Evans outlasts Rampage to win UFC grudge match
AP Sports Writer
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Rashad Evans dominated the first two rounds and survived Rampage Jackson’s vicious third-round flurry to win their light heavyweight bout by unanimous decision at UFC 114 on Saturday night.
Evans got the final word in his long-simmering feud with Jackson by taking charge of their bout with a big overhand right in the opening minute. Except for one rally by budding movie star Jackson, Evans controlled the action at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in the UFC’s hometown.
“I was hurt for a little bit, but that’s what happens sometimes,” Evans said. “I’m not going to give up, no matter what.”
Evans is expected to get a shot at UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in his next bout.
Jackson, who will appear in the big-screen version of “The A-Team” when it opens next month started slowly in his first bout since March 2009. He nearly stopped Evans with a third-round shot that dropped Evans to his back.
Evans survived and even landed one last takedown before winning 30-27 on two judges’ scorecards and 29-28 on a third.
“I was very surprised that he recovered from that,” Jackson said. “I put all my energy into that. I guess ring rust is a factor. … I gave it my best. I want a rematch.”
The rivals finally shook hands and slapped each other on the back after the bout.
The fight punctuated a protracted feud between Evans and Jackson, who coached against each other on the UFC’s reality television show. They were scheduled to meet last December, but Jackson postponed the bout to continue work as B.A. Baracus in “The A-Team.”
Evans and Jackson have sparred verbally for the past year, leaving little doubt they genuinely can’t stand each other. Evans apparently irked Jackson many years ago by asking to train together, while Evans said Jackson perpetuates negative stereotypes of black athletes.
The fighters’ staredown was more intense than several bouts on the undercard, with Jackson staring motionlessly into Evans’ eyes. But Evans landed the first big shot, an overhand right that stumbled Jackson against the cage in the opening minute.
Evans then made a rough takedown midway through the round, but Jackson replied with several solid punches. Jackson made his rally in the third, getting Evans on his back, but couldn’t finish.