After an unsuccessful, two-fight run in the UFC middleweight division, former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans will return to the light heavyweight division. Though the former champ was briefly linked to a showdown with former UFC middleweight champ Michael Bisping, he will instead welcome former middleweight Anthony Smith to the light heavyweight division at UFC 225, on June 9 in Chicago. This bout was first reported by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
In his two fights in the UFC middleweight division, Evans lost controversial split decisions to Sam Alvey and Dan Kelly. His two next most recent bouts, which occurred at light heavyweight, also resulted in losses, as he was knocked out by Glover Teixeira and decisioned by current Bellator champ Ryan Bader. Evans’s last win occurred in November of 2013, when he defeated current Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix competitor Chael Sonnen by first-round TKO. Evans is 19-7-1 overall.
Smith, meanwhile, is set to debut in the light heavyweight division after an action-packed TKO loss to rising middleweight contender Thiago Santos. This loss was preceded by consecutive (T)KO wins over Hector Lombard, Andrew Sanchez, and Elvis Mutapcic, a loss to Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira and a decision win over Leonardo Augusto Guimarães in his UFC debut. Smith is 28-13 in sum.
UFC 225 is expected to be headlined by a middleweight title rematch between champion Robert Whittaker, and challenger Yoel Romero, as first reported by BJPenn.com’s own Chris Taylor.
The card will also feature a heavyweight title between Alistair Overeem and Curtis Blaydes, as first reported by BJPenn.com’s Tom Taylor.
Other features of the card announced so far include a flyweight bout between former title challenger Joseph Benavidez and Sergio Pettis, and a strawweight bout between former champion Carla Esparza, and former title challenger Claudia Gadelha.
How do you think Rashad Evans will perform in his return to the light heavyweight division?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/12/2018.