I know, he almost got knocked out in the third round against Thiago Silva at UFC 108 but still won the unanimous decision. I know he won the coveted UFC light heavyweight title just a year ago. I know he decapitated the UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell at UFC 88. However, Rashad Evans had his best performance at UFC 108 since he defeated Jason Lambert all the way back at UFC 63.
-Frankly in the fight previous to UFC 108, Rashad Evans followed a gameplan that he could use over and over again against Lyoto Machida and never defeat him. So we'll just throw that fight out, because he got destroyed.
-In the Forrest Griffin fight, Rashad was really tentative allowing Forrest Griffin to dictate the pace of the fight. Rashad probably lost the first two rounds against Griffin prior to catching him in the third and finally ground and pounding his way to victory.
-In the Chuck Liddell fight, Rashad again was tentative as he's a natural counter puncher. But he allowed Liddell to stalk him and the first round probably could have gone either way. Evans didn't look particularly spectacular in the first round that's for sure before finally putting Liddell away with a huge overhand right in the second round.
The other fights follow the same pattern with Rashad Evans usually being tentative, and allowing his opponents to dictate the pace of the fights. However, that wasn't the case against the larger Thiago Silva. In fact, the pace that Rashad set in the first two rounds is probably responsible for allowing Silva to catch him in the third round. Rashad was the aggressor right off the bat against Silva and he used his striking to set up his take downs in the first two rounds. He dropped Silva on his neck a couple of times as well which was pretty impressive. The fact that Rashad wasn't head hunting and neglecting his wrestling roots is probably the most impressive thing. It seems as if Rashad has a cardio problem, but I think it has more to do with him being a smaller light heavyweight more so than just 'cardio'. It takes a lot of energy to execute those take downs and offset his opponents clinch work against the cage like that. I thought Rashad's performance was the best he's looked in a long time. He wasn't dependant upon his striking to bail him out like in his previous fights. The fight was all his as the 3rd round began against Thiago Silva. You couldn't say that in his previous 4 or 5 fights.