Rundown of UFC 133 ‘Evans vs. Ortiz 2’ post-fight news and notes…
— 11,583 fans filled the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a $1.5 million live gate, according to UFC president Dana White.
— Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz were awarded $70,000 Fight of the Night bonuses for putting on a much more exciting fight than their first match. Vitor Belfort earned the Knockout of the Night bonus for bulldozing Yoshihiro Akiyama in the first round. And with no submissions on the card, Dana White awarded Brian Ebersole a special $70,000 bonus for getting Dennis Hallman and his banana hammock off the broadcast in quick fashion.
— Dana White, who has long harped about ring rust, was thoroughly impressed with the way Rashad Evans performed coming off a 14-month layoff, saying that Rashad “f-ed up” his theory about ring rust. Dana didn’t have anything bad to say about Tito Ortiz either. Their performances were worthy of Fight of the Night honors.
“I can’t say enough good things about how good Rashad looked tonight and Tito fought an awesome fight, worthy of Fight of the Night.”
Despite the big win that will put him in a title fight with Jon Jones or Rampage Jackson, Evans was fairly mellow at the post-fight press conference. He explained what was going through his head when Tito had him a guillotine and his opportunity to finish Tito came about.
“Speed was definitely the difference. I just took my time with it. I knew Tito would try to get at me early, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t rush into anything. I set up my standup so things went right.”
“Right before the fight, I was working with Renzo Gracie on defending [the arm-in guillotine]. Once I pushed my head down and pushed [Ortiz’s] knee down, I didn’t feel the pressure. The worst thing you can do is try to pull out when you’re in that.”
“I was especially conscious of [not kneeing Ortiz in the head]. He [lifted] one knee up, then put it down. For a minute, I was thinking about the knee so much that I forgot to punch him. So I punched him, then kneed him in the body instead.”
When asked if he’d rather fight Jones or Rampage, Evans didn’t hesitate to pick his former teammate.
“I would prefer to [win the title] from Jones. You think I’m cocky? He’s for-real cocky. He’s like go-to-sleep-praising-himself cocky. I would love to teach him a lesson. I know where Jon’s weak and he knows where I’m weak. So we’ll see who covers those [weak areas] first. If he makes it past Rampage, I’ll have a chance to do that. I think Rampage should train in my camp for this fight.”
And if for some reason the title fight gets pushed back for any reason, Rashad said he isn’t going to wait around this time for his chance.
“I just want to fight and I miss fighting so much that when it’s my time to fight, I’m going to fight. I’m not going to be waiting to fight anymore. I’m 31 years old,” Evans said. “I want to do some things. If I’m the best, I’m the best.”
— Now that Rashad Evans has secured the next title shot, where does that leave Dan Henderson should he sign with the UFC? Well, before the Evans-Ortiz fight, Dana White said that Hendo would probably have to beat a top contender before he could come in and fight for the belt.
“Well the only problem with (an immediate title unification bout) is that Rashad Evans is next in line should he win this fight tomorrow night (against Tito Ortiz). So this is a big fight tomorrow night for these guys. If Rashad wins, he’s next in line to get the winner of (Jon) Jones vs. Rampage (Jackson) and if Tito wins it puts him back in the top five. Dan Henderson right now, I don’t know where he fits into this whole mix but I wouldn’t have Dan Henderson just jump right in and get a title shot at (205-pounds). He would have to beat one of the top contenders in the UFC.”
Barring any injuries to the aforementioned, I would think a number one contender’s match between Hendo and Lyoto Machida would make the most sense, but that of course depends on whether or not Hendo actually signs with the UFC.
— Despite the loss, Tito Ortiz still attended the press conference. He described how paralyzing the knee that Rashad hit him in the solar plexus was.
“I tried to get my body up. My mind said, ‘Get up,’ but my body wasn’t doing it. The ref said, ‘Protect yourself.’ I had my hands up, I tried to get up, the heart said, ‘Get up,’ the mind says, ‘Get up,’ but the body doesn’t react to it.”
Even though his Cinderella story didn’t quite come to pass, Tito said that he still feels young and healthy, and vows to continue fighting.
“I came here and gave it my all. I got nothing to hold back. Rashad beat me at my best. Rashad is the better man. 100 percent, I’ll be back.”
“I want to fight before the year is over, for sure. I’m gonna take about a month off, go on vacation, enjoy my family, enjoy my businesses, get right back in the gym, and hop on that horse again.”
“I’m young still. I just turned 36. I still got a lot of fight left in me.”
— Vitor Belfort was especially fired up after his blitzkrieg victory over Yoshihiro Akiyama. He declared that he wants the Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami winner and no one is going to stop him until he gets his title shot.
“I’m going for the belt. That’s my goal and that’s my future. I’m on a roll and I’m not going to stop. Nobody’s going to stop me.”
Nobody but Dana White. Belfort’s probably gonna have to get one or two more wins before he finds himself in another title fight, because according to Dana, the Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann winner “should” get the Silva-Okami winner next.
— The next UFC Primetime series will likely follow Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz for UFC 137, says Dana White.
“Yeah, (St-Pierre vs. Diaz) probably would be (the next UFC Primetime),” UFC president Dana White told MMAWeekly.com on Saturday night in Philadelphia. “It’d be interesting with Diaz… to follow him for more than 10 minutes.”
“It’s gonna be very unpredictable,” said White. “I don’t ask him to say anything special, to change who he is or whatever, but you’ve heard me say it a million times, give me that much. Play the game. Do what you’re supposed to do professionally and this will all work out.”
That will definitely be something.