The event aired Saturday night amidst much criticism and little hype yet that thankfully did not prevent UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva from being a successful show.
Led by huge 1st round knockouts from Junior Dos Santos and emerging welterweight prospect Paul Daley, UFC 108 sure proved the critics wrong.
The biggest outcome of the night probably has to be Rashad Evans taking care of business against fellow 205 lb kingpin Thiago Silva. Evans secured the 29-28 unanimous decision win by going back to his wrestling which ultimately will setup the highly anticipated grudge match between himself and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
After the fight, Evans talked about his lengthy time off instilling into him a need to get back to his foundation of wrestling. His gameplan was to close the distance on Silva — who is a dominant striker — and out wrestle the Brazilian. And that’s exactly what he did for the first two rounds in earning the decision win.
The third round was a different story with both fighters visibly weary after two rounds of takedowns (Evans) and energy spent in getting back to one’s feet (Silva).
Perhaps just as much of a winner after the lights went out in the MGM Grand was welterweight Paul Daley (23-8-2) mentioned above for his huge 1st round knockout win over a very talented fighter in his own right, Dustin Hazelett.
Daley, 26, is now 2-0 in his short UFC career with two devastating KO victories over top quality competition. The Brit is now in position to take on the elite of the division, we’re talking top welterweights like Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves and Josh Koscheck.
However, with two of those above fighters already set to do battle against each other and the latter currently out with an injury, Daley’s next fight could be against another up-and-coming prospect in Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. That matchup would be guaranteed fireworks.
Also capitalizing on an excellent showcase opportunity was heavyweight Junior Dos Santos (10-1). The 25-year-old Santos ignored conventional wisdom that perhaps thought his best chance for victory against the stellar kick-boxing style of Yvel, kept the fight standing and actually dominated his opponent before scoring the TKO win with a brutal left hook.
In the undercard fights lightweight Jim Miller continued his impressive pace with his 5th win in six UFC fights in the past 15 months by defeating Duane Ludwig. Welterweight Martin Kampmann rebounded with a win over Jacob Volkmann, while light heavyweight Mark Munoz pounded Ryan Jensen into submission.
In other action, it was a bad night for the Lauzon brothers as Cole Miller defeated Dan Lauzon and Sam Stout took out the younger brother, Joe by unanimous decision.
Fight of the Night: Sam Stout vs. Joe Lauzon
Knockout of the Night: Paul Daley
Submission of the Night: Cole Miller
Each fighter earns a $50,000 bonus for his efforts Saturday night.