MMA: "Rampage" Fails to Impress at UFC 130, Fedor v. Henderson

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I was one of the fortunate souls who managed to escape the heat this past Memorial Day weekend as I was back home chillaxing in the pristine homeless haven that is the San Francisco Bay Area.  Still, even surrounded by great weather, beautiful people, and burritos as far as the eye can see I stubbornly managed to keep in ear to the MMA beat. 

As we all grumble, caged in our three walled cells that are lovingly referred to as “cubicles” let’s take a moment to go round and round with a few of the juicier tidbits taking place in the MMA world.

The big news this weekend has been the scathing reviews of UFC 130.  While the two high profile bouts featuring Frank Mir duking it out with Roy Nelson and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson battling Matt Hamill in the night’s main event.  Granted, the Jackson-Hamill fight was extremely lackluster; I thought Mir had a strong showing against Nelson.  Despite the appearance of being the stunt double for the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man, Nelson is one tough SOB.  Hell, concrete handed Junior Dos Santos could not put a dent in the chin of the “Mulleted One” so Mir would have had to back over an 18-wheeler to put Nelson out of commission.  I think Mir did all he could humanly do to secure an exciting win; it was just Nelson being uncooperative. 

Now, on the other hand, the Jackson-Hamill fight was just a mismatch.  As much as we like to trump the accomplishments of Hamill the fact remains that he is not a top-tier light heavyweight.  Unfortunately for Hamill, Jackson is.  Even on a bad day, Jackson is a notch or four above Hamill and it played out for the whole world to see on Saturday night.  Nothing against Hamill, but if he doesn’t do anything to expand his skill set he will continue to be beaten soundly by the upper level 205-ers.

There are knockouts, and then there are KNOCKOUTS and at UFC 130 Travis Browne unleashed the latter on one Stefan Struve.  The “Superman Punch” that Browne connected with was a thing of beauty and poor Struve will now have to endure the unfortunate fact of being on the wrong end of a Travis Browne highlight reel.

You can already see the gears of the UFC hype machine begin to work in regards to “All-American” Brian Stann.  Stann, a former Marine, is the epitome of what the Armed Forces recruitment advertising projects.  Not only does he look like a real-life G.I. Joe, the dude can fight and seems to make a habit of being in exciting fights.  With the Marines’ UFC ad campaign, Stann is the perfect ambassador for them.  All of which is a good thing as I have nothing but respect and gratitude for the sacrifices the brave men and women of our country’s Armed Forces and you couldn’t ask for better advertising for the Army and Marines respectively than having Ted Kennedy and Brian Stann fight in your promotion. 

In Japan MMA news, “DREAM: Fight for Japan” went off without a hitch though unfortunately did not air live in the US or Japan (HDNet will air the card on June 3).  Arguably, the biggest name on the card was lightweight champion Shinya Aoki who scored neck crank submission victor over Rich Clementi.  I’m a huge Aoki fan and hope that he continues to test the waters here in America as his submission game is unreal.

Strikeforce continues to make headlines in the news as they announced this past weekend that the anticipated bout between Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson has been signed, sealed, and delivered.  The fight will be contested at heavyweight and take place in July at the Sears Centre Arena just outside of Chicago.  The fight is intriguing for many different reasons.  Is Fedor still mentally up for the rigors of fighting?  Can Henderson deal with such a size disadvantage?  The fight sells itself to the hard core fan who still long for the days of PRIDE.  None the less, this fight will be one of the biggest of the summer. 

Former UFC champion Jens Pulver continues to fight on in smaller promotions after coming out of retirement.  Unfortunately, Pulver would falter Friday night at Titan Fighting Championships 18 after Brian Davidson submitted him with a rear naked choke in the first round.  Pulver is a shell of his former “Lil Evil” self yet continues to fight on.  It’s a shame as a prime Pulver would have demolished Davidson with ease.  Here is to hoping that Pulver begins to reconsider retirement as an option. 

Also fighting his way back into prominence was former UFC fighter Jake Rosholt who took a loss Friday night at Titan Fighting Championships 18.  Rosholt was fighting John Ott when he connected with an inadvertent illegal knee that prompted the referee to disqualify Rosholt once Ott was unable to continue.  Rosholt and his team have filed an appeal with the Kansas Athletic Commission to overturn the DQ.  Rosholt maintains that under the Unified Rules the fight should have been declared a technical decision or no-contest. 

Photo © Scott Champan/