In a night that was originally supposed to feature the rematch between Gray Maynard and current UFC Lightweight Champion, Frankie Edgar (both had to pull out due to injuries), the pressure of putting on an exciting and entertaining show at UFC 130 immediately fell onto the shoulders of both co-headliners, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Matt “the Hammer” Hamill.
In hindsight, perhaps that was a little too much to expect from them.
“I give my performance a five out of ten tonight,” said Rampage Jackson in his post-fight interview with UFC commentator, Joe Rogan.
Yeah, that sounds about right to me.
In case you missed the fight, let me just say that it wasn’t very entertaining.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “boring,” but it’s never a good sign for any organization when the fans in attendance start booing the main event. Also, it’s an even worse sign when the fans continue to boo the winner of a unanimous decision during his post-fight interview.
But Rampage being “Rampage,” seemed to take it all in stride, and quickly apologized to the fans for his “okay” but very ineffective and predictable performance. The booing did continue to enhance slightly however, once Rampage finally admitted that he entered into this fight with a pre-existing, fractured hand.
Instead of taking this gesture as a symbol of courage (fighting through the pain), my guess is that by booing, the fans were basically saying, “true or not, we’re sick of hearing excuses for bad performances.”
But then again, you can’t place all of the blame directly onto Rampage. Both he and Hamill were equally responsible for putting on completely lacklustre and disappointing performances this evening.
Overall, I would have to say that throughout most of the three rounds, Rampage’s movements seemed very tense and mechanical. Even though he demonstrated excellent takedown defense against a very seasoned wrestler, Rampage basically stuck to his highly criticized, one-dimensional game-plan of moving forward, only looking to set up that one big knockout shot that never really seemed to present itself.
Well actually, that’s not entirely true. Rampage certainly had the opportunities to remove Hamill’s head from the rest of his body, but Hamill proved himself to be one tough S.O.B. who wasn’t about to go down easily (or at all).
And not to get too far off topic, but whatever happened to the idea that fighters should continuously evolve in this sport in order to stay relevant? I mean, if Fedor Emelianenko can fall from grace, certainly someone like Rampage Jackson can’t be far from extinction.
Fans love Jackson because he is the perfect combination of intimidation mixed with humour (despite the fact that he seems to take himself way too seriously most of the time). In general, he is considered by many to be a very likeable guy with a multitude of talents (are playing video games considered a talent?).
Looking back, it seems like yesterday that Rampage was my favourite fighter in Pride, as he was an absolute beast when it came to punching power and slamming guys onto their heads. It was the first time that I really felt like someone had taken the dynamic movements from professional wrestling entertainment, and turned them into effective fighting weapons inside of a martial arts competition.
I loved it!
But that was then and this is the now.
It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen that “Rampage” in the cage, and I have to think that his demise all started when he lost his UFC championship to Forrest Griffin.
So what’s it going to take to restore that level of motivation and enthusiasm that Rampage once had for this sport?
Is it even possible?
Perhaps the answer is in his next opponent (and no, I don’t think that Rampage deserves a title shot with Jon Jones just yet).
I propose that Rampage Jackson should have to fight the winner between Forrest Griffin (his old nemesis) and Shogun Rua (recently removed champion whom Rampage has never fought before) who are both currently scheduled to face each other at UFC 134 on August 27.
Although three months (plus the additional time required in order to prepare for a fight between Rampage and the decided winner) might seem like a very long time to wait, it really shouldn’t be an issue when you consider that Jackson has only had four fights in the last two years.
Gee...I wonder what caused that?
These are my opinions. If you don’t like them...I have others. Check them out at www.mrjamesryan.com
Also, here are the rest of the results from UFC 130 in case you missed them:
Preliminary Card (Facebook)
Bantamweight bout: Renan Barão vs. Cole Escovedo
Barão defeated Escovedo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Bantamweight bout: Michael McDonald vs. Chris Cariaso
McDonald defeated Cariaso via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Lightweight bout: Gleison Tibau vs. Rafaello Oliveira
Tibau defeated Oliveira via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:28 of round 2
Submission of the Night
Preliminary Card (Spike TV)
Middleweight bout: Kendall Grove vs. Tim Boetsch
Boetsch defeated Grove via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Bantamweight bout: Miguel Torres vs. Demetrious Johnson
Johnson defeated Torres via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Middleweight bout: Brian Stann vs. Jorge Santiago
Stann defeated Santiago via TKO (punches) at 4:29 of round 2
Fight of the Night
Welterweight bout: Thiago Alves vs. Rick Story
Story defeated Alves via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
*My personal pick for Fight of the Night
Heavyweight bout: Stefan Struve vs. Travis Browne
Browne defeated Struve via KO (superman punch) at 4:11 of round 1
Knockout of the Night
Heavyweight bout: Frank Mir vs. Roy Nelson
Mir defeated Nelson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Light Heavyweight bout: Quinton Jackson vs. Matt Hamill
Jackson defeated Hamill via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).