Rampage Jackson’s door destruction – This Day in MMA History

Step back into yesteryear as Bloody Elbow takes a look back on the culmination of the rivalry of Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans at UFC 114.

By: Dayne Fox | 4 months ago
Rampage Jackson’s door destruction – This Day in MMA History
IMAGO / Armando Gallo

Rampage Jackson had all the tools to blow up into the biggest star in the sport. Not that he didn’t become quite a star. After all, he managed to score one of the most high-profile movie roles of anyone who managed to make it to Hollywood based on their MMA skills when he was B.A. Baracus in The A-Team. However, that role may very well have cost Jackson in the long run as he never managed the same success he found before the role. In fact, it might be responsible for the fizzling of his heated rivalry with Rashad Evans. It all culminated at UFC 114, May 29, 2010.

The origins of the Rampage Jackson vs Rashad Evans rivalry

Another of Jackson’s important career anniversary‘s was a few days ago. He upended Chuck Liddell in 2007 and while the UFC probably would have preferred Liddell hold onto the belt, they were smart enough to know Jackson’s marketability. They promoted his title fight with Forrest Griffin over a season of TUF, only for Jackson to come up short. Griffin would lose the title to Evans the same night Jackson got back on track by blasting Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92. The stage was set.

Jackson and Evans first began to heat up following Jackson’s win over Keith Jardine at UFC 96, which held the stipulation Jackson would get a title shot with a win. Evans was invited into the cage following the win and the two immediately displayed an explosive chemistry the UFC hoped to capitalize on. Unfortunately, Jackson suffered some injuries from his contest with Jardine and the UFC wanted Evans to defend in a timely fashion. Thus, Lyoto Machida got the nod and took the belt from Evans at UFC 98. 

Despite that, the UFC recognized the heat between Jackson and Evans could lead to all sorts of dollar signs. The two of them were signed up to be coaches on the 10th season of TUF, which also happened to feature viral backyard brawler Kimbo Slice. The UFC was stacking the deck for them… and the two of them delivered in spades. In what may have been the final season to be considered a booming success for the long-running franchise, Jackson and Evans delivered several heated confrontations that delivered  the type of drama legendary rivals thrive on. Somehow, the two managed to avoid hitting one another. The door wasn’t so lucky….

The delay

The UFC set everything up beautifully, the expected culmination of their rivalry to take place at UFC 107 in Memphis, Tennessee, Jackson’s hometown. Instead, not only did Jackson opt to take the role of Baracus, he also excoriated the UFC on his blog, declaring he was retired. Obviously, the fight with Evans wouldn’t be happening in his hometown. 

Jackson did change his mind about retirement shortly after UFC 107 in December, but Evans was already booked for a fight with Thiago Silva at UFC 108. In other words, Evans would have to beat Silva and heal up from any potential injuries before the UFC would re-book Jackson and Evans. Evans managed to win and without any major injuries, the contest was ultimately booked for UFC 114. 

Even as the rivalry lost some steam by having to wait almost six months from the completion of the TUF season, it was still a rivalry that fans were heavily invested in. UFC 114 delivered over a million buys, one of just 19 known UFC PPV’s to exceed that number. It managed to do so despite not having any other major fights attached to the card. Sure, there were notable names such as Michael Bisping, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Diego Sanchez, but their opposition didn’t have the name value required to pull additional eyes. 

The disappointing result

Unfortunately, the culmination of the rivalry proved to be anticlimactic. Jackson entered his camp out of shape following the filming of the movie and his performance reflected that. Most of the fight was spent in close quarters, either in the clinch or on the mat. Evans didn’t want anything to do with Jackson’s power. Jackson demonstrated why when he dropped Evans about a minute into the third round. Aside from Evans’ first punch of the contest – which stumbled Jackson – that proved to be the only significant drama of the fight. Evans didn’t look to do more than control Jackson, complimented by long periods of the men staring at one another. 

