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Evans vs. Machida Official for UFC 98

(Dana White tries to convince Quinton Jackson to fight Rashad Evans at UFC 98, following Rampage’s decision win over Keith Jardine last Saturday. Video courtesy of WatchKalibRun via TheGarv.)

SportsIllustrated has confirmed that former UFC light-heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has turned down the opportunity to challenge Rashad Evans for the 205-pound title at UFC 98 (May 23rd, Las Vegas), due to the short turnaround and his lingering injuries. Taking his place will be Lyoto Machida, the undefeated — and virtually untouchable — Brazilian contender who most recently knocked out Thiago Silva at UFC 94 in January. Evans vs. Machida is the official main-event replacement for Mir vs. Lesnar, which was scrapped from the card thanks to Mir’s bum knee.

"Sugar" and "The Dragon" are very similar on paper. Both are undefeated in 14 professional fights — Evans is 13-0-1, while Machida is 14-0. Both have gone the distance in the majority of their UFC appearances, but are coming off of dramatic stoppage victories. And they have three opponents in common: Tito Ortiz (who Machida beat by unanimous decision last May and Evans drew with in 2007), Stephan Bonnar (who Machida won a cut-stoppage TKO over in 2003 and Evans beat via majority decision in 2006) and Sam Hoger (who Machida defeated by unanimous decision in 2007 and Evans took a split decision over in 2006).

Evans/Machida may not turn out to be Fight of the Year — we’re expecting more of a cautious and technical match than a thrilling one — but it’s also not the easiest fight to predict, which makes it compelling. Will Evans and the Team Jackson camp be able to come up with a gameplan that solves the confounding riddle of Lyoto Machida? Will Machida still look invincible against a true top-of-the-food chain light-heavyweight? 

Cagepotato Comments

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hugostyle- March 14, 2009 at 5:02 pm
Machida is great, but i have a chilling feeling that Sugar is powerful enough, quick enough and skilled enough to beat Lyoto. Rashad Evans in three...!!!!
sEAn- March 12, 2009 at 11:19 am
I'm not paying $50 to watch Machida... especially as a main event.
young blood millionaire- March 12, 2009 at 9:32 am
tell them to step to kelly pavlik or bernard hopkins prime roy was soft damn fast with his hands he just knock them out before they could think about taking them to the ground
Fedor a million ankles- March 12, 2009 at 8:37 am
Who the hell doesn't like Rashad's personality? Y'all are too white.

Anonymous- March 12, 2009 at 5:09 am
Machida is going to make Evans look like a rookie and will probobly take him to a 5 round decision with Evans running after him more and more each round.
PingPong- March 12, 2009 at 5:08 am
oops, I was responding to Hammtron...
PingPong- March 12, 2009 at 5:06 am

But LHW is the premier weight class, the champ is a big representative for the UFC, Chuck, Rampage, even Rashad all get thrust forwards to become the face of the org.

Talk shows, Entourage, bit parts in bad movies, can you see Machida doing that?
Tito's Massive Skull- March 11, 2009 at 8:48 pm
Evans better watch out, Machida is.......ELUSIVE.
TheWarsawExpress- March 11, 2009 at 8:34 pm
Machida and Evans have the lowest attacks absorbed per round rating in the LHW UFC. Machida better not let it go to the ground. Evans is clearly the stronger wrestler.

Evans would have to be stupid not to watch a few tapes of how Machida fights. I hope Evans can out wait Machida (though this will be boring). If Evans comes after Machida he might just pull a Thiago Silva.
hammtron- March 11, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Wiffa Cheeto Says:
Wed, 03/11/2009 - 14:54

It's gonna be rough for the UFC when the LHW champ doesn't speak english.

It doesn't seem to affect their middleweight champion...
dogmaticdiscordian- March 11, 2009 at 7:03 pm
Man I can't wait for this fight... as much I like Rampage, I wanted to see Machida fight both Rashad and Rampage, and this way it's possible he could get 5 round fights with both.
yup- March 11, 2009 at 4:57 pm
"I'm going to play a drinking game for this fight. Every time someone lands a strike, I'll take a drink. I might end up finishing off a whole beer."

Hmm maybe if you're lucky. You might have to take shots of liquor instead just to catch a buzz. They are both very good technical fighters, but it's gonna be a snoozefest.
just some dong- March 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm
holy shit, this is gonna be awesome. it think it'll come down to speed and technique. I give evans the edge in speed an machida the edge in technique. damn this is gonna be good!
Dex- March 11, 2009 at 4:01 pm
Wasn't that video part of Dana's blog?

Ample- March 11, 2009 at 3:11 pm
@ Anonymous

"I'm going to play a drinking game for this fight. Every time someone lands a strike, I'll take a drink. I might end up finishing off a whole beer."

But that one or two sips are gonna have to be big ass gulps cuse any of those punches landing wont be peppered shots
Ample- March 11, 2009 at 3:09 pm
This is good news.

Way to soon for Rampage to accept a title shot with Rashad. The fights are just simply to close together.

I think Lyoto Machida is gonna give Evans some problems and you know when Evans heard he was gonna fight Machida instead of Rampage he had to of been thinking "fuck....alright".

Evans wants to capitalize on a weirded out not quit back to his old self Rampage Jackson.

If Evans can keep his belt against Lyoto than he can talk all the shit twords Rampage he wants cuse by then Rampage will have had his time off to rest, heal and train. No excuses at that point.
Anonymous- March 11, 2009 at 3:04 pm
YEESSS for this fight happening
Wiffa Cheeto- March 11, 2009 at 2:54 pm
It's gonna be rough for the UFC when the LHW champ doesn't speak english.
Wandering Wade- March 11, 2009 at 2:44 pm
Ryu-I mean-Lyoto wins via world shocking knockout.
Anonymouse- March 11, 2009 at 2:40 pm
I'm going to play a drinking game for this fight. Every time someone lands a strike, I'll take a drink. I might end up finishing off a whole beer.
lilbigvince- March 11, 2009 at 2:37 pm
Lyoto will expose this imposter (evans). If only the entire jackson camp could get in the ring with rashad to help.

philibuster- March 11, 2009 at 2:33 pm
Through the power of the cosmos machida has been granted a title shot due to the ufc's inability to have a main event at 98. Machida will win by knockout again and will at least defend the belt 3 times being remembered as the greatest light heavyweight of this generation.
Im not a moose...- March 11, 2009 at 2:29 pm
First, let me say that I am a huuuuge Machida fan and I really don't like Rashad (because of his uber-cocky in-cage antics) HOWEVER, Lyoto better keep his chin down tight for 5 rounds. It gets me so nervous every time I watch him fight because of the way his chin is always straight up in the air... but he's never been ko'd, shit, I can't remember him ever getting hit with a real flush shot... so I guess I have nothign to worry about. Nevermind. I am dumb.
Ken Shamrock- March 11, 2009 at 2:03 pm
If I was Rashad I'd cut myself.
Strike Force Fan- March 11, 2009 at 1:58 pm
Strike Force Has a website it s at strikeforce dot com. Or just type strike force into google.