The quickest way to a man’s heart is to drive your knee through his sternum. (Pic: UFC.com)
Admit it: for a moment last night, you believed. After surviving a first round that saw him battered against the cage and dumped to the canvas “Country Breakfast” style, it looked like “
The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” “The People’s Champion”, for the second time in five weeks, would pull off the improbable upset via guillotine. But aside from those few electrifying seconds, Tito Ortiz was never in that bout. Rashad’s hands, Rashad’s speed, Rashad’s everything seemed too much for Tito.
Evans showed no signs of ring rust as he went for the kill throughout the fight. Following this decisive victory he now finds himself in the exact same position he’s been in for well over a year: staring at a potential title fight in the manner a mule eyes a carrot dangling just out of reach. From what I saw last night, he’s as ready as one can be to challenge Jon Jones should he get past Rampage next month. Rashad has a history of excessively-delayed bouts with both men. Let’s pray that the winner of that bout emerges healthy and ready to defend his belt sooner rather than later.
There should be no dogging Ortiz today. He took this fight on the heels of his victory at UFC 132 against a man who by all rights should have been fighting for the title. He could have taken several months to recover and rebuild, likely squaring off against a much easier opponent when the time was right, but he took a chance at reviving his career while salvaging the main event fight from the brink of cancellation. His gamble didn’t pay off, but he did Zuffa and the fans a solid and I don’t expect his neck to be near the chopping block win or lose in the immediate future.
Let me be the first to say that I was not impressed by Vitor Belfort last night. The truth is that there’s very little “The Phenom” can do to even raise my eyebrows. Blazing hand speed and a quick knock out are what I’ve come to expect from Belfort ever since his UFC debut against Tre Telligman. In my mind when he delivers he’s merely living up to the promise he’s always shown; these lofty expectations only leave room for bitter disappointment when he fails to meet them. Vitor has the physical tools and killer instinct to take out just about any man on any given night, but despite his pleas he won’t be getting the next shot at Middleweight gold. If he wants another taste of the title he’s going to need more than a few quick knock outs (he already has enough of those to last a lifetime). What Vitor needs now is the one thing his game has always lacked- consistency. Old Vitor, New Vitor, call yourself what you will, just stick around for awhile and put people on blast. That’s a Belfort that would impress me.
In a night full of quick fights, there was still plenty of time to be disappointed. Hallman’s trunks–a generous description–left little to the imagination. Dana White told Ariel Helwani that similar briefs will be outlawed in the future. At the close of their bout, Ivan Menjivar ran away from Nick Pace and ran away with the unanimous decision. I haven’t rewatched the fight so I won’t call it a bad decision, but I expect there to be some debate about the outcome. An injury to Jose Aldo delayed undefeated featherweight Chad Mendes‘s shot at the title, and now a broken hand may delay that bout even further. Let’s hope it’s just a sprain from throwing too many “surfs up” signs over at Team Alpha Male.
Full Results, via MMAWeekly.com:
Main Bouts (On Pay-Per-View):
-Rashad Evans def. Tito Ortiz by TKO at 4:48, R2
-Vitor Belfort def. Yoshihiro Akiyama by KO at 1:52, R1
-Brian Ebersole def. Dennis Hallman by TKO at 4:28, R1
-Costas Philippou def. Jorge Rivera by splite decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
-Rory MacDonald def. Mike Pyle by TKO at 3:54, R1
Preliminary Bouts (On Spike TV):
-Alexander Gustafsson def. Matt Hamill by TKO at 3:34, R2
-Chad Mendes def. Rani Yahya by unanimous decision (30-27 on all cards)
Preliminary Bouts (On Facebook):
-Ivan Menjivar def. Nick Pace by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
-Johny Hendricks def. Mike Pierce by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
-Mike Brown def. Nam Phan by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
-Rafael ‘Sapo’ Natal def. Paul Bradley by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Chris Colemon (@ChrisColemon)