Perhaps the most entertaining fight Saturday night inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena was actually in the stands.
Immediately after the main event between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Matt Hamill, a beer was tossed towards the Octagon and a fracas ensued nearby as a large section of the audience of 12,816 rose to get a better view before police stepped in.
That was the contrasting scene between a smattering of boos that rang out in the final moments of the main event of UFC 130 as Jackson couldn’t complete his promise of knocking out Hamill despite landing some big blows at the end of the first and second rounds.
“I needed a hammer,” Jackson said of what it would have taken to finish off Hamill, who was born deaf. “I tried to make it as exciting as I could, but Matt Hamill ain’t no chump.”
The victory pushed Jackson (32-8 MMA record, 7-2 UFC) back to the top of the 205-pound contenders and might land him the next title shot against champ Jon Jones, that is, if he is able to quickly recover from a fractured left hand that Jackson said he suffered in training camp for Hamill (10-3 MMA), who saw his five-fight win streak snapped as well as his hopes for breaking into the Top 10 of the stacked lightweight division.
The non-title fight was a late replacement for the scheduled lightweight championship fight and third meeting between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, but that bout was scrapped as both fighters suffered injuries.
Mir wins Vegas showdown
In the battle for hometown bragging rights, former heavyweight champ Frank Mir utilized aggressive takedowns and some big knees to score a unanimous victory over fellow Las Vegan Roy Nelson in the night’s co-main event.
“I’m here and he’s at the hospital,” joked Nelson, who said the difference in the fight was Mir’s wrestling and strength and said the big knees that Mir landed, actually weren’t as damaging as they appeared.
“I just got outwrestled. The takedowns won him the fight. He’s a big guy to get off you.”
Mir (15-5) didn’t attend the post fight news conference as he went to the hospital for broke jaw, said wrestling was indeed the key.
“Wrestling was my main focus in this camp and I think it worked out well for me tonight,” Mir said. “I’d rate my performance as a seven (out of 10). I expected to win the grappling aspect. It went even better than I had a planned.”
Both Brian Stann and Rick Story proved they are legitimate contenders in their respective divisions.
Stann, a former Marine, floored Jorge Santiago, the first Sengoku middleweight champion, in the second round with a big right and then followed up with a half dozen more rights before ref Herb Dean stepped in and stopped the action.
“I’m ecstatic and honored to beat a true champ. It’s tough to transition from Japan to over here,” said Stann, who improved to 5-1 in the UFC with the victory. “It was a huge move for me.”
Despite losing the final round of his bout with Thiago Alves, Story did enough in the other two stanzas of their welterweight bout to pull out a 29-28 unanimous decision victory on all three scorecards for his sixth straight win in the UFC.
“My goal was to be explosive because I think that’s his kryptonite,” Story said. “I wanted to stay on him and let him know that I wasn’t going anywhere. I’ve had a lot of hard strikes landed on me and it goes back to my conditioning. My coach, Pat White, puts me in situations in training where I have to deal with adversity and have to deal with having my conditioning tested.”
Torres loses again
Former World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champ Miguel Torres (39-4) dropped his third bout in his last five outings when he lost a unanimous decision to 24-year-old Demetrious Johnson.
Torres had opportunities with a couple of submission attempts, but couldn’t finish off the 5-foot-3 Johnson, who improved to 10-1.
“This was my fault tonight,” said Torres of the setback, which took him out of contention to face the winner of UFC 132 title bout between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber.
“He took me down and he just held me. I had a couple of submission attempts that gave me the chance to put him away. I just didn’t take advantage when I should have.”
Strikeforce heads to Sin City
The former San Jose, Calif.-based mixed martial arts promotion — which was purchased by UFC parent company, Zuffa, in March — will hold its first card in Las Vegas on July 22 at The Pearl at the Palms.
The Strikeforce Challengers 17 event, televised on Showtime, will be headlined by a trilogy fight between welterweights Roger Bowling (9-1) and Bobby Voelker (23-8). Bowling, a 29-year-old from Cincinnati, won the first meeting with the 32-year-old Kansas native Voelker scoring a impressive TKO in their immediate rematch in October.
Hendo-Fedor fight set
Two MMA legends are slated to square off July 30 near Chicago as Dan Henderson (27-8) and Russian Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) agreed to a 220-pound catchweight bout at the Strikeforce show at Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Emelianenko, who was considered by several MMA experts to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, is coming off back-to-back losses to Antonio Silva and Fabricio Werdum.
Henderson, who has won two in a row via knockout, said he’s wanted this superfight since the two fighters were competing in PRIDE.
“I can tell you what Dan told me, he told me I can fight at any weight, anytime, any place, just let me fight Fedor,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said Saturday afternoon.
Travis Browne, Gleison Tibau, Brian Stann and Jorge Santiago all earned $70,000 in bonuses for their efforts at UFC 130. Browne scored the “Knockout of the Night,” while Tibau earned “Submission of the Night” honors and Stan and Santiago took home “Fight of the Night.”
The UFC will be back in Vegas next Saturday as lightweights Clay Guida and Anthony Pettis headline The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale at the Palms.
UFC 130 Results
Bantamweight (135 pounds) — Renan Barao defeated Cole Escovedo by unanimous decision 30-27, 29-28, 30-27.
Bantamweight (135) — Michael McDonald def. Chris Cariaso by split decision 29-28, 29-28, 27-30.
Lightweight (155) — Gleison Tibau def. Rafaello Oliveira by submission (rear naked choke, 3:28-Round 2).
Middleweight (185) — Tim Boetsch defeated Kendall Grove by unanimous decision 30-27, 29-28, 30-27.
Bantamweight (135) — Demetrious Johnson def. Miguel Torres by unanimous decision 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.
Middleweight (185) — Brian Stann def. Jorge Santiago by TKO (4:29-Round 2).
Welterweight (170) — Rick Story def. Thiago Alves by unanimous decision 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.
Heavyweight (265) — Travis Browne def. Stefan Struve by TKO (4:11-Round 1).
Heavyweight (265) — Frank Mir def. Roy Nelson by unanimous decision 30-27, 30-26, 30-27.
Light Heavyweight (205) — Quinton “Rampage” Jackson def. Matt Hamill by unanimous decision 30-27, 30-27, 30-27.