But, before the two lightweight cardio machines throw down to see who takes home the gold in the Land of the Rising Sun, we have a co-main event that will see Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson make his long anticipated return to Japan, as he takes on Ultimate Fighter 7 winner Ryan Bader.
Let's fill you in on a little history and then powerbomb this prediction:
It should also, hopefully rile Jackson up.
Ryan Bader took the Ultimate Fighter season 7 by storm and proved once again that wrestling is just so important in today's mixed martial arts game. The 28 year old NCAA Division I wrestler has made his presence known at an early stage in his UFC career and was on his way to becoming a legit prospect for fellow Light Heavyweight contenders to watch out for. But after going 12-0 to start his MMA career, Bader fell victim to back to back losses. One to Jon Jones, to which no one can fault Bader for as it's not exactly a common thing to beat Jon Jones... The other, however, through a lot of people for a loop as Tito Ortiz was able to rock Bader and then proceed to secure a fight ending submission on 'Darth' in the very first round. Bader managed to rebound slightly and make people aware there is still some stock in his name by knocking out Jason Brilz in just a little over a minute in to the first frame of their bout at UFC 139.
So, how does this one end?
When Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson (32-9) is locked in the cage with Ryan Bader (13-2), Jackson will have to make damned certain to take the crowd that will undoubetedly be fighting back erections at the excitement of seeing one of 'their' stars return to Japan and ride that momentum like a bucking mechanical bull at a sleezy night club. It is extremely important for Jackson's cardio and confidence to be at an all time high as Bader is no push over, even with the slip up to Ortiz.
Jackson needs to have taken this fight and training camp very seriously as we all know Bader has. It is hard to keep Jackson down, but Bader I believe, can do just that. Evans showed us it is possible, and Jackson tends to be inconsistent with his training regime.
For Ryan Bader, he needs to utilize takedowns and top control. Make no mistake about this, Bader is well aware he is not going to be liked there regardless when facing 'Rampage'. This allows Bader to put aside the notion of being able to win over the crowd with flashiness. Besides, the Japanese fight fans are much more educated in terms of being impressed more by slams and the technicality of mixed martial arts, rather than just marveling at two rock em' sock em' fighters. So, Bader can still get some 'ooh's and 'ahh's' out of this one.
Look for Jackson to try to bait Bader into a stand up battle, but look for Bader to use his brain to make sure he keeps that very brain intact. I see 1 minute of 'mixing it up' on the feet in this one, then I see it all downhill for the fans of fisticuffs from there.
Ryan will haul this one to the mat, rinse, lather, and repeat. I see a unanimous decision for the American wrestler in which he is rocked multiple times, but sustains position, recovers, and more than makes up for his wobbily moments by maintaining top control and staying busy enough to secure the victory.
Ryan Bader by unanimous decision.