quinton rampage jacksonIt’s Monday morning and we’re recovering from a full-on weekend of MMA, aka the UFC 96 road trip. Three days full of Ohio-ness, White Castle, and brutal KOs leads me to spew this week’s version of the Marinade’s break-downs.

Let the positives and negatives from 96 begin!

MMA referees are increasingly involving themselves with controversy due to poor stoppages. The time for clearly defined stops, fouls, etc. is now.  I guarantee Aaron Riley agrees with me, as he was on the wrong end of a horrible stoppage against Shane Nelson. Look for

The truth is back, baby. Brandon Vera defeated Mike Patt in fantastic Muay Thai fashion, and will surely be promoted in the UFC’s worldwide expansion efforts (Philippines).

Too bad for Tim Boetsch, as his luster from last year is being further tainted with a loss to Jason Brilz. After his wicked TKO loss to Hamill last year, perhaps it’s a semi-Houston Alexander case.

Part of the 2-0 Hawaiian streak of the weekend, Kendall Grove looked sharp against Jason Day. My pick was horribly off, but hey, I’m happy to see Grove persevering.

Tamdan McCrory was thrilled to get the win over Ryan Madigan. The Barncat is back, and all 170 lbs. contenders better watch out for the kid’s fighting style. McCrory has a great ground game and is not afraid to let his hands go.

Although I picked Jim Miller to win, I expected the kind of fight Gray Maynard gave him. Props to Maynard for showing fantastic boxing and mixing it up more so than he has in the past.

Matt Hamill lived up to his nickname in a big, big way Saturday night. The place erupted in cheer as he delivered one of the nastiest KOs I’ve ever witnessed, to opponent and UFC newcomer Mark Munoz. Due to Mark’s loss, the Filipinos of the night only went 1-1.

Matt Brown, you monster! Pete Sell was unprepared for the early onslaught the Ohio native Brown delivered. As I’ve said for some time now, Matt really has a future in the welterweight division. I’ve seen the man at 88 and now 96, and his stock is rising quickly as this recent W comes after a dominant submission victory at Fight for the Troops.

Shane Carwin is the real deal, and demolished Gonzaga as I predicted he would. Gabriel is just too inconsistent, and Shane’s been training with some of the best. I expect more big things from this big man, in 2009.

The man’s still “got his wolf on”. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson had a great, great fight with Keith Jardine Sat. night, and bested his opponent to get back into title contention. In one of the great UFC 96 moments, current champ Rashad Evans met face-to-face with Jackson and the words back and forth set a solid buzz for their upcoming match rumored to be scheduled for UFC 98 in May.

Overall, this event was superior to 88 in Atlanta, mostly due to the arena being well-organized and clean. We’ll look forward to our next trip/live coverage and will continue to keep pumping out new, fresh content for you all. “Shoutouts” as the kids say, to our Twitter followers.