Watch Rashad Evans’ memorable one-punch destruction of Chuck Liddell.
Rashad Evans is fighting Sam Alvey on the main card of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night: Pettis vs. Moreno in Mexico City, Mexico. Let’s remember him at his absolute best, when he famously knocked out former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell in the UFC 88 main event on September 7th, 2008.
The stunned reaction from the Atlanta crowd is my biggest takeaway outside of Evans’ destructive right hand finish of “The Iceman.” You can watch the video at the top of the page, as well as the post-fight write-up from Luke Thomas:
It’s all about Evans – I think people are missing a crucial factor of Evans’ striking development. The notion that you’re either born with KO power or you’re not is grossly overstated. The truth is – and I’ve seen it in other fighters with my own eyes – is that often through hard work and repetition fighters learn to develop their power. The initial stages of learning involve the fundamentals like footwork, combinations, balance and more. But once fighters round the corner on those stumbling blocks, you’ll see them cultivate their power. Evans is a clear example of that.
Beyond that, though, Evans’ gameplan and quickness played a factor. But the speed of Evans isn’t just his handspeed; it was also his ability to move and find the perfect range very quickly. He was mobile enough to put himself in range or readjust when he wasn’t without sustaining damage. And when in range, he simply drew quicker than Liddell to flatten the Iceman. I don’t think Liddell realized just how perfectly distanced Evans was when he threw the overhand right.
And Liddell’s age is partly an issue. I don’t think getting KO’d by that punch is evidence that he’s too old to compete. But the truth is his body and chin don’t have the powers of absorption that it used to. As Josh Barnett is keen on reminding us, fighters who live on their chin eventually suffer when others learn their game, they age or become too comfortable. Chuck is a clear example of that. He’s too old to go back to the well of his existing talents without expecting others to eventually catch up. He paid the price for that dearly last night.
Evans would win the UFC title from Forrest Griffin in his next fight. Liddell suffered two more knockout defeats before his retirement.
UFC Fight Night: Pettis vs. Moreno airs live on Fox Sports 1, with the main card beginning at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.