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Report: Lyoto Machida to fight Rashad Evans at UFC 98

According to a new published report, it appears that Lyoto Machida receive his shot at the UFC light heavyweight title sooner rather than later.

The Britsh tabloid The Sun is reporting that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will be unable to accept an offer to headline UFC 98 on May 23 in Las Vegas against current 205 pound kingpin Rashad Evans. The Sun adds that with Jackson’s hand injury preventing him from fighting at UFC 98, Machida has been tapped to challenge Evans.

It should be noted that the UFC has yet to make an official announcement regarding a replacement main event for UFC 98, which had been slated to be headlined by a title unification match between UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and UFC interim heavyweight champion Frank Mir. Lesnar vs. Mir II was postponed after Mir underwent recent knee surgery.

It is believed that Jackson injured his hand during this past Saturday’s unanimous decision victory over Keith Jardine at UFC 96 in Columbus, Ohio. Soon after the fight, Jackson was approached by UFC President Dana White and offered the opportunity to fight Evans for the title at UFC 98.

In addition to his injured hand, Jackson also recently brought to a light a lingering jaw injury that he sustained in anticipation of his UFC 92 matchup against against Wanderlei Silva back in December.

If The Sun report is true, Jackson will have to sit idle and watch Machida and Evans from the sidelines. While Jackson could possibly face the winner of the fight later in the year, the UFC has yet to make any assurances.

For Machida, a title shot has been a long time coming. The undefeated Brazilian sensation is currently 14-0 with six of his victories having taken place while competing under the UFC banner.

He last fought at UFC 94 where he fought fellow undefeated Brazilian Thiago Silva. Machida won the fight via knockout with just seconds remaining in the first round. Machida also holds notable victories over Tito Ortiz, B.J. Penn, Rich Franklin, Stephan Bonnar and Kazuhiro Nakamura.

43 COMMENTS
  • king mah mah says:

    Thank god! This is the match up I was hoping for. Rashad will finally get my respect if he can beat Machida. Machida was the most deserving one for the title shot anyway. This is great news.

  • king mah mah says:

    P.S. I hope Machida takes the title from that jackass!

  • Dayzah says:

    Rampage has will beat either of them so it doest really matter .. Glad hes getting too rest and heal up.

  • egad81 says:

    Lyoto gets the belt!!! and he will be unbeatable for years

  • fanoftna33 says:

    finally we will see two undfeated fighters go at it for a title, lyoto has not faced a wrestler in his prime like evans yet , who also is extreamly quick i think lyoto will be forced to really exchange a bit in this fight. i cant wait for this, i think both are great fighters with either one making a dominant champion for a while in that division.

  • Brandon says:

    Once again Zuffa opened their big mouth and misfired. Reminds me of the Wanderlei and Chuck incident where he wanted to “#### Chuck” and the nothing came of it.

    Either way this is the most logical match up and Lyoto was deserving of the fight. Now I’m very interested to see what happens, this will be a very even and awesome fight.

    Rashad will most likely need to use his wrestling for this one if he wants to win.

  • wardog says:

    This is a great match up if it pans out. First get the undefeated fighters against each other. Second I think Machida takes Evans out because his style is such a nightmare for people to train for and I think Greg Jackson knows that. Finally, I would rather see Machida and Rampage go at it than Evans, but we would have to wait for that!

  • Vince25 says:

    Looks like Rampage is back on the card again this is gonna be his 2nd time lol

  • JJ Docker says:

    First of all, I live in the UK and the Sun newspaper is a joke. It prints a lot of bullshit, to be frank. I’m not saying they’ve got it wrong here, but by no means is it set in stone.
    As for the potential matchup I still can’t believe people are saying Machida deserves the shot more than Jackson. Machida definitely does deserve a shot, but not as much as Jackson. Who, let me remind everyone, lost the belt in a razor-thin, and somewhat controversial, decision and who has beaten two top LHW’s since. It was Rashad Evans that never deserved a title shot in the first place; and now, due to an overly attacking guard from Forrest Griffin, we find him as the champion of the UFC’s most stacked division, somehow. It should have been Machida or Rampage vs Griffin the night Rashad won the belt, and because the UFC messed that up in favour of an “all TUF” title fight, they messed it up for Jackson and Machida, who have both deserved title shots for a while.
    And as for the fight itself, Machida will beat Evans and convincingly. Evans is a slow starter and he’s been fortunate enough up to this point that no one he has faced has had the technical capability or the power to punish him crucially early (Ortiz, Griffin), but Machida has both of these and will. Either that or it will be the most boring first 3 rounds in the history of the UFC. That’s fine with me as long as Machida doesn’t take too long to do something and winds up losing a close, boring decision by default because you have to “beat” the champ. Machida by 3rd round TKO.
    And then for Jackson vs Machida…
    woah.

