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Strong Camps Back UFC 86’s Main Event

This article has been submitted by Ray McIlroy.

Hey there, so this is column number one for me (which I must admit, is a bit rushed).

This coming Saturday is the actual conclusion for the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter. Due to the aforementioned rushing of this article, let’s just jump right into the main event.Upon first hearing about the fight I immediately jumped the conclusion that Rampage would murderize Forrest. This was based entirely on the fact that the man seems to be in his prime with Juanito Ibarra by his side.

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is a man who admittedly doesn’t like training. In the past this has lead to a few lackluster, perhaps some would call unmotivated, bouts (I would recommend watching the fight with Ninja, but don’t want to push that fight on anyone) and losses to Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Since those losses however, Rampage has been taken under the wing of Ibarra, a man who knows how to light a fire under the now-UFC champ, and push him to work harder than ever.
However, thoughts of murdurization are pushed aside when comparing the two men and their penchant for training, because in the gym, Forrest Griffin is the anti-Rampage. Forrest, from all accounts given, is a complete freak in the gym. He may not have the heaviest hands, or the slickest BJJ, but he more than makes up for it in heart, and an insane work ethic.

Forrest’s camp may perhaps be his greatest strength in the fight. Not only does Forrest have master fight strategist Randy Couture in his corner, but he also has one of Xtreme Couture’s newest fighters, Wanderlei Silva, at his disposal. Silva, being the man to hand Rampage two of his last three losses, has been working with Griffin and it should be interesting to see if “the original Ultimate Fighter” comes out with a strong clinch and Muay Thai knees.

So why am I so focused on the training aspect of this fight? Because I think that is what makes these two men championship material. They are great fighters, but they are even better because they have strong camps and people behind them. Look at guys like Tito, or even Matt Hughes’ performances since leaving Pat Miletich. As the top guys in their camp, can anyone really push them? Sure they would say they have a solid group around them, but if they want to slack a bit, or take a day off, or focus on their strengths, who’s going to stop them?

All you have to do is look at this past season of The Ultimate Fighter, when Rampage was angry about a decision he turned straight to Juanito for answers. They have an established hierarchy between them that works wonders. Rampage obviously looks to Juanito for guidance and support, trusting that the man will push him in the right direction.

So….who do I think will win? This is a fight where I would like to sit on the fence. But I don’t think I have that luxury here.

Forrest is coming into this with a huge confidence boost after beating Shogun. Many people say Shogun was off his game, he was hurt, the Shogun from the 2005 Grand Prix would ruin Forrest, etc. Excuses aside, Forrest beat the number 1 Light Heavyweight in the world (at the time), the last man to beat Rampage, and earned his shot. If he can utilize a strong clinch to negate Quinton’s striking and feed him knees, slowly breaking him down, he may be able to submit him in the later rounds.

If I were a betting man though, I would put my money on Rampage. The current version of Rampage, the one that knocked out Chuck and matched Dan Henderson’s wrestling, is in his prime and I think he will hold onto his belt for a while longer. Forrest has a penchant for hands-down, Rocky Balboa-esque striking, and Rampage will use one of these flurries to time a counterpunch and score the KO.

This article has been submitted by Ray McIlroy.

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6 Responses to “Strong Camps Back UFC 86’s Main Event”

  1. Blake Murphy Says:

    Rampage wins by 2nd round KO. For those interested, the rest of the card is:

    Patrick Cote (Canadian!) v. Ricardo Alemida (this is unofficially a #1 contender bout, apparently)
    Joe Stevenson v. Gleison Tibau (should be a good fight with future title implications)
    Josh Koshcheck (borrrring) v. Chris Lytle
    Tyson Griffin (always a good fight) v. Marcus Aurelio
    Gabriel Gonzaga (former Heavyweight Title challenger) v. Justin McCully
    Jorge Gurgel v. Cole Miller (2 TUF guys)
    Melvin Guillard (2 time drug suspendee!) v. Dennis Siver
    Corey Hill (UFC debut after TUF) v. Justin Buchholz

  2. Blake Murphy Says:

    Just a clarification - Anderson Silva is expected to defend the title on September 6 against Yushin Okami…the Cote/Almeida winner would be in line for an eventual title shot, just not the very next one.

  3. Blake Murphy Says:

    Oh, and Jorge Gurgel isn’t a TUF guy.

  4. Ray Says:

    Sure he is

  5. Blake Murphy Says:

    Yup, 2nd season. That’s what I get for second guessing and doubling back on myself. Thanks, Ray.

  6. Candice Bogdanski Says:

    too bad the prediction didn’t come through, but based on the writing I might have followed you on the bet. Though based on the Rocky reference I would have had to say Forrest all the way.

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