Two of the most dangerous light heavyweights in the world will finally meet this Saturday night (Jan. 26, 2013) as former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson takes on Glover Teixeira on the UFC on Fox 6 main card in Chicago, Illinois.
"Rampage" Jackson hasn't had the best run as of late, losing a title shot to Jon Jones in 2011 and then getting upset by Ryan Bader in Japan while fighting on a bum knee. He's been healing from a knee injury for the past nine months and is finally ready to finish out his UFC contract.
Glover Teixeira is a monster, ferociously pounding his opponents in his first two UFC appearances and he had a fight scheduled against Jackson last fall which fell apart when "Rampage" wasn't fully recovered from a knee injury. Now, he'll finally get a shot to score that significant victory to really put himself on the map in terms of title contenders.
Will Jackson go out with a bang? Can Teixeira score by far the biggest win of his blossoming career? What's the key to victory for both men?
Record: 32-9 overall, 7-4 in the UFC
How he got here: Jackson made the transition to MMA after a moderately successful high school and junior college wrestling career. He got off to a 10-1 start on the local circuit before he was scooped up by Pride Fighting Championships to compete over in Japan.
He would be thrown into the fire immediately against Japanese superstar Kazushi Sakuraba, losing via first round rear naked choke but creating many fans in the process. Jackson would go on to compete 17 times total in Pride, accumulating a 12-5 record over the course of five and a half years.
His contract would be purchased by the UFC and after avenging a loss to Marvin Eastman via knockout in his promotional debut, he was given a title shot against Chuck Liddell, the man he'd previously defeated in the 2003 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix. Jackson destroyed Liddell in the rematch, knocking him senseless in the first round to end the legend's era. He would go on to defend his belt in a five round thriller against Dan Henderson in one of the most watched MMA fights in cable TV history.
"Rampage" lost his title to Forrest Griffin in a razor-close decision and would have a mini-meltdown afterwards. He avenged two prior losses to Wanderlei Silva with another vicious first round knockout and was geared up for a title shot before "retiring" to film the A-Team.
Since his return, he lost to Rashad Evans in a number one contender match but then defeated Lyoto Machida and Matt Hamill to earn a shot at the belt against Jon Jones. Unfortunately for him, Jones had his way with Jackson en route to a dominant fourth round submission victory.
.After losing to Ryan Bader last February and dealing with a knee injury, "Rampage" is hoping to leave the UFC on a winning note against a hungry prospect in Teixeira.
How he gets it done: "Rampage" isn't as quick as he used to be, but he does have his power and some solid boxing technique.
Jackson is almost a pure counter puncher. He loves to time his opponents and take advantage of those openings they leave while they're arms are extended in attack. If Teixeira does anything repetitive, Jackson will pick up on it and explode with some heavy strikes. He's got a nasty left hook and an absolutely brutal right uppercut that can end Teixeira's night if he can connect solidly.
Teixeira showed a moment of vulnerability, getting tagged by Fabio Maldonado at the end of the first round of his last fight, so he's not unstoppable.
Jackson's chin is excellent, but it would be unwise to simply take a shot to dish one out. He hasn't looked nearly as powerful in terms of his striking in recent performances and Teixeira hits so hard that he could hurt him. Look for Jackson to really try to work his defense here and find a hole when the Brazilian potentially gets too aggressive. If he can crack him, it would really raise his stock when he becomes a free agent.
Record: 19-2 overall, 2-0 in the UFC
Key Losses: none
How he got here: Glover Teixeira didn't get off to the best start in his MMA career, going 2-2 in his first four fights, but he's sure as hell stepped up his game since then.
Teixeira had a strong 3-0 run in the WEC which included a knockout of Sokoudjou, but visa issues prevented his return to compete in the United States for a considerable length of time. Instead, the powerful light heavyweight battled in Brazil and even in Australia, racking up win after win and finishing all but one of his opponents.
In 2011, he scored first round victories over UFC veterans Marvin Eastman and Ricco Rodriguez before his issues were finally cleared up and he was allowed to sign in the UFC.
He made his UFC debut last against Kyle Kingsbury finishing him in the first round and his second fight against Fabio Maldonado was absolutely devastating, landing some of the heaviest stand-up strikes and ground and pound ever seen in MMA. Now, he's ready for a huge step up in competition against a former champion to test where he stands in the division.
How he gets it done: Teixeira is incredibly dangerous with not only his pure punching power (which rivals anyone in the UFC light heavyweight division) but he's also got head kicks, knees and a surprisingly potent ground game.
While he may not have the pure punching technique that Jackson possesses with his boxing, Teixieira more than makes up for it with his aggression, power, speed and diversity.
Expect to see Teixeira immediately get in Jackson's face and try to hurt him with strikes. "Rampage" has a great chin, but most of his opponents are extra cautious against him and not really willing to throw consistent blows at a high volume. If Teixeira lands enough heavy shots, even a fighter as tough as Jackson could wilt.
Teixeira has some seriously scary power and if he can actually hurt Jackson, he'll likely try to get it to the ground where he can unleash his massive ground and pound strikes which include heavy punches and elbows. If he can get on top of the former champion on the ground, we might see a true changing of the guard on Saturday night.
Fight X-Factor: The biggest X-Factor for this fight is the fact that Jackson wants to keep fighting for several years and it's the last fight on his UFC contract. He hasn't shown much worth in the last two years and is coming off a lengthy injury.
You see all the time that an athlete at the end of their contract puts on perhaps some of the best numbers of their career or best performances because they're trying to impress potential suitors. Jackson is hoping to do the same thing here and he waited on the sidelines doing extra rehab to make sure he comes into this fight with no injuries and no excuses. That could make a tremendous world of a difference come fight night.
Bottom Line: Jackson's last few fights haven't been the most entertaining, but Teixeira loves to come forward, throw heavy bombs and put serious pressure on his opponents whether it's with big strikes, ground and pound or submissions. Jackson is going to really have to dig deep if he wants to win this fight and there's some serious potential that this is the best "Rampage" has looked in the past three or four years. Let's hope that's the case.
Who will come out on top at UFC on Fox 6? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!