  • Big Fat Paulie says:

    Lyoto will hand Evans his ass in a big wad. Machida will become the LHW champ and will remain there for some time barring a fluke win from Evans.

  • AK47 says:

    Oh man, could this be a boring fight. Two of the sports best counterpunchers waiting for the other to make a move.

    As far as who wins, Rashad really sort of lost to Tito, and Machida definitely beat Tito, so I imagine Machida has the edge. Considering what we’ve seen of Machida when he does engage, he might just be the best in the world, and if he’s careful about not trying to make his fights *too* exciting, he could probably beat any LHW out there.

  • detroit_fan says:

    As JJ said I don’t believe anything The Sun reports. It may be Machida, but I will wait untill a legit source reports it.

  • ZP580 says:

    Get off of Machidas nuts. He hasn’t beaten beaten any of the top LHWs in the world. Rashad has beaten 2, Liddell and Griffin. And he beat a Liddell coming off a war with Wandi. He didn’t just beat them, he finished them. As for Machida, his resume is not impressive. He beat a Silva, who has not beaten anybody important. A washed up Ortiz, and not impressively. And Sokoudjou, who cares, he sux. So when he beats Machida via KTFO, you will all still be hatin on Evans.

  • Cathedron says:

    I’m betting this fight will be dull. Both fighters will be waiting for the other fighter to take a big risk and neither will do that because they respect each other too much. Both guys capitalize on the mistakes of their opponents, but Machida tends to keep picking you apart even when you aren’t doing something wrong. My money is on Lyoto by UD.

    Then again, Rashad is becoming the king of “fluke” wins. Every time I bet against him, I lose money. The question is: how many fluke wins can a guy get before I become convinced that it isn’t luck? In my case, if Rashad gets another “fluke” win over Lyoto (who I consider the most technically sound fighter at LHW), I will be unable to come up with any more excuses (though I may still try).

  • Angry Mike says:

    Machida v. Evans will be a great fight. They are both quick, elusive fighters with technical skills. I suspect Rashad will use more wrestling than he’s used in recent fights because that will be an advantage. Even though Machida is a counter puncher, I expect him to initiate exchanges. If he throws combos including kicks, he may have the stand up advantage.

    Rampage will get his title shot in due time. He lost to Forrest, had an entertaining but inconsequential win over Wanderlei, and an unimpressive win over Jardine. He’s not at the front of the line right now. Machida’s undefeated record and impressive ko of Thiago Silva puts him ahead of Rampage, imo.

  • PlagueAngel says:

    Angry Mike knows his MMA. I can’t believe people are not excited for this fight. Two rising stars in the UFC trying to prove their worth to the world! Machida has proven his aggressive and allusive skills which remind me of his training partner Anderson Silvia. They are both explosive and I love it. Expect to see a great gameplan by Rashad and Jackson camp. I believe that Rashad will test Machidas chin…if he can connect!

    Aside from that, does anyone know if Carwin is going to join MMA full time with an elite training camp?

  • Brandon says:

    Carwin is part of Team Jackson and trains full time before his fights.

  • ZP580 says:

    Why do some of u call Evans victories flukes? How is KTFO Chuck Liddell and TKOin Forrest Griffin a fluke? Be real, Machida has never fought any elite competition in the UFC. There isn’t one name on his record that stands out at the time of the fight. He couldn’t finish a BJ Penn that was 30lbs lighter than he is, he earned a TKO over a Rich Franklin that was not yet at his prime, a washed up Tito Ortiz. Thats it, none of these guys at the times of these fights can touch Rashad Evans.

    As for Rampage beating Rashad, not happening. All Rampage has is KO power. If he cant do that, he cant win. Thats why he lost to Griffin and thats why he almost lost to Jardine. He cant KO Evans, he has a good chin, yall forget he won TUF fighting guys with HW power. They may not have had the best skills, but raw power is totally different and he took some shots on that show and in the finale.

