Quinton Jackson vs. Keith Jardine
Both fighters tie up early against the cage and are separated by the referee. Jardine’s hands look quick and he is backing up and forcing Jackson to walk him down. A few leg kicks land for Jardine. Jardine is looking to stick-and-move jumping in with a quick combination and running out of range but Jackson seems to have found his rythem and lands a couple of solid punches. Round 1 Quinton Jackson 10-9
Rampage throws the first leg kick of the fight and Jardine replies with a body kick. Jackson blocks a head kick but Jardine lands his trademark leg kick. Jackson is eating leg kicks and doest seem to be able to check them. Jackson lands a hard punch that drops Jardine and Jackson follows up with some ground-and-pound but Jardine gets back up on his feet. Jardine still looks shaky and Jackson drops and lands a clean takedown but Jardine gets back up but his hands are way down and still looks a little shaky.Jardine lands a kick in the box that is straigh on the can. After the restart Jardinefires off a flurry of punches that lands on Jackson and has him in a little bit of trouble but Jackson works his way out in a very entertaining round. Close round but Jackson may have had the round based on the knockdown. Jardine looks very tired.
A little bit tentative in the early goigns, Jackson lands a clean takedown but Jardine gets back to the feet.Jardine lands a couple of nice leg kicks and again Jackson has no answer for them. Jackson lands a nice left hook but Jarine eats it well but has his left hand very low. Both fighter are tied up against the cage with one minute remaining.Jackson has Jardine hurt after landing some nice punches in a bit of a firefight. Jardine is knocked down with a right hand and a left hook that dropped him to the mat just as the bell rings to end the final round. It looks like the bell saved Jardine. Jackson wins round three in a very good fight. Quinton Jackson secures a spot against Rashad Evans in a future UFC.
Full UFC 96 Report
“I want my belt back,” Quinton Jackson’s desire for the belt was apparent in an exciting main event where Jackson landed the harder shots to win over the judges in a unanimous decision victory over the durable Keith Jardine.
Jackson’s power was the difference as he was able to drop Keith Jardine to the canvas via punches to the face twice - once in the second, and once in the third, but was unable to finish the fight despite landing some hard punches on a chin that he himself questioned.
Jardine looked good in spurts landing leg kicks almost at will on Jackson who seemed to have no answer for them, instead choosing to eat them and look for the counter. A flurry in the third round was Jardine’s best moment in the fight but Jackson landed a right hand left hook on the chin that dropped The Dean of Mean just as the bell sounded to end the final round that put an exclamation point on relatively close and entertaining fight by scores of 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27 all for the winner Quinton Jackson
Following the fight Jackson went nose-to-nose with Rashad Evans who came into the Octagon following the bout and it looks like the bout will main event UFC 98 on May 23 replacing the Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir bout which was pushed back due to a knee injury suffered by Frank Mir. Meahwhile, Lyoto Machida will again wait on the sidelines and may be on the fence for quite some time unless he chooses to fight while the light-heavyweight belt is up for grabs in May.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shane Carwin
Shane Carwin moved into the upper-eschelon of the UFC heavyweight division with a come-from-behind victory over Gabriel Gonzaga. The first punch Carwin landed proved to be the defining strike of the fight dropping Gonzaga to the mat wtih a short right hand that crumpled the Brazilian against the cage.
Things started poorly for Carwin who was stunned with a flurry of punches to the face, taken down and on his back with the jiu jitsu black belt on top of him against the cage. Gonzaga went to work from the top but Carwin was able to push his way back to the feet, eat a right hand on the temple, and counter with the right that changed the course of the fight. A few extra punches on the ground forced the referee to step in and save Gonzaga who drops back into the middle of the heavyweight pack. "My head is a little extra thick," said Carwin as he muscled his way into the top of the division where a potential fight with the champion could be looming.
Pete Sell vs. Matt Brown
It only took 1:32 for Matt Brown to take out the durable but overmatched Pete Sell battering the Matt Serra black belt in a fight that was muddled in some confusion and appeared to be stopped to late. Matt Brown started quickly landing a beautiful right head kick followed by a pinpoint left right that dropped him to the canvass. Referee Yves Lavigne touched Brown briefly who stopped attacking but Lavigne motioned for them to continue fighting. Matt continued his assault battering Pete Sell who appeared to be out on his feet against a reluctant Brown who was hesitant to administer any more punishment on the obviously hurt Sell.
Brown tied up the head of Sell who just fell over before dropping two more punches to the head before he was stopped by the referee. Brown has the most impressive victory of his career.
Matt Hamill vs. Mark Munoz
Matt Hamill threw a rare head kick at 3:53 of the first round that sent Mark Munoz to sleep crumpled against the canvas out before he hit the ground. Munoz had some success with the lead right hook in the early goings but Hamill appeared to be the much stronger fighter and was muscled around the cage and looked tired half way through the first round and ultimately fell to the former TUF veteran. Hamill moves on in the light heavyweight division with what could be his best performance of his career in front of the fans in his home state of Ohio.
Jim Miller vs. Gray Maynard
A unanimous decision went to wrestling standout Gray Maynard who surprisingly chose to keep the fight on the feet battering the left side of Millers face which swelled up and bled for much of the three-round fight.
Maynard’s takedown defense was much too much for Miller who shot in vain to take the fight to the ground but didn’t have the tools to get it there paying for it with a gritty but lopsided loss to the former TUF veteran.
Preliminary Dark Matches
Tamdan McCrory defeats Ryan Madigan
Tamdan McCrory dubbed by Joe Rogan as the toughest nerd in the business proved to be every bit the part getting the fight to the mat mounting his opponent with ease and finishing with a flurry of elbows on the ground to secure the TKO at 3:35 of the first stanza.
Kendall Grove defeats Jason Day
“I thought I was going to lose my job but I guess not.” Kendall Grove was matter of fact about a fight that was a must win for the Hawaiian, and win he did over the tough Canadian Jason Day.
Day started out well scoring with uppercuts from the clinch as he attacked the much taller opponent but Grove gathered himself and landed a beautiful straight right that stiffened Day out and sent him crashing to the matt. Grove followed up with a right hand and numerous elbows to the head before the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
Jason Brilz over Tim Boetch
Brandon Vera defeated Michael Patt
Brandon Vera’s performance was reminiscent of performances past as he picked Micheal Patt apart for two rounds before finishing his overmatched opponent by chopping him to the canvas. Leg kicks were his tool of choice and they looked sharper and harder than ever mixing them up to the outside and the inside of both Patt’s legs en route to a dominating performance that puts him back on the light-heavyweight map. After punishing Patt’s left leg for two and a half rounds Patt crumbled to the mat twice from leg kicks before referee Yves Levigne stepped in to stop the bout at 1:27 of round 2.
“The Truth is back,” he yelled following his victory and in his own words his training was lackluster but it appears he is back on track and that is good news for the light-heavyweight division who could see another contender rise out of the ashes of the UFC’s marquee weight class.
Shane Nelson defeated Aaron Riley