Rampage: Machida fight almost cancelled

Quinton (Rampage) Jackson (WENN.COM file photo)

Quinton (Rampage) Jackson (WENN.COM file photo)

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:46 AM ET

Following his close split-decision victory over Lyoto (The Dragon) Machida, Quinton (Rampage) Jackson admitted he was almost forced to drop out of the bout.

"Iím just happy I made it to the fight," Jackson (31-8) said at the UFC 123 post-fight press conference. "None of you guys know, but this fight was almost cancelled a couple days ago because I caught a fever from my son. (I was) throwing up and everything, then I had to cut weight. I almost didnít make it to this fight, but I didnít want to let my fans down."

The gamble proved worth the risk, as two judges awarded Jackson the decision in a fight that wasnít without its controversy.

The two former light-heavyweight champions fought a tight contest in the UFC 123 main event in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, Michigan Saturday night. The first two rounds in particular were very close with Jackson attempting to close the distance on the elusive Machida (16-2). Machida looked to stay on the outside and pick his opponent apart, but Jackson continued to press forward with big punches.

The third round was all Machida, who rocked Jackson with a straight-left and followed up with a flurry. Moments later, he set up an armbar, but was forced to let go when Jackson deadlifted him off the mat.

Following the decision, Jackson was shocked he was awarded the fight.

"My trainers told me I won the fight, but when I was in the fight I had a one-track mind to knock him out," Jackson said. "When he dominated me so much in the third round, I forgot what happened in the first two rounds. My trainers told me I won the first two rounds and Dana (White) is saying it now.

"I really wanted to knock him out. So I am disappointed in my performance a little bit because I didnít do everything I wanted to do. But my coach, Lance Gibson, made a game plan for me and I tried to stick to it."

Leading up to the event, Jackson ripped apart Machida`s style, calling him boring. He admits to having a newfound respect for the Brazilian, but still isnít a fan of his tactics.

"Itís different fighting Machida than looking at him fight," Jackson said. "It really made for an exciting fight because I remember trying to punch him and he was already (gone). So I have a bit more respect for his style now. I wouldnít want to watch it, though."

PENN TO FACE FITCH

It took only 21 seconds for (The Prodigy) B.J. Penn to stop Matt Hughes and claim the rubber match in their trilogy.

Penn (16-7-1) immediately charged Hughes and began feeding him stiff jabs. Hughes (45-8) attempted to fire back, but was dropped with a straight-right. Penn then unloaded with shots on the ground for the impressive knockout victory.

"I donít think I really set it up," Penn said. "I was just in there to fight. I wanted him to hit me and I wanted to hit him. A lot of people have been questioning if Iím motivated. So I really wanted to come out and show everyone my fighting spirit and what Iím about."

Penn recently dropped two decisions to Frankie (The Answer) Edgar, which cost him the UFC lightweight championship. The back-to-back losses meant he needed a win or potentially face an early retirement.

With the victory over Hughes, Penn will now stay at welterweight and is scheduled to face Jon Fitch at UFC 127 in Sydney, Australia on Feb. 27, 2011. The broadcast will air the night of Feb. 26 in North America.

Penn, who is also a former welterweight champion, said heís comfortable going up in weight.

"When people make such a big deal about jumping between the different weights, Iíve always said welterweights are a bit slower and stronger, and the lightweights arenít as strong and a little faster," Penn said. "So they both bring different challenges to the table."

FIGHT NIGHT BONUS MONEY

Penn was awarded Knockout of the Night for making quick work of Hughes. Phil (Mr. Wonderful) Davis snagged Submission of the Night after forcing Tim (The Barbarian) Boetsch to tap with a modified kimura shoulder-lock. George Sotiropoulos and Joe (J-Lau) Lauzon took home Fight of the Night for their wild scrap that saw Sotiropoulos (14-2) submit Lauzon (19-6) with a kimura in the second round.

All fighters earned an additional $80,000 for their efforts.

FULL UFC 123 RESULTS

Quinton Jackson def. Lyoto Machida via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

B.J. Penn def. Matt Hughes via first-round knockout (punches)

Maiquel Falcao def. Gerald Harris via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Phil Davis def. Tim Boetsch via second-round submission (kimura)

George Sotiropoulos def. Joe Lauzon via second-round submission (kimura)

Brian Foster def. Matt Brown via second-round submission (guillotine choke)

Mark Munoz def. Aaron Simpson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Dennis Hallman def. Karo Parisyan via first-round TKO (punches)

Edson Barboza def. Mike Lullo via third-round TKO (leg kicks)

Paul Kelly def. T.J. O'Brien via second-round TKO (strikes)

Nik Lentz def. Tyson Griffin via split-decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)


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