Rundown of UFC on FOX 2 post-fight news and notes…
— 17,625 attendees filled the United Center in Chicago, Illinois for a $1.2 million live gate.
— Lavar Johnson picked up a cool $65,000 KO bonus for knocking out Joey Beltran in his UFC debut. Charles Oliveira was awarded Submission of the Night for finishing Eric Wisely with a calf slicer. Evan Dunham and Nik Lentz earned Fight of the Night.
— Rashad Evans didn’t get the finish he wanted against Phil Davis, but he did get the win and more importantly, the long-awaited title shot against former teammate Jon Jones. Evans wasn’t thrilled with his performance, but he was relieved he got the win and now looks forward to finally settling the score with Jones.
I don’t know. I just… I’m happy the fight’s over,” said Evans when asked about his subdued manner. “I’m happy I got the win, but I wanted to do better. I wanted to put on a more spectacular win for the Chicago fans and for the Fox fans. I didn’t do it like I wanted to or I envisioned myself doing it, but at the same time, I got the job done. I can’t be too overly critical because, nights like this, winning on this stage in the UFC, wins are hard to come by. So, I should really just be thankful. After I get offstage, I’ll probably smack myself into reality and think, ‘You know what? Things could’ve been a lot worse.’”
“I definitely wanna put the rivalry to bed and, more importantly, get a chance to get my belt back. I feel like I can beat Jon Jones. I see areas in his game where I can capitalize on, and I know it’s gonna be a good fight,” Evans told reporters. “Jon Jones has one thing over other opponents that he doesn’t have over me: we’ve faced each other before, many times. I’m not really too worried about the mystique of Jon Jones because I know what’s at Jon Jones’ core. I remember Jon Jones when he used to come up to me and be like, ‘Hey, man, what is it like when everybody takes pictures with you?’ So, I see Jon Jones a little bit differently than everybody else sees Jon Jones.
“He said something to me a while ago when we got into it. He said he wants to show everybody that I’m all hype and he’s gonna destroy me. That right there is the biggest motivation in the world. For him saying that, I’m gonna make him pay.”
Assuming Rashad passes all his medicals, Jones and Evans will finally meet on April 21 in Atlanta at UFC 145. The UFC confirmed earlier tonight that Jones will headline that card and with Rashad’s win tonight, he’s pretty much a lock to be Jones’ opponent. Both said they’re looking forward to fight after the show tonight.
“Yeah I’m ready to fight in April or whenever,” [Evans] said. “There’s a couple of things I need to work on. I look forward to going into camp and working on things, but I’m looking forward to fighting Jon and giving the fans the fight they want to see.”
“I can’t wait to get past this chapter in my career,” [Jones] said. “I’ve been calling him my antagonist because of all the hype and drama. So I’m a happy man. I’m looking forward to retaining my title on April 21st in the ATL.”
This is the part where everybody crosses their fingers that it actually happens this time.
— Pretty much everyone but Michael Bisping, his camp and his most loyal fans thought Chael Sonnen was going to smash him tonight. Well, everyone was wrong. Bisping put up one hell of a fight against the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest fighter.” So much so, many thought Bisping should have won the fight including Dana White. Heck, even Sonnen himself said he wasn’t confident the judges would give it to him at the post-fight press conference.
“Michael Bisping hit me so hard in the first round I didn’t even know what day it was,” Sonnen said during the post-fight press conference. “I remember when I came to, looking at him and thinking, ‘Oh my God you have no idea how bad you’ve hurt me or you’d step in and do something about it.’”
“I was never in a position tonight where I was comfortable, not one,” Sonnen said. “It was 15 awkward minutes. I got him down on the ground, and he’d throw a hook in, blocking me. As soon as I [would] create a space, he pushed away [and] popped up.”
“I knew we were in the middle of a close fight. I knew I needed to win the third round. I had a sense of urgency for sure; I think we both did,” he said.
“I said, ‘Hey what do you think?’ He said. ‘I don’t know, I think I got the first two.’ And I said, ‘I think you might be right,’” Sonnen recalled. “That doesn’t mean I disagree with the judges. They were close rounds.”
Nevertheless, Sonnen did win the decision and will go on to rematch Anderson Silva in Brazil in June, according to Dana White. Still, Sonnen isn’t sold that Silva will accept, however in a rare moment of honesty, Sonnen assured that he would do his part to make the fight happen.
“I know I’ll do my part,” he said. “Do I think [Silva] will sign to fight? No, I don’t. But we’ll see. I’ve been wrong before. But I’ve tried to get him to fight four times. That’s the one thing they don’t tell you, and I’m not trying to go against the brass here, but that’s the one thing they haven’t revealed. They’ve offered him the fight four times, and he said no four times. Mysteriously, he’s supposed to accept on the fifth?
“I’ll tell you this: I’ve never backed down, and I never will.”
Silva vs. Sonnen II. In Brazil. In a 80,000 seat soccer stadium. It doesn’t get any bigger than that. Cross your fingers that one happens too.
— Michael Bisping didn’t win on the scorecards, but he didn’t walk away from the fight looking like a loser either. Like many others, Bisping thought he won the fight and isn’t going to let the loss deter him from working his way to a championship down the road.
“I can’t lie; I thought I won rounds one and two,” Bisping said. “I think in this modern day of social networking and stuff, you just have to look at the Internet, and I think the general consensus was I won the fight.”
“Yeah, I’m going to nowhere,” Bisping said. “I’ve been doing this for a long, long time, and I intend to do it a lot longer. It was a close fight, a good fight. I could have won that; I could have stopped it.
“But this isn’t the last you’ll see me, and I will be fighting for a title, and I will bloody win it.”
Chael Sonnen doesn’t disagree. He told reporters he thinks Bisping is a championship caliber fighter too and would beat Anderson Silva.
— Let’s be honest, the FOX broadcast opener between Demian Maia and Chris Weidman didn’t exactly set anyone’s hair on fire, but for Weidman, getting a win on FOX given the circumstances was awesome enough even if it wasn’t his most impressive performance.
“I took this fight on very short notice,” Weidman said. “My friends and family said I was crazy, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. To be able to fight a top contender like Maia on FOX was incredible.
“Walking out of the octagon after a fight like that with a ‘W’ was exactly what I wanted to accomplish. I showed everyone and myself what I am capable of. This win puts me pretty far up the middleweight ladder and right in the mix with the rest of the top fighters.”
Meanwhile, Maia said he regretted that he didn’t use more of his jiu-jitsu in the fight. I regret it too. Really miss Maia subbing people.