    Evans via TKO 3rd round

  • AK47 says:

    But Machido did BEAT Tito, which Rashad did not do. I find it hard to understand how many people overlook what would have been a loss on Rashad’s record if Tito hadn’t grabbed the fence.

  • Angry Mike says:

    … and Machida beat Thiago Silva by devastating ko. The Machida haters predicted he’d lose badly, or win by decision. Silva is no joke, Machida’s win over him moved him way up the ranks.

  • Grappo says:

    Best news in a while. May Machida win and reign for a long, long time. If only to piss off the irrational haters.

  • ZP580 says:

    There is a reason points are deducted. If Ortiz hadnt grabbed the fence and avoided the take down, u dont know what wouldve happened. We all saw what he did to Griffin after a take down. Besides you cant compare each of their fights with Ortiz. Evans went toe 2 toe and Machida danced around err ran. As for Silva, he may not be a joke, but he is a nobody in the UFC, just like the competition he faced to get there. Don’t worry we will see May 23. I’m sure all of u that are sayin that Machida will destroy Rashad are the same haters who thought he would lose to Bisping, Liddell and Griffin.

  • Grappo says:

    ^^

    well he sure kicked Tito’s ass while he was dancing around and running away like a punk, didn’t he?

  • ZP580 says:

    Kicked Tito’s ass? No. Beat Tito? Yes. Now Rashad whooped Liddell and Griffins ass? Yes. Can’t deny that.

  • RoadsideGraphix says:

    I am the first to admit… Rashad Evans is a HEEL (meaning villain) and I dont like him.
    Does that mean I will pay to watch him fight YES… cause I want him to lose.

    As I see it… Rampage is going to rest up and get a shot at the belt when he is ready.

    Lyoto is going to give Evans his hardest test to date.

    The only way I see Lyoto losing is by a nasty KO

    Evans could lose a few different ways. If he trys to wrestle he will get submitted.

    Good Luck Lyoto!!!

  • perfecto says:

    Im with you ZP580 machida hasnt even been through the top ten yet. He hasnt shown anything to me except that he can beat a sloppy slugger tiago silva. If anything the title shot should go to jardine since he was next in line and lost by decision. Machida needs to fight a few more of the light weights before a title shot. I guess Dana is “on his nuts” too.

    As for Evans being reffered to as a rising star, sorry he has already risen. MUCH more than machida. Yeah machida did beat tito by doing the tim silvia run away and jab, while rashad actually fought him and this was before titos new life style with his porn star wife thats gotta f..k with you. Tito has always been up and down he is a bad comparison there is no telling which tito they fought. I dont care for rashad too much but I like to see people actually earn their spot and machida hasnt done that yet.

  • Grappo says:

    Kicked Tito’s ass? No. Beat Tito? Yes.

    I suggest you rewatch that fight with your bias blinders off. Machida- not a mark on him, Tito- beat the F up. Bloodied and bruised. If someone has to be KTFO for you say he got his ass kicked, then I guess Tito wasn’t beat up in your eyes.

    He hasnt shown anything to me except that he can beat a sloppy slugger tiago silva

    He’s shown that he has beaten everyone put in front of him, including Franklin, Bonnar, Ortiz and Silva.

    I can somewhat appreciate if you don’t feel like he has faced the competition to deserve a title shot yet (though I disagree) but saying he hasn’t shown you anything shows more than a little disregard for his skill and achievements.

    He fights who he is matched up with. Can’t fault the guy. He doesn’t pick his matchups. The fact that Dana and Joe Silva are finally giving him his due doesn’t mean that they are “on his nuts.” Calling someone a nuthugger is usually a cheap and lazy way to avoid actual discussion.

  • ZP580 says:

    Well I guess we will see May 23 when Machida is actually tested by a top 10 fighter. Evans has already proven what he can do.

  • perfecto says:

    And where are those guys he beat now with exception of franklin no where. He didnt beat franklin in UFC and couldnt do it now.

