International Man of Mystery
David Evans easily cleared the first hurdle in his pro career.
Evans kicked off the main card of last weekend's Shamrock FC 318 with a quick submission of Sergio Robles. The fight marked a return to the area for the 25-year-old Evans, who built up quite the amateur resume fighting nationally and internationally.
Five fights into his amateur career, Evans began competing for both the National and International Mixed Martial Arts Federations. Organizations that sees itself as a democratic hubs for national MMA federations that also supports the growth of regulation and sports safety globally. Evans, who competed at both bantamweight and featherweight, won both National gold and International silver and bronze during his stint as a three-time IMMAF Team USA team member.
His decision to go the IMMAF route instead of building his fight game locally came from mimicking two of the most successful pugilists of all time.
“First and foremost, I took a look at myself and my goals and decided, hey I do want to be the best fighter in the world,” Evans said. “So I look at the best examples, and for me it was the best boxers in the world. Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, before those guys turned pro, they had 100-plus amateur fights and fortunately I came across IMMAF, which was a platform that allowed me to fight multiple times.”
The IMMAF allowed Evans to ratchet up his number of appearances.
“It is so regulated and safe to where you can do that and not take as much damage,” Evans said. “I figured, why not. I started off here locally. I had a lot of wins here locally. I had an upset loss here locally. The only difference was the consistency in the competition. You're fighting every day. You're fighting some of the best fighters from their country. You're fighting fighters who are amateurs who are backed by their government who get paid to train, essentially. That experience is what sets him apart from other people.
Prior to Shamrock FC 318, Evans had been out of action since November 2017 due to an injury in his last amateur fight. The injury was a shoulder issue, which has plagued Evans throughout this competitive career. He was a standout wrestler for Parkway North but shoulder injuries at the very end of both his junior and senior campaigns derailed what were guaranteed placements somewhere on the medal stand at the Missouri State Wrestling Championships.
To make it to his pro debut, Evans went all-in on his recovery.
“Just the journey to get back here just required so much from me. I wouldn't have gotten here today and I wouldn't have been 100-percent if I wasn't training full time, both mentally and physically speaking,” he said.
Evans was well into his amateur - two fights into his IMMAF – career when he returned to St. Louis in December 2015. At Shamrock: Ultimate. Evans faced Cortavious Romious for the SFC amateur featherweight title and 24 seconds into the bout, Romious connected on spinning wheel kick that knocked out Evans. The clip went viral and SFC has used it on multiple occasions as a promotional tool,
“Cortavious is a very tough fighter and I will never take that win away from him,” Evans said. “Ultimately, it was one of those days were it wasn't my day. It wasn't my day before I stepped into the cage but that's the risk you take in this game. It's all or nothing. After that fight, that next fight following that, was the most comfortable I ever felt in the Octagon. It was just an experience. It made me who I am as a fighter today.”
During this journey, Evans has benefited from the mentorship of St. Louis' own, Tyron Woodley. Woodley, a former UFC welterweight champion, has excelled not only in the competitive realm, but outside it as well, becoming a successful television personality while also dabbling in music and the motion picture industry.
“I understand that not a lot of people get to be in my shoes,” Evans said. “The biggest thing that Tyron has done for me is let me watch, let me be a passenger.”
Woodley never passes out easy solutions to Evans but he's allowed him to be there and observe and learn the ins and outs of martial arts and life and how to balance it.
“Being around him has been an experience you can't really put a number on,” Evans said.
Evans has not only trained out of Woodley's ATT Evolution in St. Louis for numerous year, but has also tagged along to Wisconsin when “The Chosen One” puts in work at his home away from home, Roufusport. For his pro debut, Evans spent all of his time at Roufusport and by the looks of things, is going to switch up months between the two.
Evans has signed a contract with Shamrock FC with a plan to go forward, stay busy and stay active and ultimately shape out his career to get to the top.
Everything about tonight was just amazing,” Evans said. “Ultimately, the adjustment wasn't much for me. Every day, I train to be a UFC champion. I train to be the best in the world.”