MMA Game Changers: Rashad Evans

nullIt’s easy to bring up the word game changer and think of one man in the light heavyweight division.

The obvious answer is current champion, Jon Jones.

But, while Jones still has a few questions to answer, one man that truly changed the landscape of the division is Rashad Evans.

The winner of Season 2 of the Ultimate Fighter, Evans is a fighter that puts together a unique combination of elite-level wrestling and devastating striking.

Evans more represents today’s growing crop of MMA stars than any other in the UFC, especially in the light heavyweight division.

Evans started as a wrestler, coming off a successful collegiate career at Michigan State University, but as he evolved in the UFC, he became one of the top knockout artists in the organization.

His head kick KO of Sean Salmon put Evans on the map, but his brutal right hand KO of Chuck Liddell back at UFC 88 is what truly signified a new time in the UFC.

Liddell was still considered one of the best in any weight class at that time and the loss to Evans is what really marked the beginning of the end to his legendary career.

Following the Liddell KO, Evans ran through Forrest Griffin and won the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, but he never successfully defended it, as he became too confident in his striking and was KO’d by Lyoto Machida.

Still, the loss to Machida made realize that Evans needed to go back to being a complex fighter and mix in more of his wrestling skills.

Since then he has beaten Thiago Silva and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

The beauty of what Evans does is he can out-wrestle the strikers and out-strike the wrestlers. Evans has the athleticism to make the fight go wherever he wants and that is what has made him so successful.

If there is a fighter that will eventually unseat Jones for the title, it is likely Evans.

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