Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said "The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That's real glory. That's the essence of it." Former Michigan State wrestler Rashad Evans has proven himself to be one of the top light heavyweight fighters on the planet. Despite having started his MMA career in the heavyweight division, Rashad is not a particularly large light heavyweight. His grappling attack depends more on timing, agility and leverage than it does on power. Still, there are a few more variables that make this 30-year-old fighter a very tough opponent to beat. He has above average power in his hands and tends to throw effective combinations. Evans also moves well laterally and he usually judges distance appropriately to set up his attacks. And finally, he has an elite team behind him. With coach Greg Jackson and a stable full of great sparring partners available, I'm expecting to see a fully prepared Rashad Evans on Saturday night. Can the former world champion bounce back effectively on a night where he shares top billing? We'll find out at UFC 108. After all, overcoming adversity has been a hallmark of most great fighters throughout history. Rashad Evans has a professional record of 13-1-1 with five wins coming by way of knockout and two wins coming by way of submission (Source: Sherdog.com). The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced thus far in his career is 65.6%.
With a 5-1 record since making his UFC debut over two and a half years ago, Thiago Silva has rightfully earned a reputation as a spectacular finisher in the 205 pound division. Coming off of a 95 second destruction of Keith Jardine back in August, this 27-year-old Brazilian is hoping to get back near the top of the rankings in the overcrowded light heavyweight division. Having begun 2009 with his first career setback (a late 1st round knockout of Lyoto Machida), Silva sees 2010 begin with another high profile fight against an elite opponent. What is a little surprising to me is that so few people seem to be giving Silva a legit chance against Evans. Thiago Silva is a dangerous fighter. From a pure offensive standpoint, he can provide as many fireworks as just about anyone in the division. Thiago Silva has a professional record of 14-1 with eleven wins coming by way of knockout and two wins coming by way of submission. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced thus far in his career is 66.7%.
One thing about Silva is that he shouldn't be difficult for Evans to find. He is usually coming forward. In fact, in his loss against the extremely elusive Lyoto Machida, Silva actually landed a majority of his strikes. I think that Evans knows the importance of not standing in the pocket for a proloned period of time and trading with Silva. I think that Rashad will likely try to use movement and pick his spots to either land shots or execute a takedown. This is a tough fight to call I think that the former world champion will find a way to stifle Silva's offense before finally getting to his chin. My prediction: Evans by TKO in the 2nd.