Rampage Jackson and Frank Mir may be two old dogs in the yard, but they don’t appear ready to roll over for the next generation of fighters. Dominant performances at UFC 130 have put both men back in the championship mix for the first time in over a year.
[adinserter block=”1″]For a guy that didn’t seem interested in fighting Matt Hamill, Rampage Jackson came out focused and ready. Hamill brought the same game plan he used with success against Tito Ortiz to UFC 130 and Jackson was ready. Rampage stuffed every takedown attempt by Hamill and looked great in Round 1. Rampage connected with strikes every time Hamill went for the takedown and frustrated the former TUF competitor. Rampage was closing in for the kill with strikes as the first round ended. Hamill had no answers for Rampage’s takedown defense.
Matt Hamill came out in round two looking continuing to shoot for takedowns. Rampage not only continued to stuff his takedowns, but pepper him with strikes on the breaks. Rampage went to town with some vicious body shots and knees to Hamill. Hamill looked in trouble again as the round ended. Hamill just had no answers for Rampage while Jackson certainly did his homework.
Jackson continued to tee off on Hamill in the third round. Hamill got a couple of body locks but wasn’t able to do anything with them. Hamill continued to attempt takedowns while Rampage continued stuffing them. By this point it was getting a little ridiculous. Try something else! Rampage continued to beat Hamill up with knees and strikes but was unable to finish him off. Jackson tried to engage several times throughout the fight with little avail. Regardless, it was a mismatch and that was evident about 30 seconds into the fight. It was all Jackson as Rampage got the win via unanimous decision.
Rampage was booed during the post fight interview for the lack of action. Jackson apologized to the fans and told them that he came into the fight with a fractured hand. Jackson praised Hamill for being tough and told the fans he wanted to knock him out. On a scale of 1-10, Jackson gave himself a five for his performance. I’d give him more of a seven, but hey who’s counting?
Jackson is now riding the first two-fight win streak in two years. UFC president Dana White told the MMA media that Jackson and Lyoto Machida were in consideration for the next title shot at Jon Jones. I can’t fathom Machida getting the fight over Rampage. While neither man is coming off what I would call a big win, Jackson did beat Machida back at UFC 123. Although the severity of the fractured hand could keep Jackson the shelf long enough to justify giving Machida the title fight.
As great as Jackson looked tonight, it has been two and a half years since Jackson has knocked anyone out and that was Keith Jardine. Jackson has gone the distance in his last four fights, which will hurt his marketability as a challenger against Jones. On the other hand, Jackson is one of the best talkers in the UFC and could talk his way into one of the biggest fights of the year. Machida vs. Jones is certainly the more intriguing fight, but Jones vs. Rampage has the chance to do big business if both guys do the right amount of talking.
The heavyweight collision between Frank Mir vs. Roy Nelson was also about as one sided as it gets. The former UFC heavyweight champion dominated the former IFL champion for the better part of three rounds. Mir took Nelson down at will and even appeared to have his way with the grappling great on the ground. Nelson looked gassed after a fairly competitive Round 1 whereas Mir kept coming through the entire fight. It was the best Mir looked since he defeated Cheick Kongo.
Nelson was in his typical shape but he just seemed to tire earlier than usual. I don’t know what it was but he was completely outclassed by Mir for the better part of three rounds. On paper I thought this one would be more even, but it was a complete schooling by Mir. Nelson had no answer for Mir’s double leg takedown throughout the fight. Although if there is one thing I can say for Nelson it is that his chin remains unbelievable. Mir nailed him with a few knees during the fight that would have knocked out most men. Nelson on the other hand brushed them off and kept coming.
The win puts Mir in a great position right now with a UFC heavyweight division in peril. Former champion Brock Lesnar is out until 2012. The current champion Cain Velasquez is out until October at the earliest, most likely November. Shane Carwin and Junior dos Santos will be fighting next week at UFC 131 for a title shot at Velasquez. If the winner somehow gets injured in training or suffers a lengthy injury next week, Mir would be first in line to take the fight. And with the recent rash of injuries in the UFC, it would not shock me at all to see Mir fighting Velasquez in the fall.
MMA reporter Loretta Hunt reported on Twitter that Frank Mir went the hospital with a broken jaw after the event. I have to admit that I was surprised to read that as I can’t seem to recall Nelson rocking Mir hard enough during the fight to break the jaw. Regardless, this could put Mir out of action for quite some time depending upon the severity of the injury.
Roy Nelson isn’t in any danger of getting cut but it really is time for him to step up and get in better shape. He may have been able to get away with the belly for most of his career but he is getting older and is now matched up against elite competition. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Dana White demand that Nelson get in better shape or find himself on the outside looking in. Nelson is still a very popular fighter so he isn’t getting cut, but it is pretty embarrassing at this point to see someone that looks like Nelson co-headlining a major UFC event.
[adinserter block=”1″]In other UFC news, Dana White announced that former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar had surgery to combat his second battle with diverticulitis. The UFC president revealed that Lesnar had 12 inches of his colon removed as part of the surgery. White said he expects Brock Lesnar to return to fighting in 2012 if all goes well. Depending upon what happens with Junior dos Santos, Shane Carwin, and Cain Velasquez, Lesnar’s next fight could be a heavily anticipated third fight against Frank Mir although making any predictions is admittedly premature at this point.
Full UFC 130: Rampage vs. Hamill results…
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson defeated Matt Hamill via unanimous decision
Frank Mir def. Roy Nelson via unanimous decision
Travis Browne def. Stefan Struve via KO (Superman Punch) – R1, 4:11
Rick Story def. Thiago Alves via unanimous decision
Brian Stann def. Jorge Santiago via TKO (punches) – R2, 4:29
Demetrious Johnson def. Miguel Torres via unanimous decision
Tim Boetsch def. Kendall Grove via unanimous decision
Gleison Tibau def. Rafaello Oliveira via submission (rear-naked choke) – R2, 3:28
Michael McDonald def. Chris Cariaso via split decision
Renan Barao def. Cole Escovedo via unanimous decision
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