If it was in fact Rashad Evans’ last fight at UFC 225, it wasn’t the ending he wanted. And if it wasn’t, ‘Suga’ will need to take a good long look at where he’s at in his career after suffering a huge loss on Saturday night.
At UFC 225 at the United Center in Chicago on Saturday, Rashad Evans moved back up to the light heavyweight division over which he once reigned. A brief foray down to 185lbs had failed, so back to 205 he went. There, he met Anthony Smith, who’d had a three fight win streak snapped by Thiago Santos in his last outing. ‘Lionheart’ was the younger fighter, one with far fewer miles. And in his heyday, Evans would never have found himself slugging away on Fight Pass. Yet winless since 2013, on a four fight losing streak, the 38-year old former champ was a victim of time and circumstance.
On a stacked card, there was no room for ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans higher up the card. Which meant that what could very well be his retirement fight would be relegated to the UFC diehards tuning in on Fight Pass. While there was no official announcement, Evans’ struggles had been well documented coming in.
That was the case heading out of the fight as well.
After an early exchange on the feet, Rashad Evans dropped levels along the fence, looking for the takedown. Anthony Smith had an overhook with his left arm, and ‘Suga’ left his head in harm’s way far, far too long. A critical mistake for a veteran and former champ: Smith held Evans in place and unleashed a huge knee to the head that floored the champion. Extra shots weren’t really necessary. Rashad Evans was done. Very possibly for good, at least in the UFC. And if not, he certainly would need some time off to reflect after such a devastating loss.
Following the bout, Smith called for his next opponent. “Smile’N Sam Alvey likes to call people out, and I like Sam a lot,” he said to Jon Anik in the post-fight interview. Referring to the upcoming UFC Fight Night in Lincoln, Nebraska, he added “Sam Alvey, meet me in Lincoln.”
Anthony Smith def. Rashad Evans by KO, Round 1, 0:53