by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson became the first ever unified champion since the purchase of Pride by Zuffa when he won a unanimous decision over Dan Henderson on Saturday at UFC 75, while the focus of the show turned out to be a judges’ decision that left a lot to be desired.
Coming into the fight, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson had said in numerous interviews that he was more focused and ready for this fight than anyone could imagine. He showed that en route to a dominant performance over Dan Henderson.
Rampage never let Henderson get comfortable in his game as he took the Team Quest fighter down multiple times throughout the bout and controlled the ground action to many surprised fans and onlookers.
Outside of a kimura attempt and a couple of takedowns, Henderson never let his hands go much against Rampage and the Memphis, Tenn. native stayed the more aggressive fighter and worked an effective clinch game as well.
As the round progressed Rampage seemed to stay just as strong as ever showing that his cardio was ready for the five round fight.
To Henderson’s credit, he never put himself in any real danger from Rampage’s powerful hands or signature slams but it looked like he was being the more tentative fighter the entire time.
As the judges’ decision came in, the fans roared as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was announced as the first unified champion combining the UFC and Pride 205lb belts and giving Rampage a win in his first title defense.
In what ended up being the focal point for the majority of the fans watching UFC 75, Michael “The Count” Bisping won a very controversial split decision over Cincinnati, Ohio native Matt “The Hammer” Hamill, in what will almost surely go down as one of the worst decisions in UFC history.
Hamill, who was a competitor on the Ultimate Fighter season 3 alongside Bisping, showed a much improved MMA game as he looked like a much better striker than the heavily favored British native in the early part of the fight.
The former collegiate wrestler landed a number of jabs and combinations that put Bisping on the defensive right away.
Hamill stalked Bisping throughout rounds 1 and 2 landing crisper, cleaner punches and taking the eventual winner of the Ultimate Fighter season down at will.
To almost everyone’s surprise watching the fight, Hamill looked like the more experienced and well rounded fighter when even after taking Bisping down, he let his opponent back up where he punished him on the feet.
The 3rd round was the only time Bisping put up much offense as he let his hands go and worked his stand-up against Hamill.
While he never landed anything truly devastating due to the Ohioan’s good boxing defense, Bisping was more aggressive late in the fight, but again didn’t do anything that ever put Hamill in any real danger.
The judges’ scorecards came in and when the first read a 29-28 decision for Bisping, the reaction was instantaneous as to shock how the Brit won 2 rounds. The 2nd judge saw it 30-27 for Hamill, while Cecil Peoples, who has been involved in controversial decisions in the past, scored the bout 29-28 for Bisping.
Michael Bisping pulled off a split decision win and in his post fight interview refused to give any credit to his opponent’s performance acting like he just won by knockout instead of being handed a gift decision.
On the other side of the fight, Hamill showed a tremendous amount of graciousness in defeat and should be commended for not being more upset after a horrendous decision.
The fans were also very vocal about this particular fight as the callers into MMAWeekly Radio’s post fight show rallied around Matt Hamill in this bout and voted him Fighter of the Night for his performance and grace in the face of defeat after a decision that no one seemed to agree with.
Cheick Kongo solidified himself as a new contender in the UFC’s heavyweight division after a 3 round unanimous decision win over former Pride star, Mirko CroCop.
In the 1st session, CroCop looked much better this time around than he did against Gabriel Gonzaga, pushing the pace on Kongo for the entire 5 minutes.
The Croatian walked his opponent down and while he didn’t look dominant on his feet, he did get the fight to the ground where he unleashed a solid ground and pound attack, finishing up the round in the mount reigning down punches on Kongo.
The 2nd and 3rd rounds saw a much different fight as Kongo took over with superior clinch work and a better stand-up attack than the former K-1 kickboxer in CroCop.
Kongo was much stronger working knees and punches from within the clinch and when he did take the fight to the ground he controlled the position and avoided any reversal attempts from CroCop.
The end of the fight saw Kongo pick up the biggest win of his career defeating Mirko CroCop by unanimous decision, handing the former Pride Grand Prix champion his 2nd straight loss in a row.
This loss could be as important to CroCop as it is for Kongo as two fighters seem to be headed in separate directions with the Frenchman getting the nod in a strong performance, while Mirko suffers his 2nd straight loss to a previously unranked fighter and may not have a long future in the UFC.
Houston Alexander showed fans that his: 48 second win over Keith Jardine was no fluke as he crushed Italian boxer Alessio Sakara in just over a minute in their bout at UFC 75.
Alexander looked phenomenal in the clinch, pummeling Sakara with knees, one of which put the Italian on the mat.
The Omaha, Neb. Native then unleashed a ground and pound attack that soon finished off Sakara handing Houston Alexander his 2nd win in the UFC and another great performance.
The Fight of the Night as voted by the listeners of MMAWeekly Radio was the match-up between “The Irish Hand Grenade” Marcus Davis and Paul Taylor who put on a fantastic show in their bout.
Taylor landed a huge high kick that floored the Maine based fighter early in round 1 and just as it looked like referee Yves Lavigne was stepping in to stop the fight, Davis composed himself and pulled guard to withstand taking any more punishment.
From here, Marcus Davis showed his steadily improving ground game as he reversed position and ended up mounting Taylor, reigning down shots on the British fighter.
Just as Taylor reversed Davis from the mount, it was the “Irish Hand Grenade” who pulled out an armbar forcing the submission late in the 1st round.
UFC 75 started out with a ton of fire as Houston Alexander and Marcus Davis seemed to steal the show, while what should have been a historic night based around the title unification bout between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Dan Henderson, the focus instead turned into the terrible decision rendered in the Michael Bisping/Matt Hamill fight.