In the UFC light heavyweight division, one of the most talented weight classes in all of mixed martial arts, every bout is a super fight. This will never be more evident than on Saturday, May 23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena when champion ‘Sugar’ Rashad Evans defends his crown for the first time against fellow unbeaten Lyoto ‘The Dragon’ Machida in the main event of UFC 98. The Evans vs. Machida bout replaces the originally scheduled heavyweight championship bout between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir, which has been postponed due to injury. Current top contender Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, who will undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair ligament damage in his jaw, will face the winner of Evans vs. Machida at a future date.
Tickets for UFC 98: EVANS VS. MACHIDA priced at $800, $600, $400, $250, $125 and $75, not including applicable service charges, are now on sale at the MGM Grand Garden Arena box office and all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). Ticket sales are limited to 10 per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.ufc.com, www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
“With 32 wins and no losses between them, this may end up being one of the most memorable UFC title fights of all time,” said UFC President Dana White. “Neither guy has learned how to lose yet, and I’m interested to see if Rashad is the first fighter to figure out Machida’s style, as well as if Machida can withstand the striking power and wrestling of Rashad. The winner of this one is truly the best 205-pounder on the planet.”
In the UFC 98 co-feature, former UFC welterweight champions Matt Hughes and Matt “The Terror” Serra finally meet in one of the most highly anticipated grudge matches in UFC history. This has been a feud for years in the making, one that escalated during the two 170-pound standouts’ stint as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter. However, on May 23, all the talk is over and Hughes and Serra will get their chance to settle their score in the Octagon.
One of the rare unbeaten fighters at the elite level of the game, “Sugar” Rashad Evans (18-0-1) has achieved this remarkable feat with a mix of precision striking, world-class wrestling and an unyielding will to win. A native of Niagara Falls, N.Y., the 29-year-old Evans is just approaching his prime, a scary thought considering that he already has defeated the likes of Michael Bisping, Stephan Bonnar and Jason Lambert. He had a year to remember in 2008 with knockout wins over Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, the latter earning him the UFC light heavyweight title in December.
Evans said, “This is my time to shine. I worked hard to get this title and I’m not about to give it up now. I’ve got a lot of respect for Machida and I know we’re going to give the fans a great fight, but I also know that he’s going to bring out the best of me on May 23, and that’s going to be a sight to see.”
A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Shotokan Karate, one of the most unique styles in mixed martial arts today, Brazil’s Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (14-0) has barely been challenged thus far in his professional career; with wins over Rich Franklin, BJ Penn, Bonnar, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Sokoudjou and Tito Ortiz filling his perfect record. In addition to his technical brilliance, the 30-year-old Machida also showed his fire in his last bout on January 31, knocking out Thiago Silva in spectacular fashion at UFC 94. Now he sets his sights on Evans.
Machida said, “Rashad Evans is a great champion and it will be an honor to face him in the Octagon. I’ve been training my entire life for this moment and I will fight with everything I have to take the belt and become a world champion.”
Also announced for UFC 98 are the following bouts: Yushin Okami vs Dan Miller, Sean Sherk vs. Frankie Edgar, James Irvin vs. Drew McFedries, Houston Alexander vs. Andre Gusmao, Patrick Barry vs. Tim Hague, Phillipe Nover vs. Kyle Bradley, Dave Kaplan vs. George Roop and Yoshiyuki Yoshida vs. Brandon Wolff.
UFC 98: EVANS VS. MACHIDA will be available live on pay-per-view beginning at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, DISH Network, TVN, Bell ExpressVu, Shaw Communications and Viewer’s Choice Canada for a suggested retail price of $44.95 for standard definition or high-definition broadcasts (where available).