UFC Ultimate Fighter 10 Jackson and Evans
It is well known by now that Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans will coach season 10 of the Ultimate Fighter Reality show, with taping beginning on June 1st. The million dollar question is why did Rampage ask for Rashad instead of Machida? Dana White had already publicly announced via his twitter and post fight press conference that Rampage was next in line to fight for the Light-Heavyweight belt against Loyoto Machida. Rampage claims that he has a score to settle with Rashad Evans because he got in his face after his last victory over Keith Jardine, Rashad’s training partner. There wasn’t that much trash talk and the two just made faces at each other. It appeared as if Rampage was actually clowning around and enjoying the moment. There definitely wasn’t enough bad blood to even hesitate at a chance to regain the belt, so why turn down the fight and push back a title shot at least 7-8months.
This is all a smoke screen. The truth behind it is that Rampage just isn’t ready to face Machida. It was the leg kicks of Forrest Griffen that was downfall in the fight that led to him loosing the belt in the first place. Machida’s kicks are much faster and much more accurate than Forrest’s. If Rampage were to get in the cage and out strike Machida, he would get picked apart and knocked out just like Rashad. The truth is that the American Fighters are just not able to strike with someone like Machida.
Loyoto Machida is definitely beatable and Rampage is the perfect fighter to do it. Rampage is very strong and an excellent wrestler. His slams are legendary in Pride, and are more powerful than getting hit by a car doing 35MPH. The old Rampage Jackson, which we saw in Pride, will have to make his octagon debut against Loyoto Machida in order to have a legitimate shot at the belt. The best way to get back to his roots is to head back to where most of the best American wrestlers come from, the mid-west. Before the beginning of training camp, he should spend a few weeks at a gym like Hammer House. Hammer House is the home of Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman. Along with Matt Hughes H.I.T. squad in southern Illinois, this is one of the premier wrestling based MMA training center. Both Mark and Kevin won multiple championships while wrestling on the famed Ohio State Wrestling squad, and both of them are ex-UFC Heavyweight champions. Hammer House located in Columbus is only a few hundred miles north of his home in Tennessee. Rampage then needs to get out of England for his training camp. The Wolfslair gym in England where he has been training since loosing his belt is not equipped to help him bring his game back up to where it needs to be for a fight with Machida. What he needs is a master at putting together game plans, and I believe two of the best, especially for wrestlers, are Pat Militech and Randy Couture. There are others that I don’t want to discount like Matt Hume, but Pat or Randy would be the best for preparing for someone like Machida.
To Rampage’s credit, he is an intelligent man, and he knows that the way he has been fighting won’t beat Machida, and this manufactured bad blood with Rashad is only a smoke screen. The only thing that will hold him back is if he doesn’t break ties, at least temporarily with the Wolfslair gym, and come back to the U.S. to get back to his roots. In the end, I truly believe that Rampage will find a way to put Machida on his back, and use his superior strength and wrestling to send Machida back to Brazil without the gold around his waist.
**Look for an upcoming article discussing the next fighter in line for a shot at Loyoto’s belt.
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