UFC on FOX 2

Published on Jan. 25 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

The Ultimate Fighting Championship will make its second appearance on national television Saturday night when the UFC on FOX 2 takes place in Chicago at the United Center. The main event will feature former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans taking on the unbeaten Phil Davis in a battle of former Big Ten wrestlers.

Most betting shops are listing Evans as a minus-170 favorite with ‘Mr. Wonderful’ available on the comeback for a plus-140 payout (risk $100 to win $140).

Evans, a Michigan St. product who is the No. 1 contender in the 205-pound division, will get a shot at the belt and Jon ‘Bones Jones with a victory. However, there has been chatter that if Evans needs time to recover from this fight that Jones might defend his title at UFC 145 in Atlanta against Dan Henderson.

But if Evans emerges unscathed with a quick finish, he will most likely get Jones at Philips Arena, the same venue where he scored a thrilling second-round knockout of Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell at UFC 88. No matter what, Evans will get a title shot with a victory; it’s just a matter of when that will happen.

Due to injuries to both himself and other opponents, Evans (16-1-1 MMA, 11-1-1 UFC) hasn’t been nearly as active as he would’ve liked to have been lately. In fact, this will be just his fourth fight in the last 25 months.

When Evans has entered the Octagon, however, he’s been on his game with wins over Tito Ortiz (2nd-round KO), Rampage Jackson (unanimous decision) and Thiago Silva (unanimous dec.).

Davis (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) was originally slate to face Evans in the main event at UFC 133 in Philadelphia. However, a knee injury forced him to pull out of the bout. The Penn St. product will be returning to the cage for the first time since beating Little Nog by unanimous decision in Seattle on March 26.

Davis also has wins over Brian Stann, Alexander Gustafsson, Rodney Wallace and Tim Boetsch.

In the co-main event, Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping will collide for the right to face Anderson Silva for the 185-pound crown. Sonnen has been installed as an expensive minus-450 ‘chalk’ at most spots, while Bisping is a generous plus-350 underdog (risk $100 to win $350).

Sonnen (26-11-1 MMA, 5-4 UFC) was dominant in his return to the Octagon on Oct. 8 at UFC 136, submitting Brian Stann early in the second round after using his wresting to completely neutralize Stann’s dynamic striking skills.

Bisping (22-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) has won four consecutive fights since dropping a decision to Wanderlei Silva at UFC 110 on Feb. 20 of 2010. The Brit is coming off a third-round KO win over Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller at The Ultimate Fighter 14 finale.

Mark Munoz was scheduled to face Sonnen, but he had to pull out in order to have 24 bone chips removed from his elbow. Munoz expected to be sidelined for at least another month.

Bisping was initially going to take on Demian Maia, who will now face Chris Weidman. Most spots are listing Weidman as a minus-150 favorite, while Maia is a plus-130 underdog.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

–Most books opened the UFC 143 main event as a pick ‘em (minus-115 either way). However, the money has come in fast and furious on Nick Diaz, who is now minus-170 at most spots. Carlos ‘The Natural Born Killer’ Condit is a plus-140 underdog.

–According to Sportsbook.com Senior Oddsmaker Mike Perry, 73 percent of bets have been made on Diaz by the website’s players.

–Jake Ellenberger will fight in his hometown of Omaha (shout-out to 1620 The Zone!) when he squares off against Diego Sanchez in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 1 on Feb. 15. BetOnFighting.com has Ellenberger listed as a minus-275 ‘chalk’ with Sanchez marked as the plus-215 underdog (risk $100 to win $215).

–Jake Shields will try to get back into the win column at UFC 144 against Yoshihiro Akiyama.

–I split my two picks this past Saturday night for the UFC on FX 1 card. I had Pat Barry for a winner at a minus-155 price in his first-round KO of Christian Morecraft. I lost my play on Melvin Guillard as a plus-155 underdog in his first-round submission loss to Jim Miller. Guillard was in control of the fight, flooring Miller early with a big right hand that he followed up with strikes galore. But Miller weathered the storm and when Guillard tried a flying knee that missed, Miller scored the takedown. From there, he patiently worked for better position, eventually took Guillard’s back and choked him out for a nice bounce-back win in a crucial 155-pound showdown. This was a crushing loss for Guillard, who appeared poised for a title shot before his stunning loss to Joe Lauzon. With back-to-back defeats, the New Orleans native now has a long way to go to get back in the picture in the lightweight loop.

–Sportsbook.com has released a plethora of proposition bets and here’s one I like: Evans to win inside the distance for a +160 payout (risk $100 to win $160).

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