It certainly wasn't the war fans were expecting.
After all the hype and trash talk, Quinton (Rampage) Jackson and Rashad (Sugar) Evans engaged in a lacklustre contest at UFC 114.
For much of the bout, Evans (15-1-1) used his speed and wrestling to control Jackson (30-8). Only seconds in, he connected with an overhand right that sent Jackson reeling into the fence. However, large portions of the fight simply saw Evans neutralizing Jackson by pressing him against the cage. As they entered the second round, Jackson still hadn't found his striking range and had no answer for Evansí clinch work.
Things came alive in the third after Jackson dropped Evans and looked to finish. However, Jackson was unable to get the job done. When the two returned to their feet, Jackson didn't pull the trigger, allowing a wobbly Evans the opportunity to regain his composure. Soon after, Evans exploded for a takedown and dealt out some ground-and-pound of his own to steal the round.
All three judges awarded the decision to Evans, earning him a shot at newly crowned UFC light-heavyweight champion Mauricio (Shogun) Rua.
A date has yet to be set for the title fight.
BISPING RETURNS TO THE WIN COLUMN
In a subpar co-main event, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Dan Miller opted to stand and trade with Michael (The Count) Bisping. What resulted was 15 minutes of Bisping (19-3) having his way with Miller (11-4), who only attempted to take the fight to ground towards the end of the bout.
Bisping tagged Miller with some very stiff punches, but was unable to stop him dead in his tracks.
After three rounds of fighting, the judges awarded the unanimous decision to Bisping. This marks Miller's third loss in a row.
LI'L NOG EARNS CONTROVERSIAL DECISION
Though it was a close fight, there was no doubt as far as the fans in attendance were concerned -- Antonio Rogerio (Minotoro) Nogueira lost to late replacement Jason (The Hitman) Brilz.
Brilz (18-3-1), who stepped in for the injured Forrest Griffin, impressed many by going toe-to-toe with Nogueira (19-3) both in the stand-up and ground exchanges.
The first round was easily the closest of the bout and the one fans will argue over. Brilz scored a couple of solid takedowns and was able to keep top control. To Nogueira's credit, he executed some nice sweeps from the bottom and was more effective in the stand-up exchanges, delivering stiff knees and a series of straight-lefts.
Brilz took over in the second, catching Nogueira in a tight guillotine choke that would have forced most to tap. Nogueira fought his way out, but Brilz continued his onslaught, wobbling him with a flurry late in the round.
As they entered the final frame, Brilz appeared tired and Nogueira was able to avoid most of the takedown attempts. Nogueira also clearly outstruck Brilz and at one point worked for a D'Arce choke.
It was close, but two judges scored the bout for Nogueira, which was met with a chorus of boos.
RUSSOW STUNS DUFFEE
In a huge comeback win, Mike Russow knocked out Todd Duffee after taking over 10 minutes of punishment.
Duffee (6-1) teed off early, but simply couldn't put the big man down. The bout then slowed to a snail's pace, with Russow (13-1) missing all his takedown attempts and Duffee connecting with uppercuts.
Duffee seemed to have the fight in the bag, but Russow landed a massive right, knocking him out cold.
FIGHT NIGHT BONUS MONEY
For their back-forth battle, Nogueira and Brilz were awarded "Fight of the Night" honours. Russow secured "Knockout of the Night" for his victory over Duffee and Ryan Jensen's guillotine choke on Jesse Forbes earned him "Submission of the Night."
All fighters netted an additional $65,000 for their efforts.
FULL UFC 114 RESULTS
- Rashad Evans def. Quinton Jackson by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
- Michael Bisping def. Dan Miller by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Mike Russow def. Todd Duffee by third-round knockout
- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Jason Brilz by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- John Hathaway def. Diego Sanchez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
- Dong Hyun Kim def. Amir Sadollah by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Efrain Escudero def. Dan Lauzon by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
- Melvin Guillard def. Waylon Lowe by first-round TKO
- Cyrille Diabate def. Luiz Cane by first-round TKO
- Aaron Riley def. Joe Brammer by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Ryan Jensen def. Jesse Forbes by first-round submission (guillotine choke)