Quinton "Rampage" Jackson Faces Ryan Bader At UFC 144Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has been granted his wish. The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion will indeed be part of the upcoming UFC 144 card on February 26, 2012 in Saitama, Japan. Jackson will face off against former top 205-pound contender Ryan “Darth” Bader in a featured bout.

ESPN.com first confirmed the matchup with UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta today. Jackson expressed anger and frustration this week when it appeared that he would not be on the UFC card in Japan. The long-time PRIDE star will now compete in the country for the first time in exactly six years.

Jackson (32-9-0) has not fought in Japan since a decision victory over Dong Sik Yoon at PRIDE 31. He won back-to-back fights after departing the promotion and later captured the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship from Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell in a 2007 rematch. Jackson lost the title one year later, but went on to win four of his next five fights to set up a title fight against current champion Jon “Bones” Jones in September. Jackson was unable to mount much of any offence and eventually succumbed to a fourth-round rear-naked choke. A win over Bader would place Jackson back among the top contenders in the competitive light heavyweight division.

Bader (13-2-0) opened his career with seven straight victories leading into a stint on Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter. He would ultimately win the show with a first-round stoppage of Vinny Magalhães in late 2008 and seemed to be on the fast track to a title shot after four more victories inside the Octagon. However, Bader also ran into the juggernaut that is Jones at UFC 126 earlier this year and fell victim to a guillotine choke in round two. He then suffered a shocking upset loss to fading legend Tito Ortiz five months later, but rebounded with a one-punch knockout of Jason “The Hitman” Brilz this past weekend.

Jackson and Bader have combined for 20 knockout victories to date. The matchup is expected to be featured prominently on the card and could serve as the night’s co-main event.

UFC 144 takes place on February 26, 2012 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The event features a UFC Lightweight Championship bout between Frankie “The Answer” Edgar and former WEC champion Ben “Smooth” Henderson.


UFC 144 Fight Card (to date; subject to change):

– Frankie “The Answer” Edgar vs Ben “Smooth” Henderson [UFC Lightweight Championship]
– Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs Ryan “Darth” Bader
– Jake Shields vs Yoshihiro Akiyama
– Anthony “Showtime” Pettis vs Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon
– Yushin “Thunder” Okami vs Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch
– Hatsu Hioki vs Bart “Bartimus” Palaszewski (*)
– Riki Fukuda vs Steve “The Robot” Cantwell (*)

*Not yet officially announced.



(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)