In a bout that is sure to stir up some controversy, former PRIDE FC superstar Quinton “Rampage” Jackson defeated Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida via split-decision tonight in the main event of UFC 123. Reminiscent of Machida’s hotly disputed first contest against current champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, the story of tonight’s bout was Machida’s elusive countering against Jackson’s aggressive offense.
Throughout the first round Jackson looked to engage with a circling Machida, doing little better than grazing the Brazilian karateka. “Rampage” engaged the clinch more than once, but was never able to do much from that position. All told, the two fighters landed close to the same amount and, for that reason, the first round could have easily been scored a draw.
The second round was mostly more of the same, with a successful takedown attempt and a few solid punch combinations landed giving a slight edge to “Rampage.”
The third, however, was all Machida. “The Dragon” stung Jackson with a punch and shortly after scored a takedown. He eventually established mount and rolled for an armbar, prompting Jackson to attempt his trademark slam. Machida avoided the slam and pulled Jackson back to the ground, where he tried for a leg lock and possibly an omoplata before the bell rang.
Both fighters showed each other a great amount of respect post-fight, and both agreed that a rematch is in order.
Jackson gave Machida credit for a job well done, saying that “he whooped my ass tonight,” in addition to giving him other praise.
“I’m so ashamed of myself tonight,” said Jackson. “He did a great job. I didn’t get to do what I wanted. I say the fight was so close, even though I don’t want to, I have to give him a rematch.
“Machida is hard to hit,” he continued. “Machida is a man, y’all.”
Machida was stoic in defeat, telling Joe Rogan and the audience, “I did the best that I could, but I guess the judges thought that Quinton won.”
Machida’s record falls to 16-2, with his last two fights ending in defeat. Jackson improves his record to 31-8 and bounces back from a decision loss to Rashad Evans.