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U.S. debut of Khabib Nurmagomedov's Eagle FC to feature Rashad Evans' return to fighting

·Combat columnist
·2 min read
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Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s first U.S. card for his Eagle FC fight promotion will lure a UFC Hall of Famer out of retirement.

Former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans will end a retirement to fight an opponent to be named on Eagle FC 44 on Jan. 28 in Miami, Yahoo Sports has learned exclusively. ESPN first reported that the card would be headlined by a heavyweight bout between Antonio “Big Foot” Silva and Tyrone Spong.

Evans retired on June 25, 2018, ending a career in which he won "The Ultimate Fighter" at heavyweight and became UFC light heavyweight champion. But it did not end well for Evans, who lost his last five fights and seven of his last nine.

He dropped down to middleweight and lost two bouts, before moving back up to light heavyweight and losing to Anthony Smith in 53 seconds of the first round. He retired after that bout.

Nurmagomedov has been running his promotion in Russia, but has been planning to run shows in the U.S. for a while.

He’s relying on familiar names in his U.S. debut, though there is baggage.

The 42-year-old Silva has lost six in a row and eight of nine. He’ll fight Spong, a close friend of Evans’ who is 14-0 as a boxer, 107-7-1 as a kickboxer but only 2-0 as an MMA fighter. Spong hasn’t fought in MMA since 2013.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 05:  Rashad Evans is inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame during the UFC Hall of Fame Class of 2019 Induction Ceremony inside The Pearl at The Palms Casino Resort on July 5, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Rashad Evans is inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame inside The Pearl at The Palms Casino Resort on July 5, 2019, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)