Jackson is coming off a loss to champion Jon Jones at UFC 135 last September. Bader (13-2) bounced back from losses to Jones and Tito Ortiz by knocking out Jason Brilz at UFC 139 in November.
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Round 1: After an intense staredown, Jackson quickly gets into square-off mode in the center of the Octagon, but Bader opts to shoot instead. He can’t get the takedown, so he settles for the clinch against the fence before giving up on it. Huge looping right from Bader comes over the top and grazes Jackson. Moments later another one connects more solidly, followed by a clinch from Bader. Jackson is having trouble mounting much of an offense. He’s too busy trying not to get taken down, and Bader keeps sneaking in a quick strike here and there. Jackson opens up with some combos in the final seconds, but nothing much lands. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Bader.
Round 2: Jackson throws a couple big bungalows to start the second, reminding Bader that he has that capability. Clinch against the fence, and Jackson scoops Bader up for a surprising slam that drops Bader on his head. Jackson starting to feel it now, and Bader is looking uncomfortable. Bader recovers and gets the takedown into half-guard. Short elbows from Bader, and scattered boos from the crowd. Jackson tries to work back to his feet in the final two minutes, but Bader isn’t having it. Knees to the thighs by Bader as Jackson gets briefly back to his feet before being planted back on the mat by Bader. We end the round there, with Bader working short strikes from the top. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Bader.
Round 3: Bader wastes little time closing the distance and getting back into the clinch, but he has to give it up and come back to the center. Jackson’s punches seem to have slowed, and Bader charges back in for another takedown. He moves quickly into side control and Jackson is sucking wind from the bottom. Jackson replaces the guard, but Bader is still grinding away from the top as Jackson works back to his feet, only to be hauled down again. More boos from the crowd, and Jackson looks like he’s just surviving here. The ref encourages Bader to “get busy,” and he responds by looking for a kimura from side control. He can’t finish it, but time is running out anyway. Guillotine attempt by Bader in the final seconds, but an exhausted Jackson holds on until the horn. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Bader.
Ryan Bader def. Quinton Jackson via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)