37-year-old Tim Kennedy is the hand-picked opponent that former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans will be facing at UFC 205 on November 12 next month at Madison Square Garden in New York. The 37-year-old Evans specifically asked for Kennedy to fight him despite the fact that he’s been out of the MMA sport for the last two years since losing to Yoel Romero by a 3rd round TKO at UFC 178 in September 2014.
What makes it even more interesting is that Kennedy worked with Evans in the past to prepare him for one of his matches, so the two of them know each other quite well. Just why Evans would want to fight Kennedy of all people rather than someone he doesn’t know is the big question. Kennedy plans on making the most of his opportunity by beating Evans. He feels that Evans’ ability to take head shots have diminished.
Evans was knocked out in the 1st round in his last match against Glover Teixeira at UFC on Fox on April 16 of this year. That was Evans’ second straight loss. He was beaten by Ryan Bader by a three round decision at UFC 192 in October 2015. Evans had problems with the grappling ability of Bader in that fight.
Kennedy thinks that Evans hasn’t been doing the work he needs to in terms of his wrestling skills, which is why Bader was able to get the better of him in that department. It’s not surprising that Bader was able to get the better of Evans in the wrestling department, beause he was a far superior wrestler in high school. Bader was a two-time state wrestling champion in high school. The highest that Evans placed in high school was 4th.
Bader went on to win three Pac 10 wrestling championships. Evans never did anything like that. Losing to a wrestler like Bader would seem like an automatic thing, because there was no way that Evans would ever beat someone like that without taking him out with punches, which he couldn’t do.
Kennedy feels he’ll be able to give Evans problems with his punching and his wrestling at UFC 205.
Kennedy doesn’t think that Evans is over the hill as a fighter, but he does think he’s not the same fighter that he was in the past.
“No, his chin has diminished,” Kennedy said to MMAfighting.com about Evans. “You know, he can’t take the shots he used to. His wrestling, you know, Ryan Bader exposed that he hasn’t been putting the work in. He knows I’m going to be moving forward as a wrestler, he knows I’m going to come forward with big heavy hands, so if there is a moment where he makes a mistake, I’m going to capitalize on it and hurt him.”