Fans jeer Jackson after UFC 130 win
LAS VEGAS – A poor main event capped a desultory Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view Saturday, as boos, and a few tossed beers, rained down upon the cage after Quinton “Rampage” Jackson scored a unanimous decision victory over Matt Hamill in the main event of UFC 130 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The card was not very captivating, but the main event made it seem even worse. Hamill said he would break Jackson’s will, but all that was broken was the will of the spectators to watch more.
Jackson said he had a broken hand but fought anyway. It appeared that way, as he didn’t land a lot of punches, though he clearly won the fight.
The former UFC heavyweight champion stalked and Hamill occasionally would try a half-hearted takedown. Jackson stuffed each of them with no difficulty and landed several good strikes in a bid to discourage Hamill.
Though it was a win, it was hardly a great audition for Jackson for a title fight against light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Jackson bloodied Hamill’s mouth but never landed the big shot he has been known for and did little to please the fans.
The crowd booed loudly throughout the third round and when the fight ended, the angry fans booed even more lustily. A couple of thrown beers landed near the cage.
“I expected him to try to take me down,” Jackson said. “I had him rocked there, but I couldn’t capitalize. I wanted to get a knock out for the fans, but I also wanted to make sure I got the win. I wanted to dominate him for saying he was going to break my will. I think I put on a good performance and was ready for him trying to take me down.”
“I was a little shocked by Rampage’s hips and his ability to defend the takedown,” Hamill said. “I wanted to bait him in so that I could secure the double leg. He defended well and was strong just like we expected. Hats off to Rampage. He fought a really smart fight.”
Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir won the Battle of Las Vegas in one-sided fashion, cracking Roy Nelson repeatedly with knees and taking him down frequently in order to take a unanimous decision. Judges had it 30-27 twice and 30-26. Yahoo! Sports had it 30-27 for Mir, the former UFC heavyweight champion.
The two men were born and raised in Las Vegas and went to high school just a few miles apart. One of Nelson’s cornermen was a groomsman in Mir’s wedding.
But when the fight began, Mir showed no mercy for his friend. At one point, Mir landed five or six knees in a row to Nelson’s face, but Nelson didn’t quit.
Nelson was never able to do much serious damage to Mir, though he landed a couple of good shots in the first round. But Mir kept the fight at the perfect distance and when he felt there was trouble, he took Nelson down.
“Wrestling was my main focus in this camp and I think it worked out well for me tonight,” Mir said. “I’d rate my performance as a seven [out of 10]. I expected to win the grappling aspect. It went even better than I had a planned. I felt like I was able to win in every aspect of the fight. Roy is really tough and I’m glad to leave here with the win.” Travis Browne used a perfectly placed right hand while throwing a Superman punch to put an early end to Stefan Struve’s night in their heavyweight match. Brown cracked Struve with a right on the chin as Struve was getting ready to throw a knee.
The punch landed right on Struve’s chin. It snapped his head back and he was out almost immediately. The time of the knockout was 4:11 of the first round.
“He’s been hit hard before, but I believe I’m the only one to ever put him out like that,â Browne said. “I think I’m now in the mix in the heavyweight division. A few more wins and I think I can find myself in the top five of this division.”
Rick Story scored an unpopular unanimous decision victory over former welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves, winning the first two rounds with a conservative strategy to take the fight 29-28 on all three cards. Yahoo! Sports also had it 29-28 for Story.
Story didn’t allow Alves to get going, staying on top of him and neutralizing much of the Brazilian’s offense. Alves rallied with a number of good strikes, including a well-placed knee, in the third, but he was too far behind to pull it out.
“My goal was to be explosive because I think that’s his kryptonite,” Story said. “I wanted to stay on him and let him know that I wasn’t going anywhere. I’ve had a lot of hard strikes landed on me and it goes back to my conditioning. My coach, Pat White, puts me in situations in training where I have to deal with adversity and have to deal with having my conditioning tested. I was prepared for everything Thiago brought tonight and the end result is a victory for me.”
Brian Stann took another big leap forward in the UFC’s middleweight division, following his impressive win over Chris Leben with an equally impressive stoppage of Jorge Santiago.
Stann landed a straight right that knocked Santiago down late in the second round and then quickly went for the finish. Stann fired several short, hard hammer fists until referee Herb Dean stopped it at 4:29 of the second.
Santiago was returning to the UFC after a five-year absence, during which he compiled an 11-1 record. He was no match for Stann, though, generating little offense and getting nailed by Stann’s punches.
“I thought the fight was going good and then I just got caught,” Santiago said. “I need to go home and fix some of the holes in my game.”
