Quinton “Rampage” Jackson edged Lyoto Machida in Saturday’s UFC 123 main event, earning a split decision from the judges after the close battle between the former light heavyweight champions capped off the pay-per-view event in Detroit.
UFC 123 also saw BJ Penn stun fellow former champ Matt Hughes in their anticipated rubber match as he knocked out the hall of famer in just 21-seconds.
Jackson got off to a strong start as he controlled the center of the Octagon and forced Machida into exchanges in the opening round, but after a close second frame highlighted by struggles in the clinch, Machida clearly won the third after threatening with an armbar from mount.
In the end it was Rampage’s aggression and more-powerful punches that won him the fight, as he earned a pair of 29-28 scores over Machida’s single 29-28 tally.
“Rampage” bounces back from a May loss to rival Rashad Evans and improves to 31-8 to take a step towards another shot at the title, while Machida falls to 16-2 with his second-straight loss after dropping the title to “Shogun” in May.
After the questionable decision was handed down, Jackson admitted to getting his “ass whooped” and promised Machida an immediate rematch, which Machida accepted if it’s what the UFC wants.
The UFC 123 co-headliner came to an abrupt end after Penn dropped Hughes with a punch in the opening seconds and quickly pounded him unconscious with punches on the ground to rebound from back-to-back losses to Frankie Edgar that had many questioning his future.
Penn jumps to 16-7-1 after successfully returning to 170-pounds for the first time since losing to welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre nearly two years ago, while Hughes drops to 45-8 with his three-fight win streak snapped and will again face questions of a potential retirement.
Also on the UFC 123 main card, Maiquel Falcao handed Gerald Harris his first UFC loss with a unanimous decision in his Octagon debut, light heavyweight prospect Phil Davis continued his rise with a second-round submission of Tim Boetsch, and George Sotiropoulos subbed Joe Lauzon to remain in title contention.
The complete results for UFC 123 were:
MAIN CARD (PPV)
- Quinton “Rampage” Jackson def. Lyoto Machida via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- BJ Penn def. Matt Hughes via KO (punches) – Round 1, 0:21
- Maiquel Falcao def. Gerald Harris via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Phil Davis def. Tim Boetsch via submission (kimura) – Round 2, 2:55
- George Sotiropoulos def. Joe Lauzon via submission (kimura) – Round 2, 2:43
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV)
- Brian Foster def. Matt Brown via submission (guillotine) – Round 2, 2:11
- Mark Munoz def. Aaron Simpson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
PRELIMINARY CARD (unaired)
- Dennis Hallman def. Karo Parisyan via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:47
- Edson Barboza def. Mike Lullo via TKO (leg kicks) – Round 3, 0:26
- Paul Kelly def. TJ O’Brien via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 3:16
- Nik Lentz def. Tyson Griffin via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)