IFL's Blog

IFL announcer and MMA commentator, "The Fight Professor" Stephen Quadros, took a long look at tonight's UFC championship bout in his preview on budovideos.com recently. Here is an excerpt from the full event preview, coutesy of Stephen Quadros and budovideos:

UFC® Light-heavyweight Championship Match
Chuck Liddell (champion) vs. Quinton Jackson (challenger)

The history of the rematch® between Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has been pounded into our skulls to the point that I will only briefly touch on the high-points below:

1. Liddell’s corner threw in the towel after Jackson took Chuck down and thrashed him when the pair met in the semi-finals of Pride’s Final Conflict tournament in (November) 2003.

2. Since then Rampage was KO’d twice by Wanderlei Silva, stopped by Mauricio Rua and struggled in decision wins against Murilo “Ninja” Rua and Matt “The Law” Lindland.

3. After the loss to Jackson, Chuck started drinking Xyience…then KO’d Randy Couture (twice) and Tito Ortiz (twice).

It’s no mystery that both men have taken different paths since the first go round. Liddell has established his place at the top of the sport; Jackson has not.

Chuck Liddell is the rarest of breeds in that he has become famous and enjoys partying with the Hollywood types, yet can seemingly be unfazed by the cush living, return to camp (The Pit with trainer John Hackleman in this case), get completely focused and actually get better.

From my observation, most fighters who dabble in “acting” and the glitzy life that sometimes accompanies it (clubs, late nights, expensive women) usually start getting their **** kicked inside the (ring or) cage by a hungry soul without an acting career. The “Wild On” lifestyle usually leaves fighters soft, mentally at least, and distracted. Chuck has so far been the exception.

Plus Liddell has perfected his Sherman tank style that has worked so well when dispatching wrestling/grappling based MMA fighters (Couture, Ortiz, Jeremy Horn and Renato Sobral). He waits, defends the takedown (if necessary), swats his opponent upside the head and then poses with his belt in the aftermath. Chuck is truly riding high at the moment.

Quinton Jackson still talks the talk, but gone is the swaggering, cursing, rough-edged monstrosity of bygone years. He is now jovial, “charming” and humorous, which still makes for fairly good pre-fight TV. One note though: before his persona seemed a little bit less rehearsed. He seemed like he was flying by the seat of his pants. And his fighting style was problematic because of the same things – his opponents didn’t know what to expect.

But does he still have the fire? Was it the two KOs to Wanderlei Silva that sent him into a period of self-doubt and/or a future of pre-fight anxiety? Regardless he will need his full capabilities in this match. Liddell’s mind is thinking of one thing only, to set right his last unavenged loss.

I know that Rampage has redesigned his technical facility over the last couple of years. But this match is not about technique, it about getting to the other guy first.

To win this rematch® Jackson must take it back to the beginning and unleash the “old” Rampage, who frightened his adversaries with his raging unpredictability. He must stand right up to Chuck, get him into a street brawl and hurt the Iceman to get him out of his game, just like he did in the first match.

Quinton needs to fight with emotion, the kind of emotion that he refers to as when he “blacks out”…and the ‘other’ Quinton Jackson flashes into action, the one who has convincingly demolished past opponents (both professionally and in more than a few personal situations).

Breaking this down in general terms, Jackson has two things that may pose a threat (again): knockout punching power and the bravado to stand in the pocket and trade. When Quinton pulls the trigger and decides to hit you it can create a problem. In facing Chuck here “Rampage” must forget about ‘thinking’ and only ‘do’. He must push the tempo and incorporate low kicks to set up his punch combos. He must ‘be first’.

Depending on which Quinton shows up, Liddell just needs to keep doing what he has been for the last three years, counter punch with fistic destruction. A good deal of attention has been placed on Jackson’s ability to hit hard, but let’s not forget “The Iceman’s” abilities in this very department. He may be the heavier puncher at this point in time, based solely on his stats (7 straight KO wins).

In some ways this fight depends on how Quinton executes. If he comes to rumble it will be exciting and would probably end with whoever lands first. If Jackson comes in and fights a calm strategic fight though, this could actually be dull.

I believe that both gents have a strong chance of winning.

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