The fight between Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson and 'Sugar' Rashad Evans has to be one the most anticipated MMA fights of the last few years. It's bigger than any Lesnar fight. Bigger than any Couture fight.
In fact, I'd venture to say there's more hype for this fight in the MMA community than there was for Mayweather/De La Hoya in the boxing community.
In any case, the hype machine is in full force, and for those who aren't die-hard MMA fans, it's easy to get caught up. Do not believe everything you hear.
Everyone has heard about the bad blood, the trash talking, the threats and so on. Everyone has heard about the training, or lack thereof.
Everyone has heard about the fight delays, the injury issues and the possible title fight that will be awarded to the winner. I'm not writing this to beat a dead horse.
Everyone has the gist of what's going on. You know everything you WANT to know. But before you hit the "On Demand" button on your remote or run out to a bar, here's what you NEED to know.
Do NOT buy into the UFC Propaganda Network
I love UFC: Primetime and Countdown and all of those other shows. I think they've done a lot for the UFC and for MMA. These shows often humanize the fighters.
They tell the audience that these guys aren't barbarians, they're not thugs who go around looking for fights. They're athletes, and this is what they're good at. I love that aspect.
But be warned: These shows can make you form opinions on the fight based on what you perceive is going on. Think about the last season of The Ultimate Fighter . Everyone was so mad at Jackson. They said he was a bad coach. That he had no work ethic. That he used scare tactics to win.
So now, Jackson is the bad guy. But people forget that Jackson was in the middle of a huge contract dispute with the UFC because he wanted time off to film The A-Team (which I'm going to be first in line to see...but I digress).
Do you think that may have had SOMETHING to do with the footage being edited to show all of Jackson's bad moments?
I like Dana White, but don't get it twisted. This man is in the business of making money, and making himself look good. So don't be surprised if he slants things in his favor. Don't hate the player, hate the game.
That being said, these shows are creating a lot of misconceptions that are throwing off even the most seasoned MMA fans. There are some things that need to be said, and I don't feel like anyone is saying them. Which leads me to my next point:
Evans does NOT have consistent knockout power
Every single clip of Rashad Evans shows him laying the wood on Chuck Liddell or scoring a knockout by way of a kick. Nice. They point out that he only has one loss on his record. Also nice.
But don't take a commericals' word for it, look into the subject. He knocked out Sean Salmon with a kick. How much of a marquee name is Sean Salmon? How many times has he headlined a fight card?....Go ahead, I'll wait....never? Ok, that's what I thought.
And yes, he knocked out Chuck Liddell. But Liddell has only won 1 fight since 2006. Rampage knocked him out and took his belt, and he's been knocked out by 'Shogun' Rua and Evans, not to mention a decision loss to Keith Jardine.
This is someone who is at the tail end of his career, so don't be so impressed. Evans has 5 TKO's, and only 2 of them are ACTUAL knock outs. The heavy hands are a myth. Evans wants to wrestle, he's at a huge disadvantage trying to strike with Jackson.
Jackson doesn't like to train...but he does
This is true. But a lot of athletes don't. That doesn't mean that Quinton Jackson doesn't put in work when he as a fight coming up.
No one was talking about his work ethic when he knocked out Chuck Liddell or Wanderlei Silva, or when he beat Jardine and Dan Henderson.
Take it for what it is. He knows what to do when it's time to go to work.
Evans has amazing cardio
He absolutely does. I think he owes a lot of his success to the fact that he doesn't get tired. He truly believes that you suffer before the fight so you don't suffer in the fight. His stamina is amazing.
Evans is as good on the ground as Jackson is standing up
A lot of people say that Jackson and Evans are very similar. Not true. Yes, Jackson got his start as a high school wrestling star, but that's where it ended for him. Evans was Junior College Wrestling Champion, and an All-American at Michigan State.
Add this to the fact that Evans recently received a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt, and you have someone who is very dangerous on the ground. Jackson is a great wrestler, but he will do everything he can to make Evans stand up against him.
If the fight spends too much time on the ground, it puts Jackson at a marked disadvantage; he cannot defend himself down there for 15 minutes.
Jackson has fought some of the most impressive fighters in the WORLD
Wanderlei Silva. Chuck Liddell. Dan Henderson. 'Ninja' Rua. These are MMA legends. Jackson has 30 wins on his pro record. He has 14 knockouts. He wants to stand and swing. And when he's tired of that, he'll pick you up and slam you.
How many fighters do you know that can bodyslam someone so hard, they lose consciousness? he even has a knockout on his kickboxing record. He's coming to the ring to knock Evans out, and if Evans tries to stand with him, it could be disastrous.
The promotion for this fight has been epic, but when it all goes down, plan on seeing two veteran fighters trying to execute a game plan.
We've seen grudge matches before. A lot of fights have bad blood: Penn/Pulver, Mir/Lesnar, Ortiz/Everyone who has ever known Ortiz. And while it's true, these guys really, really hate each other, they're both professionals.
They just want to win, and they'll do what it takes to win. That being said, if I were a betting man, I'd say the smart money is on Rampage in the second round.
He can defend take-downs and force Evans to stand up. If that happens, Evans won't last long.
Lyoto Machida proved that Evans doesn't have that much of a chin, and Jackson hits as hard as anyone else in his weight class.
But hey...this is a fight. Anything could happen, right?
Enjoy the "black on black crime"!