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Rashad Evans earns shot at UFC title by beating Phil Davis

Rashad Evans left Phil Davis fight Light Heavyweight Bout during an Ultimate Fighting Championship match United Center Saturday Jan. 28

Rashad Evans, left, and Phil Davis fight in a Light Heavyweight Bout during an Ultimate Fighting Championship match at the United Center Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, in Chicago. Evans won by unanimous decision. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: March 1, 2012 8:35AM

“Suga’’ finally earned another title shot.

Rashad Evans defeated Phil Davis by unanimous decision Saturday at UFC on FOX before a sellout crowd of 17,425 at the United Center.

The former UFC light-heavyweight champion first gained another title shot in May 2010, but one injury after another forced him to wait for another chance. Evans hurt his knee, then his thumb. When he was healthy, a hand injury to champion Jon Jones interfered with another potential title matchup.

Now the timing is finally right. He will face Jones at UFC 145 on April 21 in Atlanta.

‘‘I’m excited to get the opportunity to finally fight Jon and give the people the fight they want to see,’’ Evans said.

The Chicago-based Evans
(17-1-1, 12-1-1 UFC) outslugged Davis in a five-round stand-up battle. He controlled the action and was never in danger, but he couldn’t finish his opponent, as he would have liked.

‘‘I wanted to put on a little more spectacular win for the Chicago fans and Fox fans,’’ Evans said. ‘‘I didn’t do it like I wanted to. At the same time, I got the job done. I can’t be too overly critical.’’

Davis (9-1, 5-1 UFC) never was able to gain any traction in the match. He often punctuated stand-up exchanges with kicks, but Evans eventually was able to gauge Davis’ timing, catch his leg and deliver a blow.

All three judges scored each round for Evans.

In the co-main event, the ever-loquacious Chael Sonnen earned his much-desired rematch against middleweight champion Anderson Silva with a unanimous-decision victory against Michael Bisping.

Sonnen’s acerbic personality and fast-running mouth often make him the heel. But when he faced Bisping — perhaps the second-most-hated UFC fighter — he became a crowd favorite.

‘‘When you’re the greatest fighter in the world today, they’ve got a name for you,’’ the ever-modest Sonnen said. ‘‘They don’t call you a great fighter; they call you Chael Sonnen.’’

Sonnen (27-11-1, 6-4 UFC) controlled the match by scoring several takedowns, but he was unable to finish Bisping (22-4, 12-4 UFC) despite nearly pulling off a rear-naked choke and an arm triangle in the third round.

On the undercard, hometown heavyweight Mike Russow delighted the partisan crowd by grinding out a unanimous-decision victory against John-Olav Einemo.

‘‘I can’t believe I’m 4-0 in the UFC right now,’’ said Russow, a Chicago police officer. ‘‘It’s unbelievable to have this fight in my hometown and to have the fans cheering for me.’’

Russow (15-1, 1 no-contest, 4-0 UFC) is most happy fighting on the ground, working for a submission. He didn’t achieve the submission, but he controlled Einemo (6-3, 0-2 UFC) throughout.

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