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With Shogun out, Soares wants Machida/Evans interim title fight

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LAS VEGAS - MAY 29:  UFC fighter Rashad Evans (L) battles UFC fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson during their Light Heavyweight fight at UFC 114: Rampage vs. Evans at the MGM Grand Hotel on May 29, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
LAS VEGAS - MAY 29: UFC fighter Rashad Evans (L) battles UFC fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson during their Light Heavyweight fight at UFC 114: Rampage vs. Evans at the MGM Grand Hotel on May 29, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

With UFC light-heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua out until March after undergoing yet another knee operation, Lyoto Machida's camp is calling for an interim championship fight between Machida and former champion Rashad Evans.

Ed Soares, Machida's manager, is calling for an interim title match between the two former champions, he told MMA Junkie Radio earlier this week.

"Honestly, we'd like to fight 'Shogun,'" Machida's manager, Ed Soares, (Wednesday) told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "Now it's 1-1. It's even. Let's do this rubber match. Let's figure this out. Granted, he won by decision and 'Shogun' won decisively, but anyone can get caught in this sport. He went in for the kill, and unfortunately, he got caught.

"Since 'Shogun' is out - they're saying until March - personally, when there's an injured champion, I would love to see maybe a Rashad-Lyoto match for the interim title. I think that would be something that would be cool, and the winner of that would get to fight 'Shogun' when he's all healed up in the spring of next year."

Machida dropped the title to Shogun by knockout in May in his second title defense. Evans is 2-0 since losing the title by knockout to Machida in May 2009. Since that loss, he's defeated both Thiago Silva and Quinton Jackson by decision. By beating Jackson, he became the No. 1 contender for Shogun's title.

Evans, though, told MMA Junkie earlier that he is willing to wait until Shogun returns to get his title match.

"At this point, unless they come up with an interim title, then I'll wait," Evans said. "Having a chance to fight for a title is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and I consider myself to be very lucky that I got two chances."

Personally, I don't think Machida deserves a shot at an interim title considering how decisively he was defeated by Shogun. But one factor that might play into Machida's hand is the fact that the UFC is struggling to find main events for many of its shows. The word "title" in marketing instantly creates a bigger aura for the event, interim or not. 

I agree with Evans, however. He should just wait for Shogun, because as we saw, he does not match up too well with Machida. He has nothing to gain by fighting Machida, interim title or not. As proven in the past, the fighters themselves bury the interim title (well, everyone but Frank Mir). Georges St-Pierre did it when he won it and both Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar buried the heavyweight version prior to their UFC 116 fight.

It will be interesting to see how this sequence plays out.