Quinton "Rampage" Jackson silenced the critics on Saturday night at UFC 130, putting on a thoroughly dominant performance that UFC President Dana White earlier indicated might earn him a shot to recapture his light heavyweight championship.
From the word go, Jackson was just too much for Matt Hamill in all areas during their main event fight. He easily stuffed the powerful wrestler's takedown attempts and made him pay early and often on the feet, winging hooks at Hamill's head and blasting knees into his gut. By the end of the first round, Hamill was bleeding from the mouth and a stoppage seemed assured. Somehow, it never came. Instead, Jackson brutalized Hamill for all 15 minutes, earning a lopsided unanimous decision win.
After the fight, Rampage - who caught flack headed into this bout for not seeming motivated enough - said he had been hampered by a preexisting injury.
"I came into the fight with a fractured hand, but I still came and fought for you guys ...," Jackson told Joe Rogan in the cage after the win. "I still tried to knock him out, but I apologize that I wasn't able to put forth the type of fight that I wanted to."
An hour or two prior to the main event, White confirmed during his own interview that "Rampage" would earn a future shot at the 205-pound belt with a win over Hamill. Those promises have been iffy of late and with champion Jon Jones on the mend from a thumb injury and Rashad Evans set to scrap with Phil Davis at UFC 133, nothing is set in stone.
In the evening's co-main event, Frank Mir turned in arguably the most complete performance of his recent career by dismantling Roy Nelson en route to a unanimous decision win. Mir laid into Nelson with a series of knees early in the fight and followed them with a barrage of kicks and punches that seemed to take the steam out of the rotund heavyweight. By the time it was all said and done, Mir was grabbing takedowns at will and even launched Nelson through the air with a hard throw near the end of the second.
Mir has now won two straight fights (and 6-of-8) while Nelson dropped to 0-2 in back-to-back performances in the Octagon.
Also on the pay-per-view broadcast, Travis Browne locked down the Knockout of the Night bonus with a superman punch KO of Stefan Struve in the first round of their heavyweight contest, Rick Story launched himself into welterweight contention by outmuscling Thiago Alves on his way to a unanimous decision and Brian Stann proved himself a force to reckon with at middleweight with a second-round TKO of Jorge Santiago.
In earlier action, Demetrious Johnson won a controversial decision over former bantamweight champion Miguel Torres in a fight some thought Torres controlled from the bottom with submission attempts. Also, Tim Boetsch proved right his decision to cut to 185-pound by outwrestling Kendall Grove to a unanimous verdict.
Complete UFC 130 results:
Quinton Jackson def. Matt Hamill via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Frank Mir def. Roy Nelson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Travis Browne def. Stefan Struve via KO (superman punch), 4:11, round 1
Rick Story def. Thiago Alves via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Brian Stann def. Jorge Santiago via TKO (punches), 4:29, round 2
Demetrious Johnson def. Miguel Torres via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Tim Boetsch def. Kendall Grove via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Gleison Tibau def. Rafaello Oliveira via submission (rear naked choke), 3:28, round 2
Michael McDonald defeated Chris Cariaso via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Renan Barao def. Cole Escovedo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)