“Fight Night” bonuses were given out to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Keith Jardine for “Fight of the Night”, while Matt Hamill earned “Knockout of the Night” with his highlight reel head kick KO of Mark Munoz.
The UFC’s trip to Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio was a success despite what many considered to be a lackluster main event, and the absence of any belt on the line. The fighters were awarded $60,000 for their efforts, which is down from $65,000 that was handed out at UFC 94 in January.
Although there were no title fights taking place at UFC 96, there were several story lines to follow, in addition to some very important fights to determine top billing in a couple of divisions.
Not many fans gave Keith Jardine a shot in the main event versus Quinton Jackson. Not only did Jardine survive the first minute of the fight, but he took some of “Rampage’s” best shots and showed his toughness through a full 3 rounds.
“The Dean of Mean” came back from adversity several times and made an extremely close fight out of his opportunity to play spoiler once again. Jackson ended the fight strong in a close battle by dropping Jardine at the bell in the third round with a strong left hook. “Rampage” was awarded the victory by unanimous decision, and the effort and heart shown by both earned them “Fight of the Night” honors.
Matt Hamill came into his fight with Mark Munoz looking to see who really was the more dominant wrestler. Both fighters are heavily decorated grapplers, and although Hamill has shown dramatic improvement in his stand up, what came next was truly shocking.
“The Hammer” let loose a head kick heard round the world that connected and knocked out Mark Munoz cold on his feet. Munoz was still out several moments later as Hamill celebrated his dramatic KO that earned him a cool $60,000 and “Knockout of the Night”
Without a single submission, there was no “Submission of the Night” award to hand out. It seems that award will stay safe and secure on Demian Maia’s bookshelf.