UFC 88 winner granted title shot with Forrest Griffin *SPOILER*
ATLANTA – With his stunning one-punch knockout victory over Chuck Liddell at this past Saturday’s “UFC 88: Breakthrough” event, Rashad Evans has claimed top contender’s status in the UFC and has been granted a title shot with current 205-pound champ Forrest Griffin.
UFC President Dana White confirmed in the post-event press conference that Evans will get the immediate title shot — one that was all but promised to Liddell.
White wouldn’t release a date for the upcoming championship tilt, but he made it very clear Evans had earned his shot.
“(UFC CEO) Lorenzo (Fertitta), (UFC matchmaker) Joe (Silva) and I got together and thought yeah, he deserves the title shot,” White said. “How could you say, ‘No, he doesn’t deserve the shot’ after [the Liddell fight]?”
White said he had a date in mind but wouldn’t share it until the organization has the opportunity to announce some other upcoming cards.
However, the organization’s year-end Dec. 27 card in Las Vegas would seem a logical choice.
After a cautious but effective first round, Evans finally connected with the big blow mid-way through the second. In the latest coup for Team Jackson’s army of upset artists, Evans used a Liddell-like overhand right to stop his opponent cold. Liddell hit the mat instantly, and he lay motionless on the canvas for more than a minute before he finally awoke and quickly jumped to his feet.
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) previously reported, White recently said that — if he were to get by Evans, as most people expected — Liddell would get his chance to reclaim the title. Even Griffin himself stated in a recent UFC fan club Q&A that he was rooting for Liddell, since it’d likely lead to a bigger overall event and, one would assume, a bigger potential payday.
Instead, that shot will go to his still-undefeated opponent.
For Evans, the heavyweight winner of “The Ultimate Fighter 2,” this latest victory was the one, signature win missing from his resume. The victory moved his overall record to 12-0-1, which includes a spectacular 7-0-1 mark in the UFC