Rashad Evans survived a third-round knockdown, then delivered a strong finish to seal his unanimous decision victory over fellow former light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on Saturday in the main event of UFC 114.
The long-awaited grudge match, which capped off the pay-per-view event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, was nearly over in the opening seconds as Evans stunned Jackson with an early overhand right and followed it up with more punches. “Rampage” survived the flurry, but dropped the round as Evans scored a powerful takedown and used his speed to stay out of danger.
In the second, Evans again pressured to take the fight to the ground, but the pair instead spent much of the frame battling in the clinch, and it was Evan’s aggressiveness and evasiveness that earned him another round.
Early in the third and final round, Jackson finally connected with his knockout power as he dropped Evans with a punch and followed it up with a flurry, but Evans survived, returned to his feet, and outworked “Rampage” over the final minutes to earn the unanimous decision victory with scores of 30-27, 29-28, and 30-27.
Evans, now 15-1-1, earns another shot at the 205-pound title currently held by Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, while Jackson falls to 30-8 in his first bout in more than a year.
In the UFC 114 co-headliner, middleweight Michael Bisping outpointed Dan Miller in a striking battle, snapping a two-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision win.
Highly touted heavyweight prospect Todd Duffee picked apart Mike Russow with punches over two-and-a-half round before the dominant showing came to an aprupt end, as Russow scored a one-punch, come-from-behind KO that knocked Duffee out cold.
Also on the UFC 114 main card, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira claimed a controversial split decision over replacement Jason Brilz following a back-and-forth battle, while John Hathaway remained unbeaten by spoiling Diego Sanchez’s return to welterweight with an impressive unanimous decision win.
In featured preliminary card action, Dong Hyun Kim grappled his way to a unanimous decision over Amir Sadollah, while Efrain Escidero scored a unanimous decision over Dan Lauzon
The official UFC 114 results were:
MAIN CARD (PPV)
- Rashad Evans def. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
- Michael Bisping def. Dan Miller via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Mike Russow def. Todd Duffee via KO (punch) – Round 3, 2:35
- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Jason Brilz via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- John Hathaway def. Diego Sanchez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
- Dong Hyun Kim def. Amir Sadollah via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Efrain Escudero def. Dan Lauzon via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
- Melvin Guillard def. Waylon Lowe via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:28
- Cyrille Diabate def. Luiz Cane via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:13
- Aaron Riley def. Joe Brammer via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Ryan Jensen def. Jesse Forbes via submission (guillotine) – Round 1, 1:06
Pictured: Rashad Evans