Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson landed one of his trademark slams against Ryan Bader at UFC 144 in Japan tonight, but it was one of the few bright spots for him as Bader got the better of the fight to claim a unanimous decision win.
It was clear from the opening moments of the fight that Bader wasn’t looking to stand toe-to-toe with ‘Rampage’. Instead he was staying mobile, circling his opponent and picking his moments to come in and land shots before making a sharp exit.
It appeared to work, with Rampage not able to get in close enough to land the short-range hooks that he favors.
What Rampage was doing well with was fending off Bader’s takedown attempts, using his wrestling to counteract Bader’s own.
Towards the end of the round Rampage did start to let his punches go, but he wasn’t able to make clean contact and he went back to his corner breathing quite heavily.
Things livened up significantly at times in the second round. In a throwback to his time in PRIDE ‘Rampage’s’ big moment of the round came when he slammed Bader in the early stages, landing him half on his head and half on his right arm.
Naturally Bader was somewhat stunned and though he got back to his feet he looked to still be attempting to clear the cobwebs as Rampage pressed forward and landed more punches and even a solid body kick.
Bader managed to survive the onslaught however and then had some success of his own in the takedown department, planting Rampage on his back and started landing some elbow strikes.
Eventually Rampage managed to struggle back to his feet, but it was only a brief respite before Bader again dumped him to the mat and rode out the rest of the round in top control.
Onto the third and Rampage needed something big to swing the fight back in his favor, but he never got the opportunity to do so.
Bader secured a very nice takedown early in the round and gave Rampage no opportunity to get back up, working him over with ground and pound for much of the five minutes that followed, and even attempted a kimura in the closing seconds, but Rampage was able to fight it off.
The judges verdict was no surprise – all three awarded Bader a clean sweep decision (30-27 x3).