Quinton Jackson didn't come to Japan ready to fight and it cost him in what he hoped would be a triumphant return. The former PRIDE legend and UFC light heavyweight champ didn't make weight on Friday. When it came time to show his stamina and athleticism, "Rampage" just didn't have it.
Behind a solid clinch game and wrestling, Ryan Bader pulled what turned out to be a mild upset, via unanimous decision, 30-27 on all three cards.
Jackson was a minus-250 favorite in the lead up to the fight. When he showed up at the weigh-in looking soft and tipping the scales at 211 pounds, bettors pounded the Bader side. They were right. Jackson explained that his weight miss was due to an injury during training camp that "kept him from doing his roadwork." Jackson did have a noticeable limp after the fight.
The 33-year-old wound up forfeiting 20 percent of his salary, which was likely around $250,000. That money goes straight to Bader.
This was a huge win for the former Arizona State All-American wrestler. Bader (14-2, 7-2 UFC) has been on the cusp of big things, but was dominated in early 2011 by the future division champ Jon Jones and upset later in the year by Tito Ortiz.
Jackson had one big moment in the fight. Known during his PRIDE days for his powerful slams, Jackson turned back the clock and spiked Bader. The second-round slam had Bader land in an awkward position. It looked like he may have injured his right arm at that point, but Bader said he was fine after the fight.
His performance showed it. He scored takedowns (four total) in each round. He didn't land anything too vicious on top but dominated position and made it tough for Jackson to get back to his feet. The numbers backed up the judges' decision with Bader landing 107-32 shots, including 67-7 in ground strikes.
Jackson, a native of Memphis, exploded as an MMA star during his time in Japan between 2001-2006.
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- Ryan Bader
- Quinton Jackson