Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will square off with Rashad Evans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for UFC 114. The highly anticipated bout is one of the most hyped matches in MMA history. Amidst all the pre-fight hoopla, trash-talking and such it seems the real technical nuts and bolts of this scrap have been put on the back burner. So let’s take a look.
What is a little shocking to me about this match-up is the almost universal theory that Rashad is going to be able to get consistent take downs. Jackson’s take down defense is vastly underrated. He is very adept at getting under hooks quickly when a fighter shoots on him. His balance and reflexive abilities are also very good. Way back at Pride 25 he fought two time Division I NCAA Champion Kevin Randleman(when the “Monster” was still relevant) and stuffed him repeatedly as you’ll see in the video below. I don’t really see Rashad having much success with his wrestling, unless Jackson’s gas tank is running on empty at some point.
Now in Rashad’s case I hate to pull the “athletic and explosive” card here, so we’ll just call him “faster” and this is a case where it is actually pertinent. If he is to have success with his take downs he is going to have to catch Jackson taking a step forward or catch him at different angles with his speed. Timing will be of the essence when he shoots because Rampage will make him pay with those nasty clinch uppercuts that he likes to throw.
The stand-up will be very interesting. We all know that Rashad more than likely has the quicker hands, but he can be very sloppy with his boxing and that doesn’t bode well when you’re facing a counter striker the caliber of Rampage. Both fighters have one shot KO power. Jackson is one of the very few fighters in MMA that is very good at using the parry style of defense and countering. When you take a look at some of the best stand-up fighters in MMA they really fall into 2 categories. There are fighters that are able to slip and duck then counter like BJ Penn and Fedor Emelianenko. Then there are fighters that are able to parry like Lyoto Machida, Jose Aldo and Rampage. It will be interesting to see how Rashad is able to deal with this as he had some serious problems with the countering of Machida.
I really don’t see this going well for Rashad Evans on the feet. He needs to get take downs and use control to smother Jackson from top position. Despite the Wanderlei knee show that Rampage suffered through in his Pride days, the man has an excellent chin and while I wouldn’t say Evans has a bad chin, Rampage has the power to put this man to sleep.
A motivated, angry Rampage is a dangerous Rampage. Rashad tends to slow down during the course of a fight and I think that will spell doom for him. Rampage will land some nasty clinch uppercuts and some great counters on the feet and hurt Evans. I think Rampage will eventually end up in top position and pound Rashad out.
Quinton Jackson via TKO in the 3rd Round