Get the Blackhawks Championship Package  Give the Gift of SI
SI.com Home
  • PRINT PRINT
  • EMAIL EMAIL
  • RSS RSS
  • BOOKMARK SHARE
Posted: Wednesday March 11, 2009 9:51AM; Updated: Wednesday March 11, 2009 10:03AM

Evans to face Machida at UFC 98

Story Highlights

Rashad Evans will defend his UFC belt against Lyoto Machida

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson was medically suspended after UFC 96

Also fighting on the May 23 card: Matt Hughes, Matt Serra, Yushin Okami

By Josh Gross, SI.com

Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
Rashad Evans
Rashad Evans will make his first light heavyweight title defense against Lyoto Machida.
AP

A championship battle of undefeated light heavyweights is slated to headline UFC 98, SI.com has confirmed. Rashad Evans (13-0-1) will defend his UFC belt May 23 against Lyoto Machida (14-0).

Evans-Machida is the third planned main event for the MGM Grand Garden Arena-hosted card in Las Vegas. UFC heavyweight titleholders Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar were originally scheduled to make the title whole, but Mir bowed out late last week after injuring his knee while training.

The UFC quickly scrapped the anticipated rematch in favor of Evans' first fight since he stopped Forrest Griffin to take the 205-pound title last December. Following his decision win Saturday over Keith Jardine, former UFC champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson was offered the first crack at Evans. Though he was left off Ohio's list of medically suspended fighters stemming from the March 7 card in Columbus, a short turnaround for what would have been Jackson's third fight in five months is believed to be his justification for declining the fight.

Rampage -- who knocked out Chuck Liddell to capture the title, before defending against Dan Henderson and losing the belt to Griffin -- will be first in line to face the Evans-Machida winner.

After racking up a solid record in events around the globe, Machida won his first six fights with the UFC in February 2007. His most recent triumph came at the end of January. Machida, 30, impressively handed fellow Brazilian Thiago Silva the first defeat of his career at UFC 94. The smooth karate fighter is regarded as one of the top defensive and technical fighters in MMA.

"Sugar" Rashad, 29, comes into the bout with an 8-0-1 UFC record, including a victory that made him the The Ultimate Fighter 2 heavyweight winner. Maligned for playing it safe after needing the distance in his first five fights inside the UFC, the powerfully built former Michigan State wrestler has morphed into a finisher. Four definitive endings in his last six contests -- the other two were a tight decision over Michael Bisping and a fortunate draw against Tito Ortiz, who cost himself the win after suffering a point deduction for grabbing the fence -- include knockouts of Liddell and Griffin.

In addition to the five-round title bout, which was finalized Tuesday evening, the pay-per-view card features welterweight rivals Matt Hughes and Matt Serra; Yushin Okami against up-and-coming middleweight Dan Miller; and grapple-happy lightweights Sean Sherk and Frank Edgar.

 
  • PRINT PRINT
  • EMAIL EMAIL
  • RSS RSS
  • BOOKMARK SHARE
ADVERTISEMENT
SI.com
Hot Topics: NBA Draft Yasiel Puig NHL Playoffs NBA Playoffs Mark Cuban Jabari Parker
TM & © 2013 Time Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved. Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy guidelines and ad choices.
SI CoverRead All ArticlesBuy Cover Reprint