When Rolles Gracie awarded former light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans prior to UFC 108 many eyebrows were raised.
After all Evans came from a wrestling background and his six year career was notably lacking in any real evidence of genuine jiu-jitsu prowess.
BJJ world champion Braulio Estima admits to being one such skeptic, but after having spent time on the mat with Evans he’s changed his mind.
“When I knew Rolles have given him the black belt I also thought about it for a while,” Estima tells Sensei Sportv. “But then I went there and I saw it. He’s on a black belt level, he’s good. Man, I can say for sure I’ve trained with over 50 black belts that he could actually kill. I swept, caught him, but I’m on my best and I only do this. He knows how to sweep and passes the guard very well, he’s very good.”
There’s no doubt Evans has come a long way since winning The Ultimate Fighter season 2. The developments in his striking game over the years has been clear to see, resulting in some impressive highlight reel finishes.
Though we haven’t seen much of it yet, if someone like Estima is impressed with his BJJ then that might just give his upcoming opponents some sleepless nights.
Speaking of which, Evans is currently sitting patiently on the sidelines further honing his skills while awaiting his title shot with Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua next year when the Brazilian recovers from knee surgery.