Halfway through last night’s title fight between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Dan (I guess we’re calling him “Dangerous” now?) Henderson, I couldn’t help but wonder i f maybe both these guys had something important to do after the bout. It was as if neither wanted to take a chance on expending too much energy by really trying for the finish, despite the fact that this was supposed to be the big time title unification bout.
I could understand a somewhat slow pace in the first round. Feeling one another out is normal, and the match was scheduled for five rounds, which is a long time just to keep your hands up in front of your face. But neither of these two really seemed to go for broke at any point.
The closest either came was a couple of heavy flurries from Jackson and a couple of attempted kimura locks from Henderson (though he seemed more interested in using them to reverse position than as a submission). Several times Henderson gained side mount only to wait for Jackson to escape.
In the fifth round I really expected to see at least Henderson – who had to know he was behind on the scorecards, what with Matt Lindland yelling at him between rounds – take a risk and try to make something big happen.
That moment never came, and Jackson got a hard-earned decision. A drop to middleweight is the best course for Hendo now. The size and strength difference is evident.
As for Jackson, he looked like a real fighter for the first time in a long time. No longer relying on pure aggression and power, he showed some technique and some poise. Maybe having a steady training camp and little more maturity with age is paying off.
Next stop: rematch with “Shogun” Rua?
“Cro Cop” Fizzles
I think it’s finally time to put to rest the notion that Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is among the world’s most feared strikers. Cheick Kongo easily handled him for three rounds and only seemed to gain confidence with each failed high kick from the Croatian.
(Note to UFC commentator Mike Goldberg: I understand why you went out of your way to say that “Cro Cop” was a one-time member of the Croatian Parliament, and that it’s a governmental body equivalent to the U.S. Senate, but even you had to realize how silly you sounded.)
It’s going to be hard for the UFC to know what to do with “Cro Cop” now. There simply isn’t a good match-up out there for him anymore. They may try to put him against somebody they want to get over with the fans, but it’s debatable whether “Cro Cop” has any heat left at all after this showing.
Bisping Gets Hometown Love
The worst decision of the night came in the light heavyweight bout between TUF winner Michael Bisping and deaf former college wrestling champion Matt Hamill.
(Another note to Goldberg: Did you really say that the Div. III champion Hamill was the most decorated wrestler to enter the Octagon in a long time? Really? Somewhere Josh Koscheck is pissed, and Matt Lindland just shakes his head and shrugs at Randy Couture and Dan Henderson.)
Hamill looked better than ever, particularly in his striking game and stand-up defense. With his natural ability he could end up being a serious contender at 205 lbs. someday, though he’s still unable to do much on the mat after the takedown. Bisping was a game fighter from beginning to end, but he didn’t deserve the split decision victory and had the fight taken place in any other country, he wouldn’t have gotten it.
Now I know how Brazilians feel when they fight in the U.S.
Yet again we see judge Cecil Peoples on the wrong end of a bad decision. Granted, one other judge saw it the same way, but Peoples is a repeat offender. I mean, he must be bad because he’s the only MMA judge I can even name. It’s getting to the point where fighters who’ve just put on a strong performance have to feel a little sick when they hear the phrase, “and judge Cecil Peoples scores the bout…”
Seriously, someone ought to go stand by Peoples and make sure he’s really watching the fights. Maybe give him pop quizzes throughout just to keep his attention, and not just on the fight at hand either. Let’s see if he can judge any dispute between two conflicting parties.
Quick, Cecil, who won World War II?
It’s either that, or let’s get a more competent judge in there. I’m thinking maybe one of those chickens that can play Tic-Tac-Toe. I hear they work cheap.