Light heavyweights Rashad Evans and Glover Teixeira will lock up on Saturday night April 16th as a headline replacement for the Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson match that was scrapped. Let’s review the UFC odds and cash a winner.
Rashad Evans (19-4, 8 KO’s, 1 Sub)
There was a time not too long ago that Rashad Evans ruled the light heavyweight division but along came Jon Jones and the rest as they say, is history. After racking up 17 wins against only one loss, Evans fought his former friend and protégé for the UFC light heavyweight title back in April of 2012 and hung on for five rounds but was no match for Jones, dropping a unanimous decision.
It was a clear changing of the guard at 205 pounds and 10 months later Evans got a shot at taking down an old lion and UFC staple Antonio “Lil Nog” Rogueira but he lost that contest on the judge’s scorecards as well. Evans’ next two fights were victories against a 40-something Dan Henderson (split decision) and a clearly faded Chael Sonnen (TKO) who retired after that match. It took almost two years for “Suga” to step back inside the cage but when he did, it was a rather underwhelming performance against Ryan Bader which resulted in defeat via unanimous decision.
Glover Teixeira (24-4, 14 KO’s, 7 Subs)
The Brazilian native and superior mat master Glover Teixeira owned a winning streak that spanned 20 fights and almost eight years. But on April 26th of 2014 he got what he had been pining for and that was a shot at Jon Jones and the UFC light heavyweight strap. As they say, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. And get it he did as Teixeira was dominated from start to finish but did manage to hang in until the final bell sounded in round five.
In his next fight Teixeira went from an enormous UFC odds underdog against Jones to about a -250 favorite versus Phil Davis. Fans expected a bounce-back performance from the BJJ master but instead watched him drop his second consecutive bout to a fighter many believed would be unable to last all three rounds. Granted Phil Davis had an exemplary performance but Teixeira was quickly being relegated to a gatekeeper at 205. Yet those who kept the faith, and included Teixeira in their UFC picks in his next two matches, were rewarded as he picked up a huge submission victory over Ovince Saint Preux and then a power TKO over Patrick Cummins. Teixeira is back but at age 36 he needs to make it happen now because pretty soon it may be too late.
At one time Rashad Evans was the man at 205 but I believe his star began to fade a bit after his uninspiring victory over Rampage Jackson in the most highly anticipated, and disappointing, match of 2010. Evans had lost his light heavyweight title to Lyoto Machida exactly one year prior by way of knockout and something happened after that match because, in my estimation, he has not been the same guy.
Suga is now a tentative fighter who appears to be more interested in not losing rather than winning. Ryan Bader, whom Evans fought in his last fight, reminds me of the younger Rashad with excellent ground techniques and accurate striking but perhaps without the same raw power. I fear Evans is reaching the end of an impressive career while Glover Teixeira has proven he can beat everyone but the very top of the division. Teixeira brings outstanding value here despite being hung as a -200 favorite which is why we will include him in our UFC picks on April 16th.
UFC Pick: Glover Teixeira -200
Best Line Offered: at BetDSI