Duane Burleson / AP
Published Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010 | 3:41 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010 | 9:29 p.m.
DETROIT — Quinton “Rampage” Jackson spent a good part of fight week saying he wasn’t a fan of Lyoto Machida’s non-aggressive fighting style.
As it turned out, it was Machida’s style that helped him win the fight.
Jackson (31-8) edged Machida (16-2) for a split decision victory Saturday at UFC 123, bouncing back from a disappointing defeat to Rashad Evans in the process.
The fight was very close, with Machida clearly taking the final round. Through the first two rounds, however, Machida was somewhat unwilling to engage with Jackson. Although he avoided taking damage for most of the fight, he rarely scored any points of his own in the first 10 minutes.
“I think it’s the only thing that earned me a decision,” said Jackson, when asked if his aggression tipped the fight in his favor. “Machida whooped my ass. He did a great job. I didn’t do what I wanted to do.”
Jackson went on to offer Machida an immediate rematch following the fight.
Although the split decision wasn’t exactly controversial — it did appear Jackson did enough to win the fight — a rematch could be a possibility.
“Even though I don’t want to, I have to give him a rematch,” Jackson said. “I think an immediate rematch would be the fair thing.”
Machida was visibly more aggressive in the third, and it nearly won him the fight.
A flurry midway through the round had Jackson clearly hurt, leading to a takedown for Machida. With only 90 seconds left in the fight, Machida passed guard and moved into the mount before transitioning to an armbar.
It looked like a dangerous spot for Jackson, but the 32-year-old veteran kept calm and broke the hold with one of his signature body slams, lifting Machida clear off the mat.
For Jackson, the win could potentially set up a title shot in the near future. Machida on the other hand, has dropped two straight.
In the co-main event, B.J. Penn shocked the arena and opponent Matt Hughes with a 21-second knockout.
Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson (31-8) vs. Lyoto Machida (16-2)
Round One: Jackson comes out quickly and starts to stalk Machida around the cage. Machida circling to the right. Leg kick by Machida to the inside of Jackson’s front leg. Another leg kick by Machida to the same spot. Another leg kick, this time Jackson rushes forward with a combination. It lands but Machida shrugs it off. Now a left hook lands for Jackson as Machida backs up. They clinch for the first time, Machida’s back to the fence. Jackson lands a right uppercut before they separate. Body kick for Machida. Jackson appearing more confident now. He ducks under a left hook from Machida and looks to maybe wrestle him to the ground, but Machida backs up to the fence and they stay in the clinch. Machida finally is the one who pushes away. Left hook, straight right combination from Jackson but Machida avoids. Again, Machida throws the leg kick and Jackson chooses to come forward. He doesn’t land anything big on this one, but it seems he clearly won the round.
Round Two: Machida is the first time come in this time with a knee to the midsection. They break momentarily, before Jackson rushes him and puts him in the clinch against the fence again. Jackson clips him with a knee to the groin and we’ll get a quick break. Jackson swings and misses badly with a left hand. He closes the distance and it’s back to the clinch. Jackson now capitalizes on a knee from Machida, wrestling him to the ground when he only had one leg to stand on. Machida works quickly back to a sit and then to his feet. They break away and Jackson just misses on a right hook. Half the round left and they come together again in a clinch. Knee lands for Jackson. They break and Machida throws a head kick, blocked by Jackson. Right uppercut for Jackson and Machida looks very hesitant now. He’s circling the octagon, Jackson pursuing him. Wile left hook misses from Jackson. Machida chooses to clinch with him again, burning more time. He works for a trip but Jackson able to keep his balance. They break with 10 seconds left, Jackson coming forward aggressively.
