Saturday, 18 February 2012

UFC 144: Rampage Jackson vs Ryan Bader

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is one of a few fighters on this card that hark back to the good old days of Pride, when the Japanese promotion led the way in mixed martial arts.  A lot has changed since then of course, but there is no doubt that this fight will be eagerly anticipated by the Japanese crowd.
via ESPN

Recent History
  • Jackson last fought six months ago, losing to current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
  • Ryan Bader came back from a two fight skid to defeat Jason Brilz by knockout at UFC 139.
It is no secret that Rampage Jackson's biggest asset is his raw punching power.  He spends fights looking for the opportunity to land that one right hand that can change any fight.  Against Jon Jones, this approach made Jackson look rather one dimensional, which he is not.  Jackson is a good boxer with brilliant wrestling ability.  In his Pride days, Rampage would brutally slam opponents and execute  violent ground and pound, but we do not see that so much anymore.  Nowadays, Jackson is using his wrestling stay on his feet and hunt for the knockout finish.  His ability to slip or eat punches and counter has more often than not been enough to rely on.  In recent years, opponents seem to have grown wise to his approach and Rampage has fought to some controversial decisions, unable to put opponents away.

Ryan Bader also has a very set style.  He is a powerful and decorated wrestler with fierce knockout power.  In his early UFC career he showed the ability to take opponents down at will and control them for whole fights.  While his striking is still rudimentary, he has always possessed the power to finish a fight, if he connects.  Bader's biggest weakness in his UFC career has been his inability to make the most of dominant positions on the ground to finish fights.

Head to Head
The set up is perfect, Jackson has great takedown defense and Bader has spectacular attacking wrestling.  Both fighters possess the power to end the other guy's night, but Jackson certainly has the technique, not to mention having that power in both hands.

Ryan Bader should be looking to take Rampage down.  He is making a mistake if he believes his striking is going to match up with Jackson's and he ought to take this fight to where he feels at home.  Bader will want to take care to make the most of any opportunities he gets in that department though, as the longer the fight goes on, the longer Rampage has a chance to finish it.

For his part, Jackson really needs to vary his attack to make himself less predictable.  He possesses good leg kicks and that would be a great weapon to chop away the base of this elite wrestler.  

Rampage will keep it mostly standing and find a home for a bit punch.  Jackson by TKO round 2.

More UFC 144 Coverage at jiMMA

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