“Sugar” Rashad Evans (17-2-1) vs. Antonio Rogerio “Lil’ Nog” Nogueira (20-5-0)

Evans has a huge opportunity in this fight, because if he wins and decides to drop down to 185, he could get a shot at the middleweight title. The problem is he has a tough test in Nogueira that he has to get past – and that is not an easy task. It seems anytime one of the Nogueira brothers takes a long time off, they have no problem returning to form. His older brother showed that against Brendan Schaub and Dave Herman, and now it may be the little brother’s chance. Plus, if Lil’ Nog loses in this fight, he will be in a 1-3 stretch.

Evans has some amazing knockouts to his name, but he may not have the superior striking in this fight. Nogueira has won medals boxing in Pan-American Games, which has to lend some credit to his striking. Evans may have more power in his hands in terms of knocking people out, but you do not need to have knockout power to be the better striker. At the end of the day, you know Evans will go for a takedown, and that may be where the fight gets the most interesting.

Even if Evans decide to take Nogueira down, he could still be in trouble. While he does not resort to using his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game that much, he is still a very proficient black belt in the martial art. It remains to be seen how efficient his jiu-jitsu is off of his back, but we will more than likely see it in this fight at some point. Many people are counting Lil’ Nog out, but his skill set makes this an intriguing bout.

The Bottom Line:

Evans will take this fight. He will blend his speed in stand-up and takedowns to finish this fight on the ground. Rashad Evans wins by TKO due to ground and pound in the second round.