Round Three: We’ll see if Jackson stays aggressive here, likely ahead on the scorecards. It appears so, as he comes forward early with a two-punch combination. Machida eludes but counters with nothing. Jackson strings together three punches this time, looks like the last one grazed Machida. But Machida answers with a combination of his own and it looks like Jackson is hurt. He’s covering up. He lets his hands go now to back Machida off and Machida gets low and takes him down. Machida now in Jackson’s half-guard. Jackson tying him up from the bottom. Machida works him towards the center of the octagon and is looking for the mount. He’s trying to free that right leg from Jackson’s guard and get it over the midsection. Two minutes remain. Still in the half-guard, Machida starts throwing elbows and now moves into side control and now has the mount with 90 seconds left. Jackson just trying to survive the round, holding Machida flat against him. One mnute left and Machida transitions to an armbar. Jackson picks him off the mat and the hold breaks. They’re back on their feet with Machida circling. 30 seconds left and Machida clinches again. Machida gets the takedown eventually but with no time left, can’t work a submission. Jackson wins via split decision.
Matt Hughes (45-8) vs. B.J. Penn (16-6-1)
Round One: Both guys come out aggressive, pumping the jab. Penn catches a body kick, Hughes gets it free. Now Penn drops him with a straight right. Hughes is down, Penn jumps on him and finishes the job instantly. Penn wins via KO at :21 of first round.
Gerald Harris (16-3) vs. Maiquel Falcao (26-3)
Round One: Harris circles around Falcao, Falcao stands in front of him patiently. Harris darts in with a right jab. Another jab for Harris, Falcao not doing much of anything so far. Falcao might be trying to lure Harris to sleep, he hasn’t thrown a thing and backs off any time Harris tries to come forward. Finally Falcao throws a body kick after referee Dan Miragliotta says he better do something. Harris throws a one-two combination but Falcao backs out of range. Now Falcao lets off a burst of energy, throwing a series of hard hooks and then dropping Harris with a knee. Harris goes down near the fence and Falcao hops on him and starts landing hammerfists. Harris in a bad spot, as Falcao gets into his half-guard and keeps the pressure on. Now Falcao sees his chance for a rear-naked. He gets the hold under the chin of Harris, but Harris turns into it and survives. Falcao gets the hold in again though and it looks extremely tight. The horn saves Harris. He was about to go out.
Round Two: Falcao doesn’t waste time in this round, he comes forward hard with a straight right. Harris is hurt and he starts swinging as a defense, Falcao slips a punch and drops him again. Falcao immediately takes his back. Harris is fighting, but he’s getting dominated here. Falcao trying to lock the rear-naked in again. Harris defends, turns into Falcao, and gets back to his feet. They separate with three minutes left. Falco throws a right hook, Harris ducks under and latches on to his left leg. He’d no doubt like to slow things down here a bit. Harris working hard for the takedown, Falcao using the fence to stay on his feet. Now Harris gets the slam, but Falcao right back to his feet and they break. Body kick lands for Falcao. Harris shoots on the single leg again, Falcao defends easily. Harris hangs on to the leg for the rest of the round.
Round Three: Pace slows down here at the start of the third. Harris looking for an opportunity to load up and put Falcao in trouble, because it would appear he needs a finish now. Falcao much like he was in the first, backing out of Harris’s range in a very upright stance. Harris tries to feint the right hook to set up the overhand left but can’t connect. Crowd very restless now as we reach the midway mark of the round. Harris throws out a combination here and there but Falcao backing up and literally, nothing is happening. Harris shoots with a minute remaining, Falcao sprawls and breaks away. A very u neventful round ends. Falcao seemed bothered by the boos at the end. Harris was motioning him to come forward and he put his arms up and then even threw a bit of a late punch. Falcao wins via unanimous decision.
Phil Davis (8-0) vs. Tim Boetsch (8-4)
Round One: Davis loads up on a straight right, misses, but catches Boetsch with a left hook on the back end of it. Davis goes high with a jab and follows with an effective leg kick. Boetsch comes forward nicely with a straight left. Boetsch now catches a body kick and looks to sweep Davis off his feet but Davis rips the leg back. Davis shoots hard for the first time, runs Boetsch from one side of the octagon to the other before hip tossing him onto his back. Davis working out of half-guard, landing a few hard punches to Boetsch’s midsection. Now a few hard elbows come down from Davis and Boetsch is just helpless to get out of this spot. He’s trying to clinch up to Davis to avoid damage, but Davis just pushes him back to the ground and keeps unloading. Boetsch creates some space as Davis tries to pass guard and is able to get to his feet just as the round ends.