  • rlacroix says:

    Did you really say that Lyoto couldn’t knock out Franklin now? How do you figure that? Machida will win and if you have actually watched his fights you will learn he can’t be hit. Dont say “0 bc he runs”, no he AVOIDS!!!! which is the whole point, you know not to get hit!!! Go to youtube and watch his training and some of his brother and training partners talk about him. In Shotokan Karate you don’t strike unless you know you can hit which is what he does….its called being smart. who was the pussy in the Evans-Liddell fight? EVANS! Liddell usually a counter puncher also had to chase him bc he wouldn’t do anything so he got hit. He LOST the TITO fight in all reality and the Bisping fight was very close also. when Tito grabbed the cage he got taken down anyways….So i ask u this question, if the went how it should have and Tito won would Rashad be anything right now? NO! i admit he is good but he should maybe already have 2 losses. Not saying Evans will not win bc im sure he will make Machida chase but unlike the others Machida is smart and wont go wild punching like Liddell. Rashad like everyone else will never get close enough to him to knock him out…………………….bein said i say Lyoto by submission since i havent seen one in a while, that would be funny and awesome. He will be champ for a while bc believe me Rampage has NO chance against Machida

  • Grappo says:

    And where are those guys he beat now with exception of franklin no where. He didnt beat franklin in UFC and couldnt do it now.

    I think he could beat Franklin now, and pretty easily. I don’t know that, of course, but neither do you. There’s a reason Machida is in the top 5 LHW’s on most of the lists I come across, including #1 on this site. Personally I don’t believe he’s earned a #1 spot yet, but I think it’s inevitable.

    Well I guess we will see May 23 when Machida is actually tested by a top 10 fighter.

    Yes we will, and it will be great!

  • perfecto says:

    We shall see i’m not saying machida will definatly lose because nothing is set in stone but rashad has been more impresiveand deserves to fight someone who has worked their way up the ladder more. And if you are going to count all of his previous fights outside of the ufc as credentials for him getting a title shot than they should be listed on the ufc stats dont you think.

  • perfecto says:

    Ok I just watched the fights of machida that may mean anything franklin and penn. I wondered why penn wasnt brought up its because penn won that fight. Penn dominated machida on the ground the first round and then after that had plenty of counters to keep his score up. Not to mention penn fought way out of his weight class and machida still wasnt stronger he is going to have trouble with that. The only thing machida did impressive in that fight is that sweet little back trip nice but then he was all oh no he is down what should i do. I cant stand penn but i felt bad for him he got robbed.

    The franklin fight was a long time ago and that didnt look like that franklin now it was a good hit on the chin anyone can get caught but it was more impressive for machida I still dont think it can happen now but we might see it some day since franklin talks about light heavies sometimes.

    All in all machida still isnt worth all the hype.

    I,m glad someone show machida what tweezers are.

  • screwface says:

    theres a reason tito grabbed the fence like 3 times b4 points were finally deducted. rashad basically broke titos back. grabbin the fence saved tito from havin a loss on his record. and as for machida. i gotta say hes the only fighter whos style has a chance of beating rashad imo. im a huge rashad fan, but i can see this fight goin either way but in a boring decision fashion. still an awesome test to finally shut the haters up, cuz im sure team jackson will put together a gameplan no1 has previously thought of. rampage was shook of rashad imo and no doubt in my mind rashad wouldve knocked him out. machida deserves this opportunity and i wont hate if he wins, but im rootin for rashad. this fight may not be pretty, but it will be one of the best chess matches weve seen in a long time.

  • perfecto says:

    Yeah it was a close fight i personally thought tito won before the point deducts but rashad has grown since then it would be alot different now.

  • rlacroix says:

    you know I hate Tito but if he weren’t such a bitch he still would have a chance in the division….i was thinking before he quit and ran like a baby he fought some great guys and lost closely or should have won (rashad fight). its a shame he is such a baby bc I would still like to see him against some of the people now. Chuck just has his number. Every fighter has that person who can beat them in which case Lyoto’s could be Rashad, we shall see….I liked Rashad a lot before that Liddell fight, but I love Chuck and he fucked him up….Anyways I love Lyoto and I hope he wins by submission that would be the shit

  • RU486 says:

    I have a hard time believing that Rashad can beat Lyoto. Aside from a freakish knockout (if Rashad can actually HIT him), the cards are stacked against Evans. Thiago was a slugger, couldn’t hit Machida, and got KTFO’d. Therefore, Rashads striking game is null and void. Tito was probably very comparable to Rashad skill-wise except for not having the KO power. Tito couldn’t get anywhere near him.