Demetrious Johnson and Miguel Angel Torres put on an outstanding grappling match, with each scoring reversals and going repeatedly for submissions.
Johnson’s wrestling was the difference in a unanimous decision victory over the former World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champion. All three judges scored it 29-28 for Johnson. Yahoo! Sports had Torres ahead, 30-27, favoring his submission work from the bottom.
“I thought I had a great game plan,” Johnson said. “My goal was to kick his front leg, but at one point, he checked my kick and hit a soft spot [on my right leg]. It really limited my mobility. My legs are my engine and he took that away from me. Fortunately, I was able to recover and secure good takedowns.
“I worked hard on submission defense for this camp, but I still made a lot of mistakes. I left my hands underneath and on the mat and gave him opportunities that I shouldn’t have. “
Torres, who nearly had a triangle choke in the second round, clearly thought he won, but did not complain about the decision.
“It was a tough fight,” he said. “He took me down and he just held me. I had a couple of submission attempts that gave me the chance to put him away. This was my fault tonight. He’s slippery and he was able to get the takedowns. I just didnât take advantage when I should have.”
Tim Boetsch made the 20-pound drop from light heavyweight to middleweight very easily, outwrestling Kendall Grove en route to a one-sided unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Boetsch.
There was little nuance to Boetsch’s plan. He was looking for the takedown early and often. He repeatedly put the 6-foot-6 Hawaiian onto his back and, though he didn’t do a lot of damage on the ground, he clearly controlled the fight.
“I felt great at this weight,” Boetsch said. “I did the cut twice and really had the system down. I knew when and how to rehydrate and I did the cut the right way. That’s why I felt so great in there tonight. I knew Kendall was going to come out hungry and try to set the tone. I took that away from him right from the start. I didn’t want him to dictate the fight with his range and with his jab. I took all of that away and used my takedowns to control this fight.”
Grove, the winner of Season Three of “The Ultimate Fighter,” now has lost four of his last six and is in danger of losing his job.
Grove said that Boetsch’s strength and physicality were an issue for him.
“I couldn’t get off tonight and he was definitely stronger than I thought,” Grove said. “I didn’t expect him to go for takedowns like that. Congratulations to Tim. He controlled the fight and deserved the win.”
In a battle of Brazilians, Gleison Tibau cracked Rafaello Oliveira with a hard straight left that knocked him down, and then finished him on the ground with a rear naked choke at 3:28 of the second round.
Tibau had taken a close first round but opened up in the second. He landed several shots that seemed to bother Oliveira before connecting on a powerful straight left that dumped him on his back.
“He has some great combos and I didn’t see his left hand coming,” Oliveira said.
Tibau landed some shots from the top before maneuvering to finish with the rear naked choke.
“I think I proved tonight that I’m getting close to my peak,” Tibau said. “I showed everyone that I can strike, that I can finish guys with jiu-jitsu and that my game is coming together. I’m becoming a more complete fighter every day and I know that I’m heading toward the top of this division.”
Michael McDonald, at 20 the youngest fighter in the UFC, pulled out a close split decision victory over Chris Cariaso. Judge Tony Weeks had it 30-27 for Cariaso, but he was overruled by judges Adalaide Byrd and Glenn Trowbridge, who had it 29-28 in favor of McDonald.
McDonald landed a number of good strikes, but he couldn’t force Cariaso to back off. Cariaso landed a number of very hard kicks that clearly impacted McDonald, who likely won the fight by being busier and more accurate with his strikes.
“Chris kicks really hard and his chin is really solid,” McDonald said. “Usually when I hit people that hard, they go to sleep. Fortunately, I felt like I executed very well and was able to handle him in all aspects of the fight.”
Cariaso was clearly disappointed when the scores were announced.
“It’s a bummer to lose this fight,” Cariaso said. “I felt like I did enough to take this fight, but it didn’t go my way. He hit really hard and he showed why he’s a tough match up for anyone at 135. I think we will definitely see each other again in the future. We are two of the top young guys in the division and we definitely need to see a fourth round.”
In the opening bout, Renan Barao won his UFC debut and garnered his 26th consecutive victory with a workmanlike performance in a unanimous decision win over Cole Escovedo.
Barao fought conservatively, but controlled the action in the first two rounds. In the third, he opened up, landing a spinning back fist and several good kicks. The judges scored it 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Barao, who lost his opening bout and hasn’t been beaten since.
“I’m very happy with this performance,” Barao said. “It’s been a dream come true to be here in the UFC and tonight, I accomplished a huge goal of fighting in the Octagon. My goal and game plan was to keep this fight standing and show my striking. I love showing the fans different kinds of striking. The flying knees, the back fists, it’s something that I practice with the guys in my camp.”