Rashad Evans did his part to set up what will be one of the most contentious fights in UFC history when he pounded out Tito Ortiz on Saturday in the main event of UFC 133 at the Wells Fargo Center to earn a shot at the light heavyweight belt.
Evans, fighting for the first time in 14 months, ripped Ortiz with a knee to the solar plexus, then finished him with a series of punches on the ground. Referee Dan Miragliotta stopped it at 4:48 of the second round.
The win guarantees Evans a shot at the belt currently held by his former friend Jon “Bones” Jones. The two were once training partners, but had a bitter split earlier this year. Jones will defend his crown in the main event of UFC 135 on Sept. 24 in Denver against another rival of Evans, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Evans hammered Ortiz in the first with a series of punches and elbows, using better boxing skills to take the round. Ortiz nearly finished it early in the second when he caught Evans in a guillotine choke – the same move he used to submit Ryan Bader last month at UFC 132 – but Evans wriggled free and finished the bout a couple of minutes later.
“All the hard work, all the trials and tribulations, paid off,” Evans said.