Hey folks, my newest piece at HeadKickLegend.com. If you like it, please rec - I would love to write on BloodyElbow's front page! https://twitter.com/#!/JackSlackMMA
In the sport of mixed martial arts we are constantly told that combatants are ever evolving, and in many cases this is far from true as grapplers continue to throw looping, straight armed swings at each other until one succumbs. In the case of Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson however, evolution has been a real process through his career and is recently costing him fights and fans. Beginning as a man obsessed with picking up his opponent and slamming him to the mat as many times as possible, Quinton then evolved a ground game like few others once he had slammed his opponents - led by brutal knees and elbows to the body, on top of this he added a dirty boxing game, then a devastating boxing skill set. Unfortunately in recent years, every single one of these abilities has decayed away from his game plan except for his boxing, and it is becoming tedious to watch, and predictable to fight against.
Since Quinton burst onto the major MMA scene against Kazushi Sakuraba in PRIDE FC he has attracted unparalleled media attention. An engaging personality with a self deprecating sense of humor, Rampage made no promises to grind out a win but simply came to put on a show. In his losing effort against the Sakuraba, Jackson slammed the Japanese legend from above the top rope to the mat multiple times before succumbing to the Gracie Hunter's superior submission game, but he had already found a fan following in this performance. Quinton followed this moral victory up with several wins on the PRIDE promotion's undercard against less than stellar fighters, before being matched against the declining but still frightening knockout artist, Igor Vovchanchyn. Vovchanchyn is a legend of the early era of MMA and despite being built for middleweight, spent the majority of his career fighting heavyweights and still having the power to knock them out while going backwards. In this match Quinton used his trademark slams, interspersed with great clinch work and a brutal body attack on the ground to stop the Ice Cold Ukrainian. Though the match provided some fantastic slams, it was Quinton's ground and pound that really took it's toll on Vovchanchyn.
Quinton's defining performances in PRIDE came against the powerful wrestler, Kevin Randleman, and the UFC representative in the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix, Chuck Liddell. Randleman was supposed to be a far superior wrestler, but Rampage stuffed his shots and from the clinch brutalized his opponent with punches and knees, knocking him down with a body shot and finishing him, once again, with his brutal ground and pound. Against Liddell, Quinton exposed the Ice Man's inability to deal with well rounded fighters (having spent the past few years fighting almost exclusively grapplers), Quinton mixed in big punches on the feet to make Liddell raise his hands, thwarting the Ice Man's legendary takedown defence. Once again this fight was stopped by a brutal and relentless ground assault as Quinton bored the Ice Man down with knees and elbows to the body before Liddell's corner conceded defeat. 4 years later, when he came to the UFC, Jackson was nowhere near the dynamic all-arounder that he had been in his PRIDE hayday, relying almost entirely on punching and punching alone.