    Anderson Silva has said that Machida gets the best of him when they spar, so I really don’t see Rashad having any luck on this one. His one chance is to shoot (quickly) for a takedown and work the clinch game. He doesn’t want to go to the ground. Machida will submit him. Rashad hasn’t really fought a BJJ based fighter. Machida is a black belt and trains at Black House with Anderson Silva and the Nogueiras. His ground game is rarely seen, but believe me it’s strong coming out of that camp.

  • Grappo says:

    perfecto
    And if you are going to count all of his previous fights outside of the ufc as credentials for him getting a title shot than they should be listed on the ufc stats dont you think.

    Not sure what you mean by UFC stats. Do you mean the fighter stats on the UFC website?

    perfecto
    I wondered why penn wasnt brought up its because penn won that fight. Penn dominated machida on the ground the first round and then after that had plenty of counters to keep his score up. Not to mention penn fought way out of his weight class and machida still wasnt stronger he is going to have trouble with that. The only thing machida did impressive in that fight is that sweet little back trip nice but then he was all oh no he is down what should i do. I cant stand penn but i felt bad for him he got robbed.

    I didn’t mention Penn because BJ was almost 190 in that fight, and Lyoto was out of shape as well. I’m not going to use Penn as an example just because he’s a big name. They were both fat and tired, and it was a sloppy fight.

    That said, I think your assessment of the fight is way off. Penn was not robbed. Watch it again. Penn won the first round. 2nd round, they were about equal with punches, but Machida landed a lot of powerful leg and body kicks, as well as the takedown. 3rd round Penn landed ONE good jab. That was the only strike that really connected on his part. Machida took him down 3 times, landed a few punches, a nasty head stomp, and ate him up with body kicks. The last 2 1/2 minutes they were basically hugging each other. I have no idea how you could honestly believe BJ was robbed. He arguably won the first round, but undoubtedly lost the last 2.

  • Grappo says:

    also, when Penn took him down in the first round, he did NO damage. Machida wasn’t “oh noes, what do I do”, he pulled Penn tight and stopped him from even attempting to strike or sub him.

  • perfecto says:

    Yes Grappo I feel that most of the people here and the ufc are using some of machidas prior out of ufc fights as credentials to get a title shot. I feelin that case that they should list them on The UFC website.

    Like you say the penn fight was sloppy. Isnt the first round longer? Penn was clearly ahead after the first found and then after the second round because no one did much penn is still ahead then on the third round when penn is dead tired machida lands a few good strikes but never puts penn in danger. This puts them at about equal and thinking out side the box had penn in better shape (hard to do when you are out of your weight class) penn would have been tougher. Machida had no excuse being so sloppy and this makes penn look good because he showed he was there to fight. In a decision there is alot more to look at than a flashy head stomp that had no effect. Its everything who wants it more.

    Also RU486 you make machida sound like he has never been hit but in both the franklin and penn fight he got hit. Penn not known for being the best striker. Rashad is faster and has knock out power, machida will get hit. And rashad is a much better striker than tito he can close the gap. He never tried to sub penn and had a hard time getting up. Penn is weeker than rashad and not known for wrestling or holding someone down. This is MMA Rachad trains for jujitsu its not like he has never seen it.

    Oh yeah that sloppy spin kick of machidas could get him in trouble he needs a few lessons from Cung Lee that man can throw kicks.

  • Ryan Seacrest says:

    This is a fight that both guys have something to prove, and shut up the critics. I am glad Rampage took the time to heal but with everyone hating on both fighters, they really could solidify there stance on the best Light Heavy Weight.

    Good Luck to both.

    p.s. C’mon Machida..LOL

  • Grappo says:

    Yes Grappo I feel that most of the people here and the ufc are using some of machidas prior out of ufc fights as credentials to get a title shot. I feelin that case that they should list them on The UFC website.

