Let's get to the point.
Jackson vs Griffin
I actually had it scored as a draw.
Round 1 -- 10-9 for Rampage (Griffin was winning the round but because of that one uppercut that 'rocked' and knocked down Griffin I'll give it to Rampage)
Round 2 -- 10-8 for Forrest (Griffin landed hard leg kicks, then ended up getting Rampage caught in a guillotine, Rampage gets put on his back in the sequence, and does nothing for the rest of the round except get beat on [and this was for what, the last 4 minutes of this round?], Forrest passed his guard and eventual held mount for a couple minutes, Griffin didn't do lots of damage but he certainly dominated the round completely)
Round 3 -- 10-9 for Rampage (Close stand up round but I think Rampage was definitely the one landing the harder shots, this is a round I will rewatch closer later today)
Round 4 -- 10-9 for Rampage (Griffin was probably winning this round at the point when he got up from underneath Rampage, because of the solid triangle attempt earlier in the round, but I think Rampage won the stand up game pretty clearly for the next few minutes, landing hard shots, even when Forrest kind of blocked them)
Round 5 -- 10-9 for Forrest (Pretty close round but Griffin landed more shots and was more aggressive throughout the round [he wasn't very aggressive... but compared to Rampage this can be said], also landing 3-4 leg kicks that were probably the most significant shots landed in the round)
However, the 3 judges for the fight ventured to score it 48-46, 48-46, and 49-46 for Forrest.
What happened was... two of the judges must have given the 1st (unlikely), 3rd, or 4th round to Forrest, as well as the 10-8 second and 10-9 fifth which seemed pretty clear. As for the 49-46 score... that's hard to explain. This judge might have scored one of the rounds a 10-10 and still given Forrest one of the other close rounds too... idk, this judge just seems to need glasses.
Overall, it was a great fight. Forrest definitely did better than almost everyone expected, and I feel good that I stuck to my guns and picked him. Rampage went for... no take downs in the whole fight? I'm pretty sure of it. The only time Forrest got taken down (4th round) was when Forrest was going for a take down with a leg trip like he did against Rua, but Rampage powered through it while Forrest had one of his feet in the air and got on top. That was interesting, really Forrest's take down defense wasn't tested. But, what he did do was show a really good ground game and a really good stand up game that was a lot better than most people expected. He continued to be virtually impossible to ground and pound, showed submission attempts off his back, and from the top showed the ability to pass Rampage's guard to mount, and throw submission attempts from there as well. On the feet, he threw constant kicks -- the head kicks and body kicks were mostly insignificant, but the leg kicks were strong and did damage -- especially in the first two rounds, and then later in the 5th they were decent as well.
I look forward to a rematch sometime in the future.
Cote vs Almeida
I think the key thing to take away from this is that neither of them are ready for Anderson Silva, not in the least. That and both of them need to push their conditioning a lot harder. The fight was ridiculously close, but I think Cote was the person I would have given the 3rd round too for the 29-28 decision as well. A split decision victory for Cote that leaves a lot of questions. He showed good wrestling and take down defense in spurts, but his stand up game looked tentative because he was so afraid to be taken down, I suppose.
Good job Stevenson. I want to see him face an Edgar/Guida type, a really good wrestler like that soon. Stevenson shows how great his guillotine choke is, but other than that he seemed to be losing the fight. Probably the other most impressive thing he does is get off his back so easily. Tibau... it's hard to believe he's only 24. He's really good but needs to get a lot better to handle the competition at 155, but I think eventually he will. He is a HUGE 155'er and that will always be a nice attribute to help him along the way.
Koscheck shows that despite working on his standup all the freaking time, he still needs to get a lot better standup game to compete with the best. Pretty much whenever this feet was on the feet, Lytle was winning it. Even in the last minute when Lytle was wearing a 'crimson mask' and was gassed from all the blood loss. Koscheck's wrestling remained strong (Lytle actually had some moments of really good take down defense though), but what was really impressive was his ground and pound. He also shows that since he's been working so much on his stand up, his jitz could use some offensive work and his cardio still has room for improvement. And despite all my critiques he managed to win a 30-27 unanimous decision!
Griffin is a great fighter. That's what we get out of this. He doesn't finish fights, but he does have a reputation as a guy who has great fights, and wins fight of the night awards . . . so the issue of him not finishing fights shouldn't be something that keeps the matchmakers from moving up the ranks. His wrestling is top 3 or 5 in the division and his stand up is ever improving. A match between him and Sherk would actually be really good just like I keep saying Maynard-Sherk would be. Same goes for Griffin-Maynard.