Evans was promised a title shot with the win, but it was delayed until the point he had to go back out and win several more fights before getting it. The first delay was due to Shogun Rua needing to heal up himself. The second delay was Evans’ own injury in training, opening the door for Jon Jones to fill in for him and take the title from Shogun. In fact, Jackson fought for the title before Evans did. Part of the delay for Evans title shot can be attributed to the deterioration of Jones’ and Evans’ friendship, but that also ensured he was in perhaps the two juciest rivalries for the UFC over a three year span. 

Of course, Evans and Jackson wasn’t the only fight that went down at UFC 114….

A brilliant comeback 

I was relieved to see Mike Russow’s comeback over Todd Duffee had a respectable ranking in Tapology’s comeback rankings, but I can’t help but feel it would be ranked higher if the two participants had greater name value. Duffee stomped a mudhole into Russow for two-and-a-half rounds before Russow blasted him with a single right hand that put Duffee out cold. In recent years, the conversation has been the hilarity of Russow’s follow-up shot, but it should take anything away from the comeback itself. 

Upset City 

There’s no denying John Hathaway upending Sanchez was an unexpected outcome. Sanchez was coming off challenging BJ Penn for the lightweight title, but given his vast amount of success at welterweight before his drop down to 155, it wasn’t expected he’d look too different. That wasn’t the case. Sanchez was overwhelmed by the bigger and stronger Hathaway. It proved to be Hathaway’s biggest career win while it firmly establishing Sanchez couldn’t be pushed as an elite fighter any longer. 

Perhaps Jason Brilz didn’t officially get the win over Nogueira at UFC 114, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a knowledgeable fan who really believed Nogueira deserved the win. Brilz managed some timely control in the first round in addition to completely owning the second. Unfortunately for Brilz, not enough judges appreciated his control in the first, two of them awarding it to Nogueira, along with a unanimous third round to the Brazilian. It proved to be the best performance of Brilz’s career, at least picking him up a FOTN bonus, even if it didn’t get him the win. 

Other notable UFC 114 fights and notes 

With the main event proving mostly disappointing, the card left a sour taste in the mouths of most. That doesn’t mean there weren’t some solid finishes. For instance, Melvin Guillard, in the midst of the best stretch of his career, crumpled Waylon Lowe with a vicious knee to the body. For a fighter known for his ferocious power, this one tends to be overlooked in Guillard’s lengthy resume. 

What may have been the real FOTN was Cyrille Diabate’s UFC debut against Luis Cane. However, it didn’t even make the halfway mark of the opening round, which might explain why Nogueira and Brilz picked up the extra cash. Cane dropped Diabate almost immediately, only for the lanky Frenchman to survive and turn the tables with surgical precision just a short time later. It’s well worth a quick watch. 

If you recognize the name of Ryan Jensen, you’re a hardcore fan from back in the day. While a respectable regional vet, Jensen proved to be a bit of a punchline in the UFC, only managing a 2-6 record in the organization. Each of those wins came against opponents who never managed to secure a win under Zuffa employ. Regardless, Jensen scored the highlight of his career at UFC 114, managing to turn the tables on Jesse Forbes in a hurry after being rocked seconds into the fight. It’s another quick watch worth delving into, lasting just 66 seconds. 

Brilz missed his 10th wedding anniversary for the chance to fight Nogueira. I get the feeling the extra paycheck proved to be worthwhile in the eyes of his wife when Brilz stepped in for an injured Griffin on short notice.

Matt Hughes was inducted to the UFC Hall of Fame at UFC 114. While he was still an active fighter at the time, the UFC was in the habit of inducting active fighters at the time. Liddell was inducted at UFC 100 and Mark Coleman at UFC 82. However, Hughes proved to be the last fighter inducted while active without a retirement bout agreed upon.

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About the author
Dayne Fox
Dayne Fox

Dayne Fox is a contributing writer and analyst for Bloody Elbow. He has been writing about combat sports since 2013 and a member of Bloody Elbow since 2016. Dayne primarily contributes opinion pieces and event coverage. Dayne’s specialties are putting together the preview articles for all the UFC events and post-fight analysis. Outside of writing on combat sports, Dayne works in the purchasing department of a construction company, formerly working as an analyst. He is also a proud husband and father. In what spare time he can find, he enjoys strategy games and is a movie enthusiast. He is based in Utah.

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