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Talking Heads: Should Dana White not push Rashad Evans in the UFC because of his boring fight style?

By Zach Arnold | June 5, 2010

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Heads just exploded with that question even being brought up. However, the Yahoo Sports team brought that up and also brought up the initial odds released for a fight between Rashad Evans and Mauricio Shogun. Shogun is a -250 favorite, which is pretty close to where I initially predicted the odds would be for the fight. (For the record, I said Shogun would be a -300 favorite.)

There’s that debate, along with whether or not Quinton Jackson is interested in a match with Lyoto Machida or if he would be interested in a ‘safer’ fight with Forrest Griffin that would draw better business more than likely.

STEVE COFIELD: “It looks like Evans is going to get Mauricio Shogun Rua, that was promised to him. No reason he wouldn’t get it. What do you think of that and I’m seeing early odds, offshore, at minus 250 for Rua.”

KEVIN IOLE: “Yeah, I find that really hard to believe that Shogun would be a 2-to-1 favorite, better than a 2-to-1 favorite. I mean, to my way of thinking Steve, I mean this is a 7-to-5, 8-to-5 type of fight. You know I think Shogun deserves to be the favorite, certainly but you know I think that is way too big of a number.”

STEVE COFIELD: “OK. How do you think the fight will play out?”

KEVIN IOLE: “You know, I think it’s going to be an interesting fight. Evans’ wrestling is going to be playing a big factor in this. Certainly Shogun’s Muay Thai skills are going to be also a factor. I think the speed and quickness of Evans is a factor just like it was against Rampage Jackson. I will lean, as we stand right now, toward Rashad Evans to win the fight. But this is one of the ones, again, that you know I think we have to see them in camp, spend a little time you know and I reserve the right to change my mind but talking to me now in the early weeks of June, just a couple of days after Rashad fought Rampage, you know I would lean toward Rashad.”

STEVE COFIELD: “I’ve had some people on Twitter griping endlessly about Evans and his fight style, saying that that’s not a guy that Dana White should be pushing. Is that a little too harsh?”

KEVIN IOLE: “Well, I mean, you know I think that those are people that are not fans of the moving defensive style that Evans, you know, uses. I mean, you know I’ve got a lot of criticism in some quarters for my post-fight column after UFC 114 where I said that I didn’t think the main event delivered and people said, well that’s exactly what everybody thought Rashad would do and I agreed, that’s what I thought he would do, too. But that doesn’t mean it’s the most exciting style and it’s backing up the trash talk, but I think you it’s too much to say hey, you know, you shouldn’t promote this guy if just because he fights a certain style. You know what? It’s up to the opponent to make him adjust and you know in the case of UFC 114, where was Rampage? Rampage had a chance for 15 minutes to do something about it and he really didn’t. They’re been guys who have gotten their hands on Rashad Evans before… Rampage just wasn’t able to hit him, so you know what, I don’t buy that. I think it’s one of those things that you know that’s the same thing in combat sports, it’s a game of adjustments and it’s a game of styles and you know people are going to have to adjust to the style that Evans uses.”

STEVE COFIELD: “The other impression out of the post-fight, and again, Rampage is one of thse guys I mean literally it’s day-to-day he changes. He may love UFC today, tomorrow he says [expletive] them and I love the movies and now he’s going on this movie tour. What do you think the future holds for him? Because clearly he gets it. He can’t do both at the same time and especially be great as a fighter.”

KEVIN IOLE: “I’m starting to wonder if he has a long future as a fighter. Quinton’s never really loved to train, Steve, I mean he’s been a guy that you know has gotten by on natural talent and sort of you know he was just a big, strong guy and he had a lot of ability and he would just he was like a grizzly bear, he would just overwhelm you and you know right now it’s like you know he’s getting to be a bigger, slower less-threatening grizzly bear. You know, maybe he’s instead of one you run into the wild one you run into in the zoo. And you know there are a lot of less threatening, I think, I’ve never climbed over one of their cages but you know I think Quinton is just not the same, you know he doesn’t have the same hunger and the fight game is one you know you really have to want to fight and if you don’t have same hunger and that same drive and that same push, you know. We saw him and he kept talking during the preview show Primetime about how hard he was training but when you looked at his face his face always had that fleshy, big look to it. … So I wonder, I wasn’t there every day in camp, but you know you wonder how hard he was pushing himself and even if he did increase the amount that he worked, you know that just talks about what he was doing in the past, he hasn’t doing enough. You know, so, I don’t think Quinton is really going to be around a heck of a long time.”

STEVE COFIELD: “So with that sense of urgency, if he does choose fighting and get back to it full time, you would think he’ll want Machida. How do you think he does in that fight if he gets Machida?”

KEVIN IOLE: “Personally I think Machida would be a big favorite and would win the fight. You know I saw the Rashad fight and I don’t see Machida being any easier for Rampage to catch than Rashad was. Certainly, you know Rampage would have the ability to knock Machida out and if he caught him you know I think he would be able to knock him out because I think he’s a harder puncher than Shogun, but having said that you know I think that Quinton’s going to have the same trouble. You know, Machida’s going to be very elusive, he’s going to use multiple weapons whereas Rampage is going to have one weapon you know right there and that’s going to be it. And you know that in today’s UFC and today’s sport of MMA, unless you’re much much much better physically than the other guy and in this case he would not be, you don’t win.”

STEVE COFIELD: “So I seen that our Dave Meltzer was saying, you know Machida and Jackson is not exactly set in stone, maybe Little Nog (Antonio Rogerio Nogueira) would slip in there and fight Jackson. Is there a possibility that Dana White goes with the philosophy, hey I’ve got two marketable guys here in Machida and Jackson, let’s let them repair their image, build them back up, give them a fight against someone lesser and then maybe they fight down the road?”

