AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – The UFC’s first card featuring four former champions had one quick fight and another that went the distance.
B.J. Penn beat Matt Hughes in just 21 seconds and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson won a split decision against Lyoto Machida at UFC 123 on Saturday night.
Penn knocked Hughes flat onto his back with a right cross, then unleashed a flurry of shots to his head that led to their fight being stopped.
“He hit me hard,” Hughes said. “When I felt the hit, I thought it was a knee or a kick.”
There weren’t many punches or kicks in the Jackson-Machida fight, but Jackson’s aggressive style seemed to pay off for the judges against Machida’s passive ways.
“I think that’s the only reason that earned the decision,” Jackson said. “Machida whipped (me) in the third round. I didn’t do what I wanted, and he bloodied my nose.”
Machida shuffled and backpedaled more than he punched or kicked, but took Rampage down in the third after two rounds without much action.
He didn’t bristle at the decision that didn’t go his way.
“If the judges saw that Quinton won, then they saw Quinton win,” the Brazilian said through a translator.
Jackson was determined to show he can still be a force in the UFC after playing B.A. Baracus in “The A-Team” movie.
It looks as if Penn made the right decision to keep fighting.
Penn (16-7-1) surrendered his UFC lightweight title earlier this year. The former two-division champion considered walking away from mixed martial arts after two straight losses to Frankie Edgar.