Make it two-for-two for Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in Bellator, as he knocked out Christian M'Pumbu in the first round at Bellator 110 Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., to advance to the final of the light heavyweight tournament.
The knockout seemingly came out of nowhere. For most of the first round, the two fighters were feeling each other out. They weren't going in much and keeping some distance.
Then M'Pumbu slipped, allowing Rampage to go in for the kill. He connected with some short right-hand punches, knocking out the 36-year-old four minutes and 34 seconds into the fight, per ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto:
Rampage finishes M'Pumbu in the first round. M'Pumbu slips and Rampage drops right hands. M'Pumbu was done.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 1, 2014
It's the first time M'Pumbu has been knocked out in his professional career, per Fox Sports' Mike Chiappetta:
Rampage Jackson flatlines Christian M'Pumbu in the first round. M'Pumbu KO'd for the first time in 25 fight career.— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) March 1, 2014
M'Pumbu was less than enthused at referee John McCarthy's decision. He immediately got up to protest.
Looking at the replays, though, you could see that he was knocked out for at least a few seconds. The referee had no other choice but to call it right then and there. You can't let things go and allow a fighter to take free head shots.
As M'Pumbu was being attended to, Rampage took the opportunity to get in his face a little bit:
Rampage stands over M'Pumbu and yells at him for 5-6 seconds. Big John McCarthy didn't push Rampage away for some reason.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 1, 2014
Coming into the fight, some fans were wondering if Jackson was past it. Although he got the victory, it wasn't the kind of decisive knockout that makes you believe he's got a ton left in the tank. M'Pumbu was able to recover somewhat quickly and regain his bearings.
In addition, Bleacher Report's Jonathan Snowden wasn't impressed by the look of Rampage:
I should preface this by saying I'm 20 pounds overweight and that he won. But Rampage Jackson looks doughy and fat and terrible.— Jonathan Snowden (@mmaencyclopedia) March 1, 2014
Rampage, though, isn't doubting his ability, per Sherdog's Brian Knapp:
"These guys think I’m finished? They think they’re going to retire me? I take that personal,” Jackson said. “Bellator, you don’t know what you’re messing with. I’m a monster. Anybody who steps into this cage [with me] is going to sleep.”
Jackson will face Muhammed Lawal in the final. King Mo earned a unanimous decision victory over Mikhail Zayats earlier in the night. Matt Erickson of MMAjunkie surmised that the fight will be on May 17:
If Rampage wins tonight, one would presume the Rampage-King Mo 205 tourney final would be part of that Bellator PPV on May 17.— Matt Erickson (@MMAjunkieMatt) March 1, 2014
The two wasted little time creating drama, as they faced off in the cage after Jackson's win, with King Mo having to be held back. Some, such as Snowden and B/R's Jeremy Botter, were questioning how real the situation was:
Glad to see that Rampage and King Mo are still horrible at pro wrestling.— Jonathan Snowden (@mmaencyclopedia) March 1, 2014
Oh god. Just stop with the terrible pro wrestling ripoff. Everybody knows you guys are friends.— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) March 1, 2014
It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out, as King Mo didn't dazzle the fans with his win and with the questions about Rampage's ability. Bellator may have a lot of work to do in order to get the fans into this bout.