("This is bullshit, I’ll be in my trailer. Somebody come get me when craft services arrives." / Photo courtesy of the ‘UFC 114 Photos’ gallery on MMAFighting.com.)
Before Rashad Evans restored order to the universe by outmaneuvering and out-grappling Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the main event, UFC 114 turned out to be a surprisingly good night for guys sporting what might charitably be described as the “man on the street” build. A dumpy Mike Russow and a doughy Jason Brilz each turned in the evening’s most interesting performances, for different reasons.
Brilz, who stepped in on short notice for an injured Forrest Griffin, got flat-out screwed in dropping a split decision loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira after clearly winning at least two rounds of their fight. Russow, on the other hand, spent almost three full periods letting Todd Duffee use his face for target practice before he calmly clicked Duffee’s off switch with a lucky right midway through the final round.
It’s a shame the UFC doesn’t award a bonus for “Most Obvious Post-Fight Comment,” because the winner certainly would’ve been Russow, who (without a hint of irony) told Joe Rogan: “I need to get back in the gym,” during their in-ring interview, after Rogan called his KO of Duffee “the best come-from-behind, one-punch knockout in (MMA) history.”
Uh, dude, you need to get back in the gym?
Nogueira and Brilz both pocketed $65,000 bonuses for Fight of the Night, while Russow earned the KO of the Night award and Ryan Jensen scored Submission of the Night for choking out Jesse Forbes in the first fight on the card.
In other action, Michael Bisping showed up with hair and something resembling a tan and defeated Dan Miller by decision, while John Hathaway surprised everyone with the ease in which he handled Diego Sanchez in the pay-per-view’s opening bout. Hathaway scored a unanimous decision win.
For pure action, each of those performances overshadowed the main event which, after months of Jackson and Evans letting their mouths run in circles, couldn’t possibly hope to live up to the hype. In the end, the bout looked more reminiscent of Evans’ first handful of fights in the Octagon than anything else. Rashad executed a great game plan, using his superior mobility and wrestling to fatigue and frustrate Jackson en route to a unanimous decision win. The Vegas crowd – which pretty much booed the shit out of everything and everyone on Saturday – was not impressed with his performance, but it was fairly dominating.
For Jackson, coming off a 14-month layoff while he filmed what’s sure to be this summer’s most-poorly reviewed blockbuster, the gas tank proved to be lacking and the game plan cooked up at the Wolfslair in the UK too one-dimensional. After getting stumbled by a punch in the opening seconds of the fight, Jackson never really seemed to get going. Even during his one bright spot, when he almost finished Evans in the third by knocking him to the canvas with a left-right combo, he didn’t have the wind to press the action once Rashad had weathered the storm on the ground.
The two didn’t speak in the cage after the fight (which was probably for the best) but, after delivering a surprisingly contrite and humble concession speech, Jackson immediately expressed interest in a rematch with his longtime rival. To which, every discerning MMA fan who had to witness the lead-up to this fight simultaneously screamed: Noooooooooooooo!
At the post-fight press conference, Jackson admitted that ring rust and the distractions of appearing as B.A. Baracus in the “A-Team” remake both played a part in his loss. True to their words, he and Evans refused to bury the hatchet … and also couldn’t resist playing one final game of “Yeah, what he said!” as they’ve been doing for over a year now.
"He can kiss my ass," Jackson told the press. "He fought a good fight. I’m not a sore loser, I’m a fighter, but I’m not going to forget the stuff he said."
"I feel the same way. He can kiss my ass, too," Evans responded.
And that was that. For now.
Complete UFC 114 results:
Rashad Evans def. Rampage Jackson via unanimous decision.
Michael Bisping def. Dan Miller by unanimous decision.
Mike Russow def. Todd Duffee by third-round TKO.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Jason Brilz by split decision.
John Hathaway def. Diego Sanchez via unanimous decision.
Melvin Guillard def. Waylon Lowe by first-round TKO.
Cyrille Diabate def. Luiz Arthur Cane by first-round TKO.
Aaron Riley def. Joe Brammer via unanimous decision.
Ryan Jensen def. Jesse Forbes via submission (guillotine).