In what may go down in history as one of the greatest and closely contested UFC title fights in history, Forrest Griffin did what many said could not be done when he shirked his ‘Reality TV Star’ stigma and became the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion of the world. The fight went all five rounds and saw both fighters stay on their feet for the majority, with Quinton Jackson and Griffin both in trouble at various times during the fight.
Griffin employed an insightful game-plan, utilizing his reach and jab to avoid Rampage’s power early on in the fight. Whenever he strayed from this, Jackson made him pay with big shots, rocking him with a powerful uppercut (the same that put Marvin Eastman down in ‘Page’s UFC debut) in the opening round. Forrest showed his chin is not as easily shattered as the Kieth Jardine fight may have led us to believe and managed to recover from Quinton’s power quite well. In the end, it was Forrest’s Thai kicks, chopping the inside and outside of Rampage’s lead left leg, that garnered him the decision. Throughout the fight, Quinton was noticeably hurt and during the second round Griffin cracked him in the knee with such force that it changed the Champ’s usually agile footwork to a flat, stomping affair that kept him from ever getting inside to do real damage. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rampage had something torn or ripped somewhere abouts inside his knee, post-fight.
It was an extremely close bout, and Forrest did not escape unscathed. Whenever Jackson was able to connect, damage was done. I thought that the fight and Griffin’s life would end when, in an attempt to triangle Jackson, he was lifted off the ground in similar fashion to Ricardo Arona (who was knocked out cold via slam by Jackson several years early). Sensing danger (and perhaps seeing his life flash before his eyes), Griffin relinquished the sub.
According to Sherdog.com, Jackson’s management is contesting the bout, but I’m not sure why. There is an argument that either man won and when fights go to a decision, that’s what happens. Nothing that a rematch can’t solve.
COED Fight’s to Watch:
If you missed the card and are bored, head over to UFC.com and use their On-Demand to check out Gurgel v. Miller and Stevenson v. Tibau from the same evening.
Jorge Gurgel and Miller are both Ultimate Fighter alums who have had mixed results post-show but put on an absolute beast of a fight with a shock ending. A willingness to scrap and a need to win in both fighters made for a truly explosive and back and forth bout.
Stevenson and Tibau put on a jujitsu clinic, both displaying offensive and defensive finesse in the ground game. Highlight would certainly be when Tibau locks in a omopalata (shoulder lock using the legs) and Stevenson, showing both knowledge and experience, defends perfectly and happily sits in the sub for the last minute of the round, having a conversation with both the ref and Tibau while smiling and being punched in the head. One more reason to love Joe ‘Daddy’ Stevenson.