ATLANTA -- UFC President Dana White on Sunday confirmed that
Evans had vaulted to the top of the list of potential
challengers for Forrest
Griffin’s light heavyweight championship.
Evans (12-0-1) stunned former champion and future Hall of Famer
Liddell(Pictures) at UFC 88 “Breakthrough” at
Philips Arena on Saturday, as he knocked out the popular
Californian in scintillating fashion. Still unbeaten, Evans leveled
Liddell with a devastating overhand right in the second round of
their main event tilt. He met the news that he had earned his title
shot with a smile and some perspective.
“I’m very happy,” Evans said. “It’s exciting. I’m still living in
the moment right now. I haven’t really put any thoughts to [my
title shot] -- title fight, whatever, it’s just another fight.”
Griffin -- the light heavyweight winner on season one of “The
Ultimate Fighter” reality series -- and Evans -- the heavyweight
winner on season two -- could conceivably meet on Dec. 27 in Las
Vegas. That card will feature the interim heavyweight championship
bout between Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts Antonio
Rodrigo Nogueira(Pictures) and Frank Mir(Pictures).
Despite being criticized for an inability to finish early in his
UFC career, Evans has secured three of his last four wins by
knockout. None were more significant than the latest. Liddell,
arguably the sport’s most popular fighter, lay motionless for
several tense moments after Evans’ right hand connected with his
chin 1:51 into round two.
“I plan to keep on reinventing myself and fighting at the level I
believe I’m capable of,” Evans said. “Tonight, it went pretty well,
but I did get caught with some shots. I didn’t want to get hit at
all. Maybe next time I can not get hit at all.”
Griffin (16-4), meanwhile, defeated the favored Quinton “Rampage”
Jackson by unanimous decision in July to capture the UFC light
heavyweight crown. In his last two outings, he has defeated Jackson
and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, at one time believed to be the top two
205-pound fighters in the world.