Tomorrow night, September 24th 2011 the UFC returns to Denver, Colorado and will offer up a highly anticipated Light-Heavyweight title fight between rising star and champion Jon "Bones" Jones and former champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in what will be a gigantic fight in the 205-pound division.
Jones, fresh off a win over perennial contender and Pride legend Mauricio "Shogun" Rua is riding a wave of success in a career that has seen defeat once, a disqualification in a fight with Matt Hamill where Jones was in complete control dominating the fight. The young star will look to make his statement while beating a star that claims he is in the absolute best shape he has ever been.
That star, Quinton Jackson is also fresh off a big win. Rampage outclassed and overmatched Matt Hamill in a fight that saw him shrug off seventeen takedowns. While being a veteran of the sport Rampage has fought a "whose who" list of Light-Heavyweights stemming all the way back to his days in Pride.
Who do you think will win? Some of the regulars here at Mania offer their official fight picks below.
JBJ will circle Page and use his reach advantage to strike at him from the outside. Page will attempt to close the gap with the occasional bullrush - but with little success. JBJ will then time Page and shoot in for the clinch. JBJ and Page will exchange some dirty boxing until JBJ gets the TD. Page will work his way back up to his feet and avoid any significant damage by JBJ. Both fighters will separate at this point and re-set on their feet.
Rinse and repeat.
JBJ will continue to work his game plan to perfection while Page hopes for a counter punching barrage that will never happen.
JBJ keeps the belt with a UD decision over a frustrated Page who has refused to evolve his game planning.
Rampage vs Jones is going to be a super competitive fight. It will be a back and forth battle for the ages. I don’t even know who to pick? This is one of the toughest fights to call in a while. Guess what? For the past 5 seconds I have been lying to you. What we are actually going to witness Saturday is pure destruction. Jon Jones is going to prove to his haters, once again, that he is on a whole other level than his competition. This IS the Jon Jones era and you all better get used to it because its here to stay for a solid decade. This fight will not go past the 3rd round.
Jones will come out to start the opening round circling Rampage and using his reach advantage to pick Rampage apart. He will also be looking to land a few leg kicks, ala Forrest. Rampage is a standup fighter, actually, he’s a boxer (that has some wrestling skills but refuses to use them). Jon Jones will want to prove that he is a better striker than Rampage. This will really screw with Rampage’s psyche. But he is also going to be looking to end the fight. So after frustrating Rampage in the first with his reach advantage that he’s able to utilize so well, Jones will come out flashy in the 2nd. He will start to incorporate his unorthodox striking that we’ve come accustomed to seeing. And yes, this is where you will see a spinning elbow. At this point, Rampage will be demoralized. His one chance at winning is to land a KO punch, but he hasn’t been able to touch Jonny at all through the first two rounds.. This is when Jon will look for the kill. In the third I expect Jones to take Rampage down about one minute into the round. From here he will smack Rampage’s big ol’ head with some ground and pound, but nothing to severe, just yet.
He will just be softening Rampage for what’s about to come. Then uncharacteristically, Jones will slow down on his ground and pound. Then the dumb, demoralized Quinton will think that this will give him a moment to rest on the bottom. Bad idea, you’ve just been baited, sucker. Right at this very instant, Jon Jones will explode with a series of vicious elbows that rattle Rampage’s brain and leave him dazed, confused, swollen and bloody as the ref pulls Jon off of him. Jon Jones by utter, cerebral, calculated destruction 3rd Round TKO.
You don’t believe me? Bet me.
It should come as to no surprise that I will be picking the Champ in this one and it should come as to no surprise that the majority of MMA enthusiasts out there will agree. Jon Jones has more ways to win and to be straight forward… Jon Jones is just too good period.
Reach means everything in fights and to add Jones has one of the vastest arsenals of weapons in the entire sport maybe rivaled by only Anderson Silva. Rampage while having loads of talent and skill just isn’t the same Rampage that was once a champion. While it is impressive that his "million dollar" camp consists of a huge MusclePharm facility, that doesn’t make up for that fact that Jones will clown him on the ground, through takedowns and striking.
I won’t say it’s a 100% guarantee Jones will win because as we all know anything can happen, however it is a safe bet to always go for the guy who is better in all areas and has more ways to win. Jon won’t let Rampage see past the third round. No championship rounds on this one.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jones submit Rampage to defend his title.
In the words of Clubber Lang: "My prediction? Pain." Pain for Page. I havent seen a line drawn in the sand between 2 groups of maniacs since GSP/Penn 2. Half of my cyber-circle can't wait to see Jones get his "arrogant prick face smashed in" and his "hype" put to an end. These statements are usually followed by 'I pray Rampage lands a hook and turns Jones' lights out". That right there says it all boys and girls. Jones haters know they need divine intervention for Jones to lose this fight. And I firmly believe the first, last, and only time that the Almighty decided to intervene in an MMA competition was at UFC 69. I hope you mailed your thank-you card Matt Serra.
The other half, which I like to call the "Intelligent Half", realize Bones' skill. They are able to put their opinion of his personality aside, and rationally think about these two fighters and how they match up. Rampage is too one-dimensional, too predictable, to game-plannable. While that one dimension has gotten him rather far in his day, times have changed. Jones will out-strike Rampage, until he wants to take it to the ground. Which I predict will be mid 2nd round. The rest of the fight will play out with Jones dominating and controlling Quinton on the ground.
Jones has this fight all day long. Pages slow, plodding footwork won’t be good enough to get inside Jones reach. Even if he does get inside, Jones knows that’s the only place he would be in trouble, so look for Jones to body lock Jackson and toss him on his head. I see a late finish in favor of Jones (4th or 5th round), or possibly a UD.
Rampage is going to come out stalking and trying to land some heavy leather. JBJ will counter this by working from space and peppering Page with brutal leg kicks. As soon as Rampage shows his dislike for these I see Jones moving in with knees which will drop Hollywood where he will be finished up with one or two elbows. JBJ TKO, round 2.
This is a pretty simple one to call, in my opinion. It's just a matter of what round Bones finishes Page in. Other than Rashad Evans, no LHW contender has ever seen what Bones can bring to the cage (which is incidentally why I think that Shad is the only LHW that could beat him right now). Rampage will not be ready for the varied barrage of attacks headed his way. Bones would have a greater advantage on the ground, no question, but I really don't see it going there, unless the fight gets into the championship rounds, which I don't see happening either. Bones beats Rampage with a combo of great kickboxing and Muay Thai. Jones by TKO in the 3rd.
Those are our picks Maniac's, share some of yours or tell us why all six of us may be wrong in choosing Jon Jones to win and retain his title.