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LAS VEGAS -- After more than a year of slinging mud back and forth at each other, Quinton Jackson and Rashad Evans finally got to exchange strikes at UFC 114.
Evans used his wrestling to come away with a unanimous decision, 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28. ESPN.com also scored the bout 30-27 for Evans.
Although Evans proved to be the better fighter at the MGM Grand Garden Arena before a capacity crowd of 15,081, nothing else was resolved between the mixed martial artists.
The fight's outcome didn't change Evans' opinion of Jackson one bit. Evans considered Jackson an "Uncle Tom" before the fight and still considers him one today.
"Yeah, I stand by what I said," Evans told ESPN.com after improving to 20-1-1. "He's a smart person who plays stupid. When you're a public figure like he is, some people can't tell the difference.
"He's a funny dude, and maybe that's part of his act, but that's not always the way he should portray himself."
Jackson's feelings toward Evans haven't improved, either; after the loss, his dislike for Evans intensified. He would love another shot at silencing Evans and has begun campaigning for a rematch.
"Rashad can still kiss my ass," Jackson told ESPN.com. "I respect that he did a good fight, but he said a whole lot of stuff, and I ain't going to forget it. He can kiss my black ass."
It is likely Jackson will have to wait much longer than a year for another chance to silence Evans, whose next order of business is reclaiming the light heavyweight title. By defeating Jackson, he earned a shot at current 205-pound titleholder Mauricio Rua. No date has been set for that fight.
|Just because you beat Quinton Jackson does not guarantee you will humble Quinton Jackson.|
UFC president Dana White has not decided whom Jackson will face next, but he isn't ruling out Evans-Rampage II down the road.
"Anything can happen," White told ESPN.com. "It depends on what paths they take from here on out. [Evans] is obviously going to fight Shogun for the title; we'll see who Rampage fights next, and we'll see what happens from there.
"Like I said before this fight, and I will say it again, these are two of the best light heavyweights in the world, and they could meet again."
If Jackson gets a rematch with Evans, he plans to do things very differently. For one, Jackson (30-8-0) vows not to stay away from the cage for an extended period. He also plans to push the pace much more.
Jackson was pained by the many derogatory names directed at him -- and he still harbors animosity toward Evans for uttering them. But according to Jackson, emotions played no part in his performance at UFC 114.
"Emotions didn't bother me one bit," Jackson said. "Rashad had an excellent game plan, and he stuck to it. In the rematch I will just try to be more aggressive.
"I kept trying to block out all the people talking about ring rust. I knew it was going to be a factor, but I kept trying to block it out. But tonight I felt it, I felt it bad. I'm a little ashamed of myself that I fell victim to ring rust. Emotions had nothing to do with it."
Evans is glad to walk away from this high-profile fight victorious, but he is not completely satisfied with his effort. He has been working diligently to erase certain flaws in his game. On Saturday night, one of those flaws resurfaced and nearly cost him the win.
Fortunately, Evans was able to offset his error by exploiting one that Jackson made repeatedly.
"One thing I noticed is that Rampage was anticipating my shots so much that I was able to pick him apart and do different things with him," Evans said. "Toward the end I got a little less creative and got myself caught against the fence. Those are the things I need to focus on all the way through a fight."
Evans must correct such mistakes if he is to regain the title. Rua is an intelligent fighter who will take advantage of Evans' lapse in concentration.
No one knows this better than Evans, and he plans to learn from Saturday's bout. He intends to eliminate that flaw in his game and will work on it upon returning to camp. For now, though, Evans plans to enjoy his win over Jackson.
With all the harsh words that were exchanged before the fight, getting the win has left a sweet taste in Evans' mouth.
"It makes the victory sweeter," Evans said. "Rampage said some things about me, like not giving me credit as a fighter. So to go out there and do what I did, it feels really good."
Franklin McNeil is a contributing mixed martial arts/boxing writer for ESPN.com. He also appears regularly on "MMA Live," which now airs on ESPN2.