I know this is a couple years too late but I decided to do it ANYWAYS! After seeing die hard Machida fans like ABB's Husband and Wooly Shambler incessantly state that Machida was robbed at UFC 123, I decided it was time to pop ye olde fan post cherry and defend my position on the outcome of that fight. My position being that Rampage rightfully won that split decision over The Dragon.
Keep in mind I'm a Rampage fan and I even believed Lyoto Machida would blast Quintin Jackson to dust prior to UFC 123 but it didn't quite happen that way...
Rampage takes center of the cage early on. The suspense builds as the two fighters circle each other like two jungle cats waiting for the other to strike first. Machida breaks the suspense by landing some unchecked leg strikes on Rampage. Both fighters share the center of the Octagon. Rampage counters a leg kick blitzing forward landing hooks on the Karate fighter as he retreats back along the cage. Machida kicks again and Rampage continues to counter with wild strikes. Rampage initiates the clinch. The Memphis brawler lands foot stomps, knees and punches to the body on Machida. Rampage connects with a three punch combination as Machida breaks from the clinch. Machida continues with the leg kicks. Rampage absorbs another leg kick and pushes Machida up along the fence to clinch again. After being on the recieving end of a couple strikes, Machida reverses the clinch and lands a couple knees to the thigh of his own. Machida pushes himself out of the clinch and Rampage follows aggressively. Same story... Machida lands another kick which is countered again by a couple punches from Rampage.
Winner of round one..... RAMPAGE 10-9
I gave round one to Rampage based on aggression, octagon control, clinch control and more strikes landed in the round.
Just like the prior round, Rampage takes ownership of the center of the Octagon. Machida's feline reflexes allows him land swift knees and kicks to the body Rampage but they don't seem to faze him. Rampage counters again with a wild punch and clinches with Machida along the cage. He lands some punches and knees before Machida reverses the clinch. Rampage takes a page out Chiek Kongo's playbook and lands an unintentional but illegal knee to the groin of his opponent. Machida having brass balls, doesn't need long to recover and the two get back to business trading feints like nothing ever happened. A wild swing from Rampage misses as Machida lands yet another leg kick. Rampage leaps forward attacking and the two go back into the clinch. Machida reverses it, Rampage lands body shots. Machida unimpressed, lands a rapid knee in retaliation. On the second knee Rampage dumps Machida on the ground and lands in a quasi side control but Machida is quickly back to his feet. Back to the clinch they go, it's reversed by Machida. They break and Rampage lands a glancing hook as Machida retreats. After a short break, Machida initiates the clinch this time. They trade knees and body blows before Rampage reverses the clinch. Rampage lands some more blows before they break again. Rampage blocks a high round house kick from Machida. Machida lands a powerful knee to the stomach of Rampage and in return Rampage gives Machida a powerful uppercut. Rampage having Octagon control swings wildly only catching the air. Machida lands a legs kick and back to the clinch with Rampage's back along the cage. Machida attempts a couple takedowns but Rampage's takedown defense is too good. Both fighters trade knees till Machida wants no more of the clinch. At the end of the rd Machida lands a blow and Rampage slips at the end of the rd.
Winner of round two.... RAMPAGE 10-9
This was the closest round of the three. Surprise, surprise, I gave round two to Rampage based on aggression, more more shots landed (mostly in the clinch) and the lone take down by Rampage really tipped the scales in his favor for this round.
In the beginning of the first round both fighters share the center of the Octagon. Rampage checks a leg kick, misses a couple punches and land a few. Machida having enough of being chased around like Tom and Jerry, blitzes Rampage landing multiple punches and knees. Rampage retaliates landing a combination of his own before Machida takes him down in the clinch. Machida lands on top in half guard. Machida is having a difficult time passing into side control, it looks like he's trying to go for a kimura. Machida gets full mount and things don't look so good for Rampage. Rampage does well keeping Machida close avoiding any potential GnP. Ditching any plans of GnP, Machida attempts a slick armbar. Rampage known for his slams, lifts Machida up but the sly Karate master lets go of the submission. Machida initiates the clinch again and takes rampage down again in an attempt for a leg lock but is unsuccessful.
Winner of round three... MACHIDA 10-9
This was the most one sided although competitive round and I gave it to Machida based on aggression, more shots landed, his lone take down and submission attempts.
The NOD score is RAMPAGE 29-28
Reactions to the Decision
Following the judges decision Rampage expressed displeasure with his own performance.
