Evans Knocks Out Liddell

By Joe Hall Sep 7, 2008
Rashad Evans knocked Chuck Liddell cold Saturday at UFC 88 in Atlanta.

The shocking finish came at 1:51 of the second round. Liddell had backed his opponent into the cage, where the future UFC Hall of Famer loaded the right hand that has made him one of the few millionaire mixed martial artists.

Evans, an undefeated 28-year-old who has been fighting for roughly four years, flashed a jab that he followed quickly with an overhand right. At that precise moment, Liddell was throwing an uppercut. Evans’ punch landed first, and it landed on Liddell’s chin.

Liddell dropped instantly, and there was no doubt that the fight was over. He lay face-first on the canvas until referee Herb Dean (Pictures) rolled him over.

The fighters had covered plenty of ground during the first five minutes. They circled, pursued, were pursued, punched occasionally. It wasn’t a period worth replaying. Evans was elusive, but Liddell won the round.

Early in the second, Liddell seemed to get what he wanted: an exchange. Neither man connected with anything damaging, but Evans came out of it with the look of someone who had stood in the pocket with Liddell and more than survived there. Soon Evans was scoring with a left hook, and Liddell was closing in, thinking perhaps that Evans was falling into his game plan. The final exchange followed, leaving Liddell on the ground for several minutes before he was up and moving about again.

“The strategy is going straight for the horns,” said Evans, whose trainer, Greg Jackson, also engineered Keith Jardine (Pictures)’s September 2007 win over Liddell. “You can’t beat Chuck Liddell thinking you’re gonna take him down all day. That’s the way to get knocked out and that’s the way to get tired. I wanted to go straight at him with his own game.”

In the weeks before the fight, Liddell had said that a win over Evans should lead to a crack at light heavyweight titleholder Forrest Griffin (Pictures). Likewise, Griffin said Friday that he wanted a matchup with Liddell should he win.

It might make sense then that Evans, in victory, should get the title fight against Griffin. Evans declined to state his case, though, when given the opportunity in the Octagon after knocking out Liddell. He said he was a patient man just enjoying the ride.

But perhaps his right hand had already done his bidding.
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