Jackson, often described as a mere brawler, uses some of the cleanest footwork at 205 lb., if not all of MMA. We'll be looking at his ability to move laterally and cut off a fighter against the cage.
Hamill, on the other hand, has a reputation for his plodding movement. We'll be looking at his bad habit when opponents come forward and threaten him with strikes.
The analysis begins after the jump. There's five GIFs on tap, so be prepared.
Let's start with Hamill. Here's a sequence from the second round of his fight with Rich Franklin way back at UFC 88.
Franklin steps into range with a three-punch combination. Hamill's natural reaction is to put his hands up to cover his face and step straight back. Franklin notices Hamill's body completely exposed and lands a left kick to the midsection.
But wait, there's more.
The infamous staph fight against Keith Jardine at the Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale. Again, Jardine lunges forward with punches, and Hamill puts his arms straight up to his face and backs up. This time he winds up in the fence and throws a desperate jab to create distance. It glances off Jardine's dome as Jardine lands another two solid right hands instead.
But wait, here's one more!
Just in case you thought Hamill may have plugged this particular leak in his game, here's his latest fight with noted striker Tito Ortiz. Ortiz throws a wild right hook, Hamill puts his arms up, and Ortiz lands a knee as Hamill backs up into the fence.
There's two takeaways here for "Rampage" Jackson. First, you can keep Hamill of his offensive game (specifically his wrestling) if you come forward swinging for his head. Hamill can time a punch and duck under for a takedown, but if you get him backing up, you hinder his ability to put you on your back.
Second, if Jackson throws or feints to the head, he will have the body exposed to do as he pleases. Part of Hamill's problem in this regard is that he holds his hands so low that he has to really commit when he wants to protect his face.
Now, on to Jackson.
I love this sequence. Jackson won his fight with Lyoto Machida on the judges' scorecards because he was able to pressure Machida in the first two rounds. He maintained that pressure by cutting off Machida along the fence. Look at his feet. By never bringing them closer than shoulder-width apart, he can match Machida's shuffle along the perimeter.
I love his awareness too. As Machida tries to cut the corner at the post, Jackson makes the adjustment to maintain the line between himself, Machida, and the fence.
And one more look for you.
Another clip I love. Jardine circles to his right, trying to find room off the cage. He throws a right hand, but Jackson ducks under AND re-establishes his feet in position to cut off Jardine's movement as he tries to throw a right hand of his own. If Jardine wants to create separation, he now has to move to his left into range of Jackson's power side.