Round Two: Boetsch throws a big overhand right but comes up with air. They clinch, Boetsch’s backs up to the fence and a stalemate ensues. Crowd boos as neither fighter can generate much offense from this position. Boetsch catches Davis in a guillotine here, he’s in a good spot. But Davis breaks it, ends up in side control and now he’s looking for the kimura. Boetsch defending well but still trapped against the fence and now he taps to the kimura. Davis wins via submission at 2:55 of second round.
George Sotiropoulos (14-2) vs. Joe Lauzon (18-6)
Round One: Both guys come out pumping their jabs. It’s Lauzon who’s coming forward more here at the start, with Sotiropoulos looking to counter. Sotiropoulos shoots for a takedown and it’s defended. Lauzon gets his hands behind Sotiropoulos’s neck and looks to land a big knee but Sotiropoulos makes him miss and throws him off. Good right hook lands for Lauzon. Sotiropoulos for the takedown again, Lauzon sprawls and lands a few hard right elbows to Sotiropoulos’s head. Sotiropoulos not giving up on the takedown, he’s got Lauzon wrapped up against the fence. Finally Lauzon pushes him away and the go back to the center. Sotiropoulos again shoots, Lauzon sprawls and steps over him nearly into full mount. Sotiropoulos scrambles and eventually Lauzon ends up in his half-guard. Sotiropoulos gets hold of Lauzon’s leg and tries to reverse positions. He’s successful at it and now has Lauzon in side control. Sotiropoulos transitions to full mount briefly and goes for an armbar in the final ten seconds. It might have been a mistake because he doesn’t get it and it allows Lauzon ends the round on top.
Round Two: Sotiropoulos comes out aggressively with his hands, changing levels and throwing combinations. He shoots on a single leg but Lauzon hops around on his other leg and they end up in a clinch against the fence. Sotiropoulos again trying for that single leg but Lauzon won’t go down. Sotiropoulos appears to be more fresh here as he’s throwing more punches and now gets Lauzon into the Muay Thai clinch and throws a series of knees. Sotiropoulos shoots, Lauzon to transition for an armbar but it won’t go and Sotiropoulos is back in side control. Sotiropoulos goes for the armbar, doesn’t get it, but scrambles back into side control. Now Sotiropoulos locks on a kimura and Lauzon taps instantly. Slick jiu-jitsu by Sotiropoulos. Sotiropoulos wins via kimura at 2:43 of second round.
Matt Brown (13-10) vs. Brian Foster (17-5)
Round One: Nice outside leg kick lands for Brown and he just misses on a high head kick. Foster goes in with a superman punch, misses on it but basically tackles Brown to the ground in the process. They stay there momentarily but Foster gets back to his feet and Brown follows. Foster comes in now with a flying knee, ill-advised as Brown defends it easily and throws him on his back and gets into side control. Foster scrambles out of it momentarily but ends up right back on his back after a failed armbar attempt. Foster back to his feet and they separate with two minutes to go. Three hard punches land for Foster before he slams Brown back to the mat. Beautiful sweep by Brown though and now he’s on top, Foster gets into a crouch with his head facing the ground. Brown works to take his back, Foster slides him over his head and Brown transitions into an armbar. Foster shows a lot of strength and flexibility though and somehow gets out of the submission.
Round Two: Brown walks right into a left jab from Foster to start the round and then kicks him in the groin. Not a great start to round two. Immediately after the break, Foster throws a spinning back-kick and Brown gets him the nuts again. Action picks up a second time, Foster catches a front kick from Brown and throws him violently to the ground. Brown doing the Miguel Torres here, chasing after Foster on his butt. Foster finally comes down into his guard and looks to ground and pound. He lands a hard straight left but Brown weathers it well. Now he throws Brown’s legs to the side and lands a big right. Brown sits up into him and Foster throws on the guillotine. Great move, Brown has to tap. Foster wins via submission at 2:11 of second round.
