UFC 167: ST-PIERRE VS. HENDRICKS Date: November 16, 2013 Location: Las Vegas, NV Venue: Mandalay Bay Events Center Broadcast: Pay-per-view UFC Light Heavyweight Rashad Evans (-230) Profile: Former UFC light heavyweight champion and winner of The Ultimate Fighter 2, Rashad Evans (18-3-1) has been one of the more recognizable faces in the UFC over the last half decade. Evans is a true professional of the sport and helped pioneer the next level of MMA training alongside Keith Jardine at Jackson and Winklejohn’s gym in Alburqurque, New Mexico. He knocked out Forrest Griffin and Chuck Liddell and had a nearly spotless record before turning in lackluster performances against champion Jon Jones and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in his last two fights. It was former training partner Jones who caused a rift between him and Jackson, leading Evans to form the Blackzilians in Boca Raton, Florida with Tyrone Spong, Alistair Overeem and Vitor Belfort, just to name just a few. Evans has a dominating style of MMA wrestling to complement his ever-evolving striking. Rashad broke the first tw0-fight losing streak of his career by getting a split-decision win over the legendary Dan Henderson at UFC 161, in a fight he was losing early. Rashad has looked tentative in his last few fights, almost as if he’s lost his swagger. It must be said, he still is one of the most dangerous vets in the 205 division. Despite being slightly undersized for a light heavyweight at 5-foot-11, he is massively powerful, although his best days could already be behind him at the age of 33. UFC Light Heavyweight Chael Sonnen (+170) Profile: Chael Sonnen (28-13-1) has had a resurgence in his career at light heavyweight, so maybe being granted a title shot purely for calling out Jon Jones when Dan Henderson dropped out of their UFC 151 light heavyweight title fight was a good thing, despite Chael being a middleweight for years, and not brandishing a great record at 205. Chael is a trash talking ground and pounder. His tenacious and stifling wrestling is a shock to every fighter he has faced, despite it being his calling card. Chael doesn’t have the hardest punches, but he’s developed better striking and submissions, gaining submission wins in two out of three of his last victories. Despite being finished early by Anderson Silva and Jon Jones in the last year, Chael has decided to keep fighting, and he’s improved immensely. His domination of Shogun Rua at UFC Fight Night 26 was arguably the best performance of his career. Opening UFC Fight Night 32 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Evans a -230 favorite (bet $230 to win $100) while Sonnen opened as a +170 underdog (bet $100 to win $170) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Although Sonnen has been the more impressive fighter as of late, Evans is the more proven fighter at 205 pounds and is the rightful favorite heading into this bout. Since Evans’ wrestling is going to be comparable to Sonnen’s, the fight is likely going to turn into a grind similar to the Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping and Evans vs. Phil Davis fights. And at that point it may just come down to how the judges see it, as I predict this one is going the full three rounds and it’s going to be close.
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