This Saturday’s FS1 UFC Fight Night main event featuring Rashad Evans vs. Glover Teixeira is a great fight between guys of similar ages who are solid grapplers but who also have dynamite in their fists. Moreover, it is a matchup that offers each man real incentive. Teixeira may be the hotter contender right now, but a win over Evans, who hasn’t won a fight in two and a half years, will still mean something since he is a former world champion.
As he campaigns for another title shot, every win over a former world champ like Evans will count for a lot because it proves that, at his best, Glover can beat world-beaters. For Evans, this fight is a chance to prove that he’s still elite.
After all, the Brazilian has won two straight, both over top young contenders. He’s finished Patrick Cummins and Ovince Saint Preux in back-to-back bouts, and suddenly looks like he’s a win or two away from competing for gold again.
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So, how do these two great fighters match up against one another? Quite evenly, actually.
Glover is the bigger man and that could help with striking range on the feet and with muscling-out of takedown attempts from the former NCAA Division I wrestler Evans. Evans has the quicker feet but they may be close to equal when it comes to hand speed.
If Evans fights conservatively and concentrates on trying to get Glover to his back, mixing in short-range strikes from the clinch on separation, he could frustrate Teixeira’s offense. Evans rarely turns down opportunities to trade strikes on the feet, however, and often doesn’t even look for takedowns. If he decides to stand and trade with Glover, he’d better throw in combination and hit angles.
I think Glover wins a one-at-a-time punch battle. If Evans does look to grapple, I think Glover will be tough to take down and even tougher to keep there.
Teixeira has the ability to win off of his back, or get to the cage wall and walk his way back to his feet like his friend and mentor Chuck Liddell. Also, if Evans over-extends himself on strikes, I believe Glover can also get under his hips and take him down.
If Glover gives Rashad reason to fear his takedowns, the complexion of this fight may change, as a hesitant Evans on the feet won’t be a very productive one. In the end, I think either man has the ability to knock the other out, but Teixeira has been fighting more often, and fighting more effectively, of late.
This fight will show if Teixeira deserves another title shot and it will also give Evans a chance to find out if his last loss to Ryan Bader was more a matter of him needing to shake rust off after two years of inactivity, than anything else.