Aaron Simpson (7-2) vs. Mark Munoz (9-2)
Round One: Both guys in a pretty wide stance here to start the first round. Simpson lets his hands go first, backing Munoz to the fence before he goes for a single leg. Munoz defends and they reset. Munoz catches Simpson with the lead hook and they tie up in another clinch against the fence. Straight right lands for Munoz and then a left hook on the back end of a combination. Munoz shoots the double leg now, Simpson sprawls and rotates to Munoz’s back but Munoz shrugs him off. Simpson shoots under a punch from Munoz and slams him down, but Munoz rolls him over his back and gets to his feet again. Now they stand in the pocket and exchange, both guys doing damage there. Munoz lands another hook out of the clinch and follows up with two, three unanswered punches on the dazed Simpson. Simpson recovers quickly though and gets back in the clinch.
Round Two: Body kick lands for Simpson. Munoz tries to answer with a body kick of his own, Simpson catches it and throws him to the mat. Munoz gets right back up though and starts to let his hands go here. He’s throwing the right hook over and over and Simpson keeps giving it to him. They clinch and Munoz just outmuscles Simpson and puts him on his back. Both guys’ wrestling is so good though, as Simpson works back to his feet again. Now Simpson catches Munoz with a kick to the groin and we’ve got to stop for a moment. Blood coming from a cut on Munoz’s forehead as action resumes. We’ll see if it affects him. Munoz snaps Simpson’s head to the side with a vicious head kick, but Simpson seems unfazed by it. He ducks under another hook from Munoz and takes him down. Referee stands it up almost immediately, even though it seemed as Simpson was advancing his position. Munoz returns the favor now with a knee to Simpson’s groin. Munoz lands a straight right and they clinch against the fence again for final 30 seconds of the round.
Round Three: Simpson times up that body kick and catches it again. He briefly takes Munoz down off it but Munoz scrambles and now connects with a few hard hamerfists. Simpson all the way back to his feet now and Munoz is swarming him and he starts to complain about a poked eye. The referee stops the action, which the fans don’t like because Simpson was in trouble there. They work into the clinch once action resumes and each throw a few ineffective knees before the referee separates them. Munoz a much more active fighter than Simpson right now, letting his hands go often. Munoz just has the much faster hands off these breaks from the clinch. Simpson going for a single leg now, he gets Munoz’s left leg up in the air and throws him to his butt. Munoz avoids damage though and works back to his feet. Final ten seconds they both let their hands go to finish the fight. Munoz wins via unanimous decision.
Karo Parisyan (26-6) vs. Dennis Hallman (65-13-2)
Round One: Parisyan leads with a straight right, Hallman avoids. Parisyan presses Hallman to the cage where they stay until the referee separates them. Action resumes and Hallman drops Parisyan with a straight right. Parisyan goes first to his knees, how his side as Hallman swarms him with hammerfists. Parisyan trying to recover but it’s over. Hallman wins via TKO at 1:47 of first round.
Edson Barboza (7-0) vs. Mike Lullo (8-2)
Round One: Lllo shoots in hard, Barbosa sprawls, gets underhooks and slams Lullo to his back hard. He looks to advance position for a moment but then backs off and lets Lullo to his feet. Vicious leg kicks from Barbosa. Lullo closes the distance and gets in a clinch and just like that, Barbosa hip tosses him to the ground. Lullo working well off his back though, he looks to put Barbosa in a gogoplata. Barbosa defending it by keeping Lullo’s right leg off him with his left arm, but Lullo has his head trapped with the left leg and right arm and Barbosa is taking some damage from this position. With 90 seconds left, Barbosa is finally able to stand up and break that hold and it’s back to the center of the octagon. More crisp leg kicks from Barbosa, this is where he wants to be. He throws another one that actually sweeps Lullo off his feet.
Round Two: Outside leg kick and a right hook lands for Barbosa and needs to shoot in. He does, it’s defended and they separate. Head kick lands for Barbosa. Lullo is desparate, he shoots the takedown again. He can’t get on top but he basically pulls Barbosa on top of him just to get off his feet. Again Lullo going for the gogoplata on Barbosa’s right arm. Barbosa stands up out of it and Lullo is forced to follow. More outside leg kicks and Barbosa now connects on an uppercut just to mix it up. Lullo leaps into him with legs spread and pulls guard again. Anything to get it to the ground. It stays there for awhile, but Barbosa stands back up with 30 seconds left. Another leg kick from Barbosa and Lullo is hobbling now. He’s limping on that left leg badly and goes to the wrong corner at the round of the round.
