UFC 130: Rampage vs. Hamill goes down tomorrow night from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.
FightLine.com owner Raj Giri and head writer Mark Wayne preview the top fights and offer their predictions for the show. You can also enter your picks in our “Comments” section below this article. Also, don’t forget to check back at FightLine.com Saturday afternoon for our live, ongoing coverage of UFC 130.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Matt Hamill
Some might complain about this fight being unworthy as a main event, but there should be a lot learned once the dust has settled from this light heavyweight contest.
A former champion who has looked a little lackluster in his past couple outings, Quinton Jackson’s motivation has been called into question before and that hasn’t changed in the lead up to this bout. By most accounts, Jackson has put the time and effort into his training camp to be fully prepared, but the real question is: Where is his head at? With talks of an impending retirement and the admission that he might have struggled finding motivation to face Hamill, it will be interesting to see what kind of mental state Rampage shows up with on Saturday night.
Matt Hamill has everything to win here. In Jackson, the fan favorite deaf fighter has an opponent whom offers the opportunity to vault himself into title contention by scoring a win. A big underdog against the howling Memphis slugger, Hamill is motivated to pull off the upset and prove himself as one of the best light heavyweights in the world.
Mark: Putting money on Hamill for the upset win isn’t a bad strategy for those gambling fans, as his strength and wrestling could pose real threats to Jackson, who found himself taken down more than once in a fight against Rashad Evans. Still, look for Jackson to do damage on the feet and employ his oft-neglected wrestling base to mostly keep upright. Jackson via TKO in round two.
Raj: I’m smelling an upset here and thing that Hamill will take it. Rampage has been inconsistent in his performances for the last several years and Hamill seems hungry. I think the story of the fight will be similar to when Rampage faced Rashad Evans, with Hamill taking the fight on points after dominating each round with takedowns and ground and pound. Hamill via unanimous decision.
Frank Mir vs. Roy Nelson
This is another interesting fight to break down, as Nelson and Mir also have similar styles; they’ve built striking on top of a grappling acumen that is mostly based around jiu-jitsu. Much has been made of a match between the two at a Grappler’s Quest contest in 2003, where Nelson outworked Mir to a win, but it is unlikely that match has much, if any, bearing on their impending contest.
Nelson is a big puncher who rarely throws kicks and has a surprisingly agile ground game, which he often uses to damage, rather than submit, opponents. Mir is also an adept ground practitioner, but tends to go for submissions more than positional dominance or ground and pound. The former heavyweight champ has also made strides in the striking department, as evidenced by his wins over Cheick Kongo and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
