Case of Rashad Evans

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a child born with the appearance of a 70-year-old man who ages in reverse. Rashad Evans was not born with an elderly appearance, nor does he grow younger with every passing year. In fact, the Rashad Evans story has little relation to this Fitzgerald tale. Instead, Evans' journey, his quest after an elusive title shot reminds me of another Fitzgerald classic -- Jay Gatsby's eternal longing for the green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan's dock in the Great Gatsby.

Like the Gatsby novel, the past two years of Evans' life has been characterized by betrayal and bad timing, by great success and miserable failure, by personal injury, by an overwhelming obsession with the American Dream.

I assume you're as sick of this pretentious lead as I am, so let's start from the beginning. It was a time when Kimbo Slice ruled our televisions screens...

  • Quinton Jackson "retires" from MMA (9/22/2009) – The debut episode of The Ultimate Fighter 10 had aired less than a week ago when Quinton Jackson takes to his personal blog to announce his retirement from MMA. Jackson, obligated to promotional duties for the A-Team movie, flushes thirteen weeks of hype down the drain. The UFC quickly re-books Evans for UFC 108 against Thiago Silva.
  • Rashad Evans defeats Thiago by unanimous decision at UFC 108 (1/2/2010) – Injuries and pullouts plague UFC 108. (Sound familiar?) Anderson Silva is scheduled to defend his middleweight belt against Vitor Belfort, but the champion's elbow surgery prevents him from fighting. Brock Lesnar's title fight against Shane Carwin is rescheduled for this card after he pulls out of UFC 106, but his diverticulitis diagnosis keeps him out of action until the summer. Cain Velasquez and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira are slotted in the main event until Nogueira comes down with a staph infection. Left as the de facto main event, Evans defeats Silva in a lackluster fight both in the cage and at the box office. Estimates have UFC 108 drawing around 300,000 buys.
  • Mauricio Rua defeats Lyoto Machida for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 113 (5/8/2010)
  • Rashad Evans defeats Quinton Jackson by unanimous decision at UFC 114 (5/29/2010) – Good things come to those who wait. Evans wins a unanimous decision over a returning Jackson, earning over one million PPV buys and a title shot against "Shogun" in the process.
  • Mauricio Rua undergoes knee surgery (6/10/2010) – Rather than stay active in the interim, Evans chooses to wait for "Shogun" to recover. The UFC reschedules the bout for March 19, 2011, at UFC 128.
  • Jon Jones defeats Ryan Bader at UFC 126, offered title shot (2/5/2011) – Joe Rogan interviews Jon Jones following the latter's victory and offers two revelations. First, Rashad Evans is injured and out of his title fight against "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128. Second, that the UFC wants to offer that title shot to Jones. Jones accepts.
  • Jon Jones says he would fight Rashad Evans if Dana White expected it (3/3/2011)
  • Jon Jones defeats Mauricio Rua for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 128 (3/19/2011) – After the fight, Evans steps into the cage to accept a fight against Jones. In a cageside interview with Ariel Helwani, Evans announces "[he's] done" at Greg Jackson's. 
  • Phil Davis steps in for "injured" Jon Jones at UFC 133 (4/25/2011) – Tentatively schedule for UFC 133, Jones pulls out of the fight against Evans due to a lingering hand injury that requires surgery.
  • Jon Jones announces his injury does not require surgery (5/13/2011) – With Evans locked into his August date, Jones reveals that a last-minute opinion advises that he not undergo surgery. The UFC eventually schedules him to defend his title against "Rampage" Jackson in September.
  • Tito Ortiz defeats Ryan Bader at UFC 132 (7/2/2011)
  • Phil Davis pulls out of UFC 133 with injury, Lyoto Machida accepts and turns down fight (7/12/2011) – With Davis out, UFC President Dana White thinks he has a replacement in Lyoto Machida. Rashad Evans begins putting together preparations for Machida, who ultimately turns down the bout. Dana White later reveals that Machida asked for "Anderson Silva money."
  • Tito Ortiz steps in for Phil Davis at UFC 133 (7/13/2011) – Ortiz accepts the rematch against Evans less than two weeks from UFC 132 and less than four weeks from UFC 133. Evans and Ortiz fought to a draw way back at UFC 73


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