Round Three: Two more outside leg kicks land right above Lullos knee and he’s falling down hard after each one. Now the referee is going to step in and put a rightful stop to it. Barbosa wins via TKO at :26 of third round.
Paul Kelly (12-3) vs. T.J. O’Brien (16-4)
Round One: Kelly catches O’Brien with a jab and backs him to the fence but O’Brien pushes him back and they head back to the center of the octagon. Again, Kelly comes forward with straight punches and is effective a second time. O’Brien fires a head kick but Kelly blocks it away. Kelly lands another hard left hook, O’Brien goes down but Kelly doesn’t want anything to do with his guard. He lets him up. O’Brien lands a hard leg kick that sweeps Kelly to the side but he’s dropping his hands when he throws it and that could be bad. Kelly comes with another series of hooks, catching O’Brien with a few of them. O’Brien goes for a flying knee. It doesn’t do much damage but he’s able to pull guard off it. Kelly stays there for a moment but then pops back up. O’Brien lands a nice counter right as Kelly throws a leg kick.
Round Two: Kelly tries a spinning back-kick to start the round, it surprises O’Brien but doesn’t really catch him. A lead left hook does though and O’Brien goes down. He’s hurt, but he covers up and now Kelly has to let him stand up. O’Brien catches him with a punch now. Kelly looks to hip toss him but O’Brien is too strong and falls on top of Kelly into full mount. Kelly in a bad spot he works back to his feet, gets a takedown and now is immediately into the crucifix position. O’Brien is helpless from here and Kelly landing a ton of unanswered shots with his right hand and elbow. Referee letting this go on for awhile, but O’Brien is in a very bad spot here with half the round still to go. Finally, Dan Miragliotta is going to call and to this. Kelly wins via TKO at 3:16 of second round.
Tyson Griffin (14-5) vs. Nik Lentz (22-3-2)
Round One: Fighters come out and touch gloves at the start. Griffin throws an early combination and Lentz ducks under and takes him down. Griffin trying hard to work to his feet, he does and gets a single leg takedown of his own. He leaves his neck out though and Lentz throws on a guillotine attempt. The leverage isn’t there and he’s forced to give it up. Huge slam now for Griffin but Lentz rolls out of it and gets back to his feet immediately. Crowd starts to boo as Griffin and Lentz clinch against the fence for a long stretch. They finally break and Griffin lands a solid straight right, the first significant strike of the fight. Lentz lands a nice body kick towards the end of the round.
Round Two: First ten seconds of the second round feature more striking than the entire first as both guys let their hands go. Lentz getting the better of it and now he shoots in for a takedown. Griffin sprawls and they separate. Leg kick lands for Griffin. Lentz comes forward with a combination and Griffin tags him with a counter right hook. That stunned him for a moment, but Lentz recovers nicely with a shot that puts Griffin’s back to the fence. Griffin circles and looks for the takedown, Lentz gets the guillotine hold again but can’t sink it in and they wind up back on their feet. It’s Griffin who shoots this time and eventually puts Lentz on his back against the fence with a minute to go. Lentz works to his feet but it only results in one more slam from Griffin just as the round ends.
Round Three: Lentz throws a head kick to start the round but Griffin catches him with a counter left hook that drops him. Lentz back up, he gets dropped by a Griffin head kick. Lentz pops up again but he’s getting tagged by combinations now. He clinches up to recover and Griffin wrestles him to his back. Lentz is surviving here from his back but he’s Griffin is dominating the action. Lentz manages to get to his feet and now slams Griffin down but Griffin has a guillotine on him. Lentz moves to the side and forces Griffin to give up on the hold. Lentz working out of Griffin’s half-guard with 90 seconds to end this fight. He can’t do it, and this one goes the distance. Lentz wins via split decision.