I was sitting in the barber shop resigned to the fact that I would be spending a couple of hours waiting for Rufus' chair to be empty. Now mind you, I am a black man so the only patrons in the shop were African American. A gentleman sitting to the right of me asked me if I was going to watch the fight tomorrow night. I almost couldn't believe my ears. Surely this man was talking about a boxing match, but he wasn't. He was talking about the Rashad Evans, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson mixed martial arts contest tomorrow live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. His next question to me was who didI think is going to win the fight tomorrow. I have been contemplating that very question all week.
Every mixed martial arts fan that watches the UFC and thinks Dana White should be out next president has an opinion on this. Rashad Evans is a former stand out wrestler from Michigan State University. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is a high school wrestler who grew up in the mean streets of Memphis,Tennessee. He was headed in the wrong direction until he took up the sport of wrestling and, eventually, started fighting in the Pride Fighting Championships. Normally most brothers who frequented the barber shop wouldn't care one bit about mixed martial arts. However, this is different. Rashad and Rampage are both black men and they can't stand each other. No this isn't just two prizefighters who are trying to hype a fight and sell tickets. Their hatred for each other is real. These two men cannot be in the same room without almost coming to blows. Rampage thinks that Rashad is cocky and talks too much sh#$%^t. On the other side of the fence, Rashad thinks Rampage acts like the stereotypical "step and fetch it" black man. Rashad feels that Rampage's public persona is degrading to all black men.
The conventional wisdom here is that we have a brawler versus a highly technical striker. The brawler would be Rampage and, of course, the technical striker would be Rashad. Don't get it twisted both of these men are professional fighters. When I say professional i mean these mean are both well schooled in the rudiments of hurting another man. I would give Rampage the edge in power and strength. I would give Rashad a considerable edge in speed and wrestling. After all, Rashad wrestled in college at one of the premier wrestling programs in the country.
I know what your question is. Who wins the fight? My answer to that question is that it depends. If Rashad stays away from Rampage and sticks and moves, he will frustrate Rampage and systematically break Rampage down. Rashad is clearly the more technically trained and better conditioned athlete. If he moves and pummels Rampage repeatedly with those nasty leg kicks, Rampage's mobility and power will evaporate. The fight will be a veritable clinic of what happens when an elite athlete executes a well thought out game plan. Rashad will win by decision and be no worse for the wear.
The opposite scenario occurs if Rashad gets careless. In this scenario, Rashad decides he is tougher than Rampage and stands toe to toe with Rampage. This would be a huge mistake. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has a punch like coal truck. Not only that, Rampage has a granite chin. In other words, it is pretty darn hard to knock Rampage out. The other way Rampage wins is if he gets a hold of Rashad and delivers one of those patented body slams he is so famous for.
Do you want my opinion of what's going to happen? It's very simple. Rashad starts the fight out delivering an ungodly amount of leg kicks. Then Rashad starts jabbing Rampage to death with that lightning fast jab of his. Mix in the occasional take down and it's a long night for Mr. Jackson. What makes this fight interesting is the veritable cornucopia of trash talking that has taken place and the obvious difference in fighting styles. For 44 bucks, this fight will be well worth the cost of admission.