Evans’ win sets up UFC 145 bout against Jones
CHICAGO – Title shots were on the line Saturday in Chicago, and the two fighters being looked at to come through to set up highly anticipated grudge matches came through.
Rashad Evans swept Phil Davis in a five-round main event at UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis at the United Center, taking a 50-45 unanimous decision on all three scorecards, and moved on to a light heavyweight title fight against Jon Jones at UFC 145 in Atlanta in April.
And in the co-main event, Chael Sonnen took a unanimous decision from Michael Bisping to advance to a middleweight title rematch against champion Anderson Silva. That fight is expected to take place this summer in Brazil, Silva's home country – likely in a soccer stadium in Sao Paulo.
Sonnen had been the star of the show all week, stealing headlines from the main event with his brand of self promotion. After his win, he said he still doesn't believe Silva will agree to rematch against him. Silva won their first meeting at UFC 117 in August 2010 with a Hail Mary fifth-round armbar-triangle choke after Sonnen had dominated the first four rounds.
"I know I'll do my part. Do I think he'll sign to fight? No, I don't. We'll see. I've been wrong before," Sonnen said at the post-fight press conference. "They've offered him the fight four times, and he's said no four times. Mysteriously, he's supposed to accept on the fifth? I've heard of 'Third time's the charm,' I've never heard of 'Fifth time's the charm.' I have never backed down, and I never will. If he wants to fight or is willing to, I'll do my part. I talk like this to get off the topic of Anderson and talk about real men like Michael Bisping and not some guy who's hiding in Brazil."
And Evans was able to avoid most of Davis' takedown attempts and dominated the majority of the standup game, cruising to a five-round sweep that moved him on to what could become the most anticipated grudge match in MMA history against his former friend and training partner, Jones.
"I'm excited because this was the fight to get the monkey off my back – and it was hard to keep focused on this fight with everyone talking about the other fight," Evans said. "Phil Davis definitely brought it, and now that I've won I get a chance to fight Jon – and I'll get excited about it."
The third fight on the "tripleheader" broadcast on Fox was a split decision win for Chris Weidman over Demian Maia. Weidman took the fight on just 10 days notice after Maia's original opponent, Bisping, was moved up to face Sonnen when Mark Munoz dropped off the card with an injury.