Rashad Evans had more than a year off going into Saturday night’s UFC 133 main event.
His opponent, Tito Ortiz, had about a month.
Ring rust could have been an issue for Evans. It wasn’t.
The quick turnaround could have been an issue for Ortiz. It might have been.
“Sometimes my heart is bigger than my body,” said Ortiz, who was stopped via TKO 4:48 into the second round. “And tonight it was.”
Evans took the initiative early, nearly finishing the fight at the end of the first round after slamming Ortiz to the mat with a suplex. Ortiz barely survived the ensuing onslaught.
“The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” nearly pulled the upset in the second round, catching Evans in a guillotine on a takedown try. But Evans escaped — by pushing his chin toward the floor and putting his shoulder into Ortiz, he said after the fight.
Evans had Ortiz on the mat again before long. After a minute of ground and pound, Ortiz made it to his knees. But Evans — standing in front of him — threw a knee into his chest, putting him flat on the ground, all but defenseless. A series of a dozen uncontested shots ended it.
“I can’t say enough good things about how good Rashad looked tonight,” UFC president Dana White said.