In a sport which is rooted by the art of Jiu-Jitsu and submissions, chokes and joint locks are the most often talked about aspect of combat grappling. In recent events this year we have seen catchy and flashy submissions like Nick Pace and his "Pace Choke" and Chan Sung Jung performing Eddie Bravo’s infamous "Twister" submission.
But where is the love for the defensive grappling?
This weekend's UFC 130 event will showcase a main event between Quinton Jackson and Matt Hamill. Many longtime fans know "Rampage" made his name under the PRIDE banner, becoming a Japanese mainstay and building a very large following with his uncanny antics both inside and outside the ring including referee interaction and humorous pre-fight interviews.
But there is something else about Jackson that often goes unseen, seemingly left in the dark shadow of his over-the-top personality.
He has talent.
For a look into Jackson’s defining career moment, follow me after the jump.
Before we start, let me first give a thank you to Zombie Prophet for the .gifs. Check out his site (Ironforgesiron.com) -- he has .gifs and videos of fights up faster than anyone else on the 'net.
Starting his mixed martial arts career with a wrestling background, Rampage quickly made a name for himself with his raw power that helped with his slams and his powerful ground-and-pound that ended fights or forced opponents to give up position, allowing for Rampage to secure tapout victories.
With a 20-4 record and already solidifying himself in front of tens of thousands of fans in Japan as a legitimate contender to the middleweight title, Jackson would look for a second straight win after losing in his first title opportunity against Wanderlei Silva.
He would be one fight away from the title shot and a chance at redemption against "The Axe Murderer," but first he would have to face grappling phenom Ricardo Arona.
Arona is an Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) champion and remained undefeated after winning both the open weight crown and his weight classes (202 pounds) title as well. Heading into the bout with Jackson he was 8-1 with the sole loss belonging to Fedor Emelianenko in a fight some argue Arona won.
The fight would likely determine who would be named the number one contender for Wanderlei’s middleweight title.
After winning the striking exchanges with Arona in the opening minutes of the fight, Rampage saw very little of Arona’s ground game. He stuffed shots and evaded the guard to earn a sizeable advantage in the round. He used his takedown defense and striking to stifle Arona but his sprawl and brawl tactics would end when Arona managed to finally lock him into his guard.
After covering up from a striking barrage from Arona, Rampage presses forward with a three-strike combination to the head. Arona is able to gain two overhooks during the flurry when he ducks his head under the strikes. He uses those overhooks to pull Rampage down using his weight and upper body strength which effectively places Arona on his back and Rampage within his guard.
The two fighters would jockey for position for several minutes and in those moments fans would be treated to several submission attempts by Arona including triangle choke, straight armbar and a guillotine attempt as well as a healthy dose of ground-and-pound by Rampage that kept Arona from being too comfortable attacking from his back.
Rampage would stay very heavy as he avoided the crafty set-ups by Arona up until the three minute mark of the very first round.
Arona has effectively trapped the right arm of Rampage between his high guard. High guard is most effective in setting up both armbars and triangle chokes. Arona has previously attacked with both submissions on that same arm just moments prior to this set up.
Rampage stays very heavy and balanced as he stacked the Brazilian high onto his shoulders. By doing so he made Arona very uncomfortable and took away balance and leverage to explode with his hips to attempt to finish the choke.
Arona continued to attack with the high guard keeping Rampage in danger and attempted to pepper Jackson’s defense with strikes while sustaining control of the untrapped arm and the head to keep the triangle hopes alive.
Fate would go against the submission on this day.
Before Arona was able to lock his left foot under the right knee, securing the choke, Rampage had postured up on both feet and prepared to lift Arona into the air.
Rampage shrugs off the wrist control Arona has, clasps his hands together around the left arm/wrist of Arona and picks him straight into the air. Arona keeps his legs tight around Rampage although they have slipped considerably in the lift and he's now sitting with his hips at the same height of Rampage’s head.
At this point there is no where else to go but down.
With tremendous upper body strength he thrusts downwards with Arona’s body underneath his arms and lets his legs go from under him, assuring maximum weight and force as he drives his foe straight into the mat.
Upon impact, the Jiu-Jitsu master pays the ultimate price for the triangle choke when he is rendered unconscious. As soon as the impact occurs, the legs spread from around Rampage, thus fully nullifying the choke he was once in danger of.
The referee steps in shortly after a right hand to stop the fight, awarding Rampage the victory and another shot at the PRIDE Middleweight title.
The slam would become the defining moment of Rampage's career and a grim reminder that submissions are not always a foregone conclusion.