The UFC officially announced today the top fights for UFC 130: Edgar vs. Maynard III, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, May 28, 2011. UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar will face number one contender Gray Maynard for the third time in the main event.
“The last time Gray and Frankie fought, they put on one of the best fights of the year,” UFC President Dana White said. “It was the draw no one really complained about. I think a lot of people saw in that fight that Frankie Edgar is the real deal. This is the third and last time these two will come together and the stakes have never been higher.”
Plus, four highly-anticipated fights are on tap as former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson takes on Matt “The Hammer” Hamill, former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir meets Roy “Big Country” Nelson, rising star Stefan Struve is pitted against Travis Browne, and “All-American” Brian Stann mixes it up with returning middleweight contender Jorge Santiago.
With two back-to-back wins over UFC legend BJ Penn and a memorable comeback against Gray Maynard in their draw at UFC 125 in January, UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar 13-1-1) has won eight fights in the UFC. The only blemishes on the Summit, New Jersey native’s record are to Maynard – a 2008 unanimous decision loss and the New Year’s Day draw. With lightning-quick boxing and proven wrestling skills, the 29-year-old champion and former Division I college wrestler is focused on evening the score by pinning an “L” on the undefeated challenger’s record.
On an amazing eight-fight win streak before the draw against Edgar, Gray Maynard (11-0-1, 1 NC) looks to keep his undefeated record alive and realize his dream of becoming UFC lightweight champion. The former three-time NCAA All-American wrestler at Michigan State has parlayed his success on the mat and has transitioned nicely into the Octagon. With wins over names such as Edgar, Kenny Florian, Jim Miller, Dennis Siver and Roger Huerta, Maynard has been in there with the best and has beaten the best.
“I’m very excited to fight Frank Edgar again at UFC 130,” Maynard said. “This is my chance to prove once and for all that I’m the best lightweight in the world. You’ll see me the most prepared and focused I’ve ever been. Nothing will keep me from holding the UFC lightweight belt on May 28th.”
One of the most exciting and electrifying fighters inside and outside the Octagon, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (31-8) has never been short of words or talent as one of the most recognized fighters in the world. The former UFC and PRIDE champion is coming off a big win against ex-title holder Lyoto Machida at UFC 123 and is looking to recapture the light heavyweight crown. First, he meets Matt Hamill (11-2), who holds notable victories over Tito Ortiz, Mark Munoz, Tim Boetsch and Keith Jardine. Now the 34-year-old is gearing up for the biggest fight of his career.
“Matt just took out Tito in his last fight and now he’s going after Rampage,” UFC President Dana White said. “He is really hitting his stride and he’s finally in big, marquee fights. He wanted this fight with Rampage and it should be really interesting.”
One of the most intriguing fights on the card, Frank Mir (14-5) vs. Roy Nelson (16-5) has the capability to be a slugfest or a technical ground war. Mir, a former UFC heavyweight champion, is coming off a huge win over mixed martial arts legend Mirko Cro Cop. The Las Vegas native knocked out the famed Croatian striker with a knee at UFC 119 and has won two of his last three including a submission victory over Cheick Kongo at UFC 107. Nelson, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt like Mir, has the submission skills to put anyone away in the UFC heavyweight division, but has won two of his last three fights by knockout, including two first-round stoppages over Stefan Struve and Brendan Schaub.
“This is a really fun fight,” UFC President Dana White said. “Mir vs. Big Country is a fight between two monster heavyweights with big knockout power and great submissions. They’ve both been around a long time and I’m excited for this fight.”
Two of the tallest fighters in UFC history, Stefan Struve (25-4) and Travis Browne (10-0-1) will make the Octagon look a lot smaller on fight night. The 6-foot-11 Struve has put together a quality run in the UFC, which includes wins in five of his last six fights – highlighted by his back-to-back knockouts over Christian Morecraft and Sean McCorkle. At 6-foot-7, Browne is not used to looking up when fighting opponents in the UFC. The Hawaiian remains unfazed though and turned heads in his UFC debut with a first-round knockout over James McSweeney. He then went the distance with UFC veteran Cheick Kongo in a draw at UFC 120.
A real American hero, Brian Stann (10-3) has gone from fighting on the battlefields as a decorated Marine to fighting in the Octagon and making plenty of noise in the UFC. Winner of four of his last five fights, including a memorable knockout over the then-unstoppable Chris Leben at UFC 125, Stann has his hands full with returning veteran Jorge Santiago (22-8). Winner of 11 of his last 12 fights since his last UFC appearance in 2006, including victories over Jeremy Horn, Kazuhiro Nakamura and Kazuo Misaki, the well-rounded Santiago has become a legit 185-pound contender in the last four years, making the timing perfect for his return to the Octagon.