I scored the fight for Machida 29-28 and was sure Machida would win the decision, and I was stunned that two judges gave the fight to Rampage, 29-28. One judge gave it to Machida, 29-28.
Rampage acknowledged afterward that he didn't think he deserved the decision.
"Machida whooped my ass tonight," Rampage said afterward. "I considered that an ass whipping."
Machida didn't complain afterward, even though he seemed to have been robbed of a victory he had earned.
"I did the best that I could, but I guess the judges thought that Quinton won," Machida said.
Rampage took the center of the Octagon quickly at the start of the fight, while Machida immediately began kicking Rampage's lead knee. It went that way for the first half of the first round, with Machida having more success landing the leg kicks than Rampage did throwing punches. At about the midway point they clinched against the cage, which slowed the fight down a bit, but it was a round in which Rampage missed with almost every strike he threw, so Machida deserved to win it, 10-9.
Early in the second round they clinched against the cage again, and Rampage accidentally kneed Machida in the groin, causing a delay in the action while Machida recovered. A couple minutes into the second round, Rampage went from a clinch against the cage to a takedown, but he wasn't able to do anything with it and Machida stood back up. Rampage started landing strikes more effectively, including a big uppercut followed by a left hook that briefly appeared to wobble Machida, but Rampage wasn't able to capitalize because Machida was so much quicker on his feet. At the end of the second round Machida landed a kick to Rampage's head, but overall the second round belonged to Rampage.
The third round featured the best exchange of the night, as Machida rocked Rampage with a combination, Rampage responded by hitting Machida hard himself, and then Machida took Rampage down and got on top of him on the ground, passing from half guard to side control into the mount. Machida then went for an arm bar, but Rampage rolled into a position to slam Machida, forcing Machida to let go, and they scrambled back to their feet. Machida got back to the ground one last time at the end of the fight, and that's where it ended, with Rampage seeming to know Machida had won the decision.
Rampage said he figured the judges must have been rewarding him for his aggressive style, but that he believes Machida deserved a rematch.
"I think that's what the judges were thinking," Rampage said. "I think it was so close it was unfair to Machida. Even if I don't want to, I have to give him a rematch."
A rematch is definitely warranted. This was a bizarre decision to end a good fight, and these two fighters deserve another chance to take it out of the judges' hands.