As fans know, Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen are good friends and have a great deal of respect for one another. The evidence of that, if nothing else, is the complete lack of any trash talking by Sonnen, regarding Evans.
Not only has “The American Gangster” failed to deride Evans in lead-up to their November 16th, UFC 167 bout in Las Vegas, he’s actually sung “Suga’s” praises.
Of particular note and it could well give us insight into how the Evans / Sonnen fight may unfold Saturday night, is that Chael appears to be of the mind that attempting to take Rashad down will be a fruitless exercise. As such, it looks as if fans may see a stand-up war between the two.
In terms of Sonnen’s conclusion fans might well agree. Evans is a phenomenal wrestler and the chances of Sonnen taking him down and defeating him on the ground, are probably limited. As such, fans would probably think that Sonnen would be well advised not to expend the energy and just get to the meat of the matter, which would be a stand-up battle.
Of course there are a few questions that fans should ponder regarding Evans and his own attack strategy.
First and working Sonnen’s opinion about not being able to take Evans down in reverse, the question becomes will Suga be able to take Sonnen down?
Second, can Chael deal with Rashad’s speed and athleticism, while on their feet?
Finally, will a hungry and motivated Rashad show up for the bout or will the un-motivated, not in shape Evans show up, and turn in another laid-back, lackluster performance?
Of the three questions, the last one is the most important, because even if Evans can / could take Sonnen down and regardless of whether or not he might have a speed advantage over Chael on the feet, if he’s not hunger and in shape, he’ll probably lose. For under no condition will Sonnen be walking into that ring, particularly for the 20th anniversary card, which is something that means a lot to Chael, and be in anything less than in fighting shape and ready to “compete”.
Sonnen will not layback on Evans. That’s not his style. Win or lose, Chael comes to fight and Rashad had better be ready for it. Conversely, Sonnen had be ready to face a motivated Evans; just in case he shows up.