(Yep, that’s Rashad Evans.)
Despite some of you suggesting that madman striker Houston Alexander should take on Chuck Liddell as a replacement for the injured Mauricio Rua — not a bad idea, and one we overlooked earlier — the UFC has gone with one of the safer options that we were expecting, booking Rashad Evans to face the Iceman. Sherdog confirmed last night that the undefeated Ultimate Fighter 2 winner will be meeting Chuck Liddell at UFC 85 on June 7th in London.
It seems like Evans was picked to fill-in because he’d be the least likely to make Liddell eat another loss. Chuck’s a banger, and if he stayed in the pocket with unpredictable brawlers like Alexander or Sokoudjou, he could easily catch a knockout punch. Thiago Silva would have been just as dangerous, as he’s a threat both standing and on the ground, and he’s won all but one of his fights by stoppage. But aside from the occasional head-kick, Rashad Evans sticks to takedowns and lay-and-pray, and it’s nothing that Chuck won’t be able to deal with. In fact, we see this one turning out a lot like UFC 82′s Arlovski/O’Brien farce.
I can’t imagine many people being psyched about this matchup. Evans has a reputation for dullness, and UFC fans aren’t going to want to see Liddell spend entire rounds on his back. And from a marketing perspective, it’ll be tough to sell — Rashad’s a much smaller name than Chuck, and there’s no personal rivalry between them. But it will give the Brits a chance to throw bottles at the man who edged out their beloved Michael Bisping in November. Let’s all hope for a quick and brutal knockout…