"Machida whooped my ass tonight," Rampage said afterward. "I considered that an ass whipping.
But, he would allegedly (because twitter won't let me look at post before 5/11/2011) later change his thoughts on the match after watching the match in private.
@Rampage4real "At the end of the day, I don't care who think's I won or lost, I got paid, it's my job 2 fight, btw I watch the fight later & I won!! haha "
Dana White stood by the judges decision to award Rampage the split decision victory.
"He (ticks) me off again," White said. "Rampage is slumping down and raising the other guy's hand and acting like he lost. ... That's not the fight I saw."
Our own Geno Mrosko took a fair approach crediting Rampage's aggression as the deciding factor in his victory over the Karate fighter.
Jackson came out aggressive and took the center of the cage looking to find his range. Machida opened with kicks to cut down the powerful strikers legs but never quite landed with the authority he's exhibited so often in the past.
While "Rampage" may have only landed clean with a big uppercut, he was clearly the more aggressive of the two and pushed the action in all but the final round. After the fight he acted as though he had lost and told Joe Rogan, "Machida whooped my ass.
MMAfighting's Michael David Smith was shocked at the decision.
I scored the fight for Machida 29-28 and was sure Machida would win the decision, and I was stunned that two judges gave the fight to Rampage, 29-28. One judge gave it to Machida, 29-28.
If anyone cares because it's Bleacher Report, James Evens attempts to appear impartial but clearly saw the fight in Machida's favor.
According to UFC president Dana White, yes it was. According to a lot of media, and the public, the decision was the wrong one.
It's not something that we need to dwell on as fans of the sport, but if I was Jackson, I would be very thankful that I got away with one.
Whether it was the right call or not, a decision is a decision and cannot be changed. The only thing we can hope for now is a rematch of these two brilliant fighters.
Clearly if someone were to look up even additional reactions to the bout, they would find that a majority of those reactions would be skewed toward Machida winning the fight. It was a close match that warranted a split decision. I still found Rampage winning not only first time I watched the fight but the second time as well.
Now I have stats to back up my claims.
Fight Metric Stats
A writer from Fight of the Night.com wrote this in Machida's favor based on significant strikes but don't be fooled by this writers bias.
According to their statistical summary of the fight Rampage threw more strikes overall in both rounds one and two (26-16, 28-11) but significantly Machida landed the more effective blows in each round by 12-5 in the first and 8-7 in the second, with Machida dominating the third with more strikes, 26-16, and more signficant blows, 13-4.
Based on the traditional 10 point must scoring system Fightmetric see the fight as a 29-29 draw. However based purely on their own stats they believe Machida to be the winner, with an overall effectiveness score of 162-68 over Rampage.
I checked the stats on Fight Metric and I have a couple problems the argument that someone can validate a fighter winning a fight based on something so subjective as "significant strikes," really irks me. How does one even measure if a strike is significant if the fighter on the receiving end is neither rocked, dropped or hurt as a result? Also aggression and octagon control can't be measured from stats collected on a website but they too can be subjective if you favor one fighter over another. You can decide afterward just how biased I am.
In addition to aggression and octagon control, how about we judge the fight on elements that are clearly objective being number of strikes and take downs landed?
Overall Rampage landed 70/104 strikes with Machida landing less strikes 53/71 strikes.
Both of these fighters scored one take down each but in separate rounds. Machida has three take down attempts and Rampage had one.
ROUND ONE STATS
Rampage- 26 of 39
Machida- 16 of 22
ROUND TWO STATS
Rampage- 28 of 38
Machida- 11 of 15
Rampage- 1 of 1
Machida- 0 of 1
ROUND THREE STATS
Rampage- 16 of 27
Machida- 26 of 34
Rampage- 0 of 0
Machida- 1 of 2
Based on these stats combined with Octagon control and aggression (you would have to watch the fight to make that judgment), I would say that Rampage won 2/3 rounds with Machida clearly winning the third. Machida just wasn't aggressive enough to win those first two rounds and didn't land nearly enough strikes to validate him being robbed of victory at UFC 123. His evasive style isn't judges friendly and I think despite his reaction to the judges decision, he knew he might be behind on the scorecards in rounds one and two.
I would like to dedicate this whole post to Wooly Shambler a true fan of The Dragon, for inspiring me to break down this fight.
Did I give The Karate Kid a fair shake? Or was my bias of the Bungalow Brawler too much?