KEVIN IOLE: “Well, part of the reason Joe Silva’s a good matchmaker is he can take a look and see what styles mesh together well because there’s certain styles that mesh and certain that don’t. I think Little Nog and Rampage would be a more action fight. … You know I think that you wouldn’t get people booing because they would be throwing at each other. You know a Machida fight would be a more tactical fight, so I certainly think that there’s something to that. You know Joe Silva, you know, is very astute when it comes to looking and kind of projecting how guys are going to fight each other. You know, sometimes you get surprised but Joe’s usually pretty good at that and if he does go and decide, hey I want to have a more fan-friendly fight, I think he would go in the direction of Rampage and Nog as opposed to Machida and Rampage.”

STEVE COFIELD: “Now the only pothole there is if Rampage has already some motivational issues and was saying you know with Evans he didn’t even think he should fight Evans. Is he going to get fired up and bring his best for Little Nog?”

KEVIN IOLE: “Yeah, I mean, that’s obviously an issue and I know he wants to fight Forrest in the worst way, you know he wants to avenge. There’s a number of guys who would like to get their hands on Forrest. You know, I think Rampage wouldn’t mind fighting Forrest and you know that’s another possibility if Forrest comes off that surgery and is OK then you know they maybe they match Rampage with him, give Rampage what he wants and give him a change to avenge the loss.”

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 8 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

8 Responses to “Talking Heads: Should Dana White not push Rashad Evans in the UFC because of his boring fight style?”

  1. Jason Bennett says:

    Rashad has a long way to go before he reaches Jon Fitch level of boring-ness. That guy could put an arena full of ADD 2nd graders to sleep.

    Rashad v. Machida is a close fight, a near pick-em based on who gets their gameplan executed more clearly. If Machida can withstand Coleman’s incredible wrestling and cardio, he should be able to handle Rashad’s dazzling fence-pushing extravaganza.

    If Forrest can escape a Rogerio matchup, then a Quinton Jackson fight would make more sense and be better for business. Let Roger fight Brandon Vera or Ryan Bader. Or else who can Quinton fight that makes sense? Mike Patt?

    • Bob says:

      You mean Rashad and Shogun, right?

      The last two times we’ve seen the wall and stall, it was good for 2 solid rounds, and in the 3rd something happened. No telling what the 4th and 5th rounds (if it lasts that long) will bring when facing Shogun.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    Fighters should be pushed due to accomplishments.

    Rashad Evans vs. Mauricio Rua
    Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin
    Antonio Rogerio Noguiera vs. Ryan Bader
    Lyoto Machida vs. Rich Franklin 2
    Thiago Silva vs. Jon Jones

    This should be the line-up for the LHW division coming up. Assuming Franklin wins next weekend and Jones beats Vlady.

  3. EJ says:

    You know the funniest thing I find about the UFC 114 post ppv coverage is what happened at the end of the Main Event. You remember that Rampage was the big favorite with the crowd and Evans was booed heavily all weekend right. But you know what happened at the end of the night after he was announced the winner?, he got a great ovation from all of those same people.

    See the thing is Rashad if anything made himself more fans with his great gamplan and top notch performance in that fight. Something that funny enough alot of the mma media hasn’t talked about instead we get idiotic nonsense like Rashad is boring when he isn’t. This is my problem with alot of the talking heads, they seem to be living in their own little world and excaping reality.

  4. Black Dog says:

    I always thought the goal of any combat sport was to WIN THE FIGHT. How it looks is secondary, unless you’re talking pro wrestling.

    I understand the UFC and the others want entertaining fights, but that leads to a long-term weakening of any promotion if you put fighters who are “entertaining” in front of guys who may not be quite so “entertaining,” but win in convincing fashion.

    Guess I’m in the minority, but when I watch PPVs, or any of this, I want to know I’m watching the best matches that could have been made, not matches with a bunch of moderately talented showboats.

    • Mr.Roadblock says:

      I want to see fighting when I watch UFC.

      I want to see two guys trying to execute a gameplan to win. And if the fight goes into the later rounds adapting their gameplan to win.

      I don’t want to see one guy do barely more than the other guy to win a judge’s decision. Maybe some people get off on that. I don’t.

      That’s also why I haven’t watched a TKD match in years or a wrestling match since the last olympics. I have a background and appreciation for both sports. But I can’t stand point fighting. I don’t watch it.

      MMA is becoming point fighting. GSP and Silva have ruined two divisions. A guy like Rashad could make it three.

  5. EJ says:

    A win by decision counts just as much as a win by KO or sub, if you impose your will on the other guy and he can’t do anything about it he wins the fight.

    Saying that mma is turning into point fighting ignores one simple fact that if a fight goes to the limit there has to be a winner and you do that by the person who did the most.

    Also saying that GSP the best fighter in the sport has ruined his division is incredibly ignorant. The guy time in and time out shows why mma is such a great sport by being the single most well prepared fighter that there is.

    Rashad would be very smart to learn from him and do the same in the deepest division in all of mma, there is a difference between fighting and being reckless and fighting smart which every great fighter does.

  6. Mr. Roadblock says:

    You know, EJ, if that’s what works for you then fine. Enjoy it.

    GSP vs Alves is the only GSP fight I’ve enjoyed since he beat Serra.

    I used to be a big fan of his.

    Not sure if you watch boxing or not. But if you did I guess you must have been a John Ruiz fan.


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