    That goes for just about every fighter, not just Machida. Think Rampage, Noguiera, CroCop, Wanderlei, Shogun, A. Silva, etc, ad nauseum. Many of them got a title shot in their 2nd UFC fight, providing they won their first. At the very least, they got contenders to face in their 1st or 2nd outings. That’s all about past experience, and UFC.com doesn’t list any of their fights outside the UFC. I agree that the entire resume should be listed (PRIDE especially, since ZUFFA acquired them and they are defunct anyway.) Not saying Machida is on the same level as those guys in terms or accomplishment and recognition, but he had an impressive enough resume coming into the UFC, and it took them entirely too long to give him opponents that could test him. If you think he’s getting special treatment now, maybe they are making up for the fact that they screwed him over to begin with.

    Like you say the penn fight was sloppy. Isnt the first round longer? Penn was clearly ahead after the first found and then after the second round because no one did much penn is still ahead then on the third round when penn is dead tired machida lands a few good strikes but never puts penn in danger. This puts them at about equal and thinking out side the box had penn in better shape (hard to do when you are out of your weight class) penn would have been tougher. Machida had no excuse being so sloppy and this makes penn look good because he showed he was there to fight. In a decision there is alot more to look at than a flashy head stomp that had no effect. Its everything who wants it more.

    No they were three 5-minute rounds.

    You and I just see the fight very differently I guess. I watched it again after your original post and took notes to evaluate it as accurately as possible. I gave the first round to Penn for being more aggressive and landing a couple of big punches and the takedown. He basically blew his gas tank throwing haymakers because he knew he was screwed if he didn’t finish it quick. 2nd round Machida landed a lot more strikes and had a takedown, as well as pretty much controlling the fight. 3rd round Penn didn’t do anything but land one jab and Machida landed punches, kicks and multiple takedowns. How can you deny that, when it’s fact?

    It was a sloppy, boring fight, but neither one of the guys were in top condition, or fighting in the styles that we’re accustomed to seeing from them. Fighters have off-days. That was Machida’s 6th MMA fight. He’s honed his style and improved vastly since then.

    Let me ask you this – If Penn and Machida were to rematch, just how do you think that would go?

  • mu_shin says:

    Found the Machida/Penn fight on line last night after reading this thread. Had seen it before, but wanted to watch again and refresh my memory.

    The fight took place in March of 2005, and the strongest impression I got from watching this match was how far Lyoto Machida has come in the last four years. BJ did a great job against a bigger stronger opponent, and yes, he hit Machida harder than Tito, Thiago Silva, or Soukoudjou were able to, but was clearly outpointed by a faster, more accurate Machida. Leg kicks were a major part of this bout, as Machida scored multiple leg kicks over the course of the fight. Notice at the announcement of the decision, BJ applauds his victorious opponent, in a way that said to me he conceded defeat.

    Comparing the Machida that beat BJ and the fighter that will meet Rashad Evans is a valid part of an in depth analysis, but in my opinion, Lyoto Machida has come light years in the four years since the Penn fight. He displays an almost psychic anticipation of his opponent’s movements, defending successfully against their strikes, but staying within scoring range to counter. Machida picked Tito apart, as anyone who looks at Ortiz’s face following that fight will attest, and we all saw what he did to Thiago Silva.

    Rashad Evans has had a similar evolution since winning TUF. His success against Chuck and Forrest have contributed to his growing confidence, helping Rashad wield a more well rounded repertoire of weapons in the ring, including devastating punching power. The head kick against Sean Salmon had already demonstrated that the fighter previously assumed to be most talented in the wrestling realm had more options at his disposal, and the total knockout of Liddell confirmed the arrival of a potential champion.

    The Machida/Evans match has all the elements of a classic battle, with two ascending fighters at the height of their learning curve, at the peak of their powers. Whatever you think of Machida’s past competition, his unblemished record says he finds a way to win. He’s taken a lot of heat for not being “exciting” enough, for being a “boring” fighter, but I can’t see how a real fan fight would find perfection boring. He displays true martial arts prowess in the MMA ring, in a way that has set him apart as unique among the elite fighters presently active.

    I respect Evans fighting ability, another fighter who has almost always found a way to win, has never been officially defeated in the pro ring, but I favor Machida in this match up. I feel Machida will be able to defend successfully against Evans’ standup striking, and has ground skills to more than match Rashad if it goes to the mat. I see it as a five round decision victory, but Lyoto showed impressive power against Thiago Silva, maybe that will come into play once again. Either way, I think it will be an excellent fight, and Machida is a deserving challenger for Rashad’s title.

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