The UFC 144 card has been settled for a while, and I must say for a card in Tokyo, that I respect that the UFC has put together a solid card that presents there product and the UFC brand as the most important thing, without relying on anything gimmicky or on any one big star to sell the tickets. Lightheavyweight Quinton Jackson is probably the biggest name on the card, as he faces a stiff test in Ryan Bader in the co-main event of the evening. Jackson is coming off a loss against UFC title holder Jon Jones, and is really in need of a win to keep his name among the weight class’ elite fighters. Bader is 1-2 in his last 3 fights and is also in need of a win badly in order to join the elite.
Bader owns exactly one quality win on his career, against Antonio Rogerio Noguiera back in September of 2010. Bader is in real need of adding a scalp like Jackson’s to his resume. Yes, one of his recent losses was to champion Jon Jones, but more telling was his loss to Tito Ortiz. Ortiz is well past his prime, and though Bader was caught in a fast submission, he likely would have been able to win that match. It would be a mistake to rate Bader below Ortiz in the lightheavyweight pecking order.
Jackson is going to be hard pressed to use his athleticism and wrestling against an athlete like Bader. Considering what we saw from Jackson in his last outing, some of thiat explosiveness may have waned, and that may leave him in a bad situation against Bader.
Quinton is saying all the right things about being motivated to fight in Japan again, but he said all the right things before the Jon Jones fight aw well. There is something about the way Jackson is saying these things that rings a bit hollow, almost like Jackson doesn’ himself believe what he is saying. I have said it before – ‘Show Me Don’t Tell Me’. Jakckson is going to have to do it in the ring, and against a fighter like Bader who is solid all around and five years younger, I think we are looking at a match where Quinton passes the torch.