UFC 156: Evans vs. Nogueira Saturday, February 2 – 11:20 p.m. ET
Mandalay Bay Events Center – Las Vegas, NV
Rashad Evans (22-2-1) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (20-5) Light heavyweight bout
Line: Evans -600, Nogueira +400
Two fighters who need to shake off some rust will come to blows on the main card of UFC 156 on Saturday night as Rashad Evans and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira take the Octagon.
Evans last fought in April 2012, losing by a unanimous decision to Jon Jones for the light heavyweight belt. Nogueira has been out of the game even longer, not having fought since his win against Tito Ortiz in December 2011. Evans is a heavy, heavy favorite in this one as one of the top-ranked fighters in this division. But Nogueira deserves more credit than he’s receiving, even at the age of 36. He owns a three-inch height advantage on Evans and has beaten some of the best fighters in the world throughout his career, even if he isn’t quite the fighter he once was. He’ll face an uphill battle, but take the huge help from the lines and NOGUEIRA to win this one.
Prior to losing to Jones, Evans won four straight against Phil Davis, Tito Ortiz, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Thiago Silva. Three of those wins were unanimous decisions while the win against Ortiz was an emphatic second-round TKO. Before that winning streak, Evans lost to Lyoto Machida, surrendering the UFC light heavyweight belt he took from Forest Griffin in the previous fight. A wrestler and boxer, "Suga" Evans can strike well, but the takedowns are the crux of his game. It also makes him incredibly difficult to take down, as he is one of the best defenders in the world.
Nogueira is a flexible fighter with the ability to win whatever way presents itself. With 20 career wins, he has won eight times from the judges and six teams each via submission and knockout. In his last fight, he knocked out Tito Ortiz in the first round. Nogueira is an excellent boxer and fortunately for him his style may match up well against Evans because Nogueira does not focus on takedowns. Rather, he is a strong striker with good Jiu-Jitsu skills and the potential to earn a submission at any point. It may appear unlikely that he wins this one, but he has a chance better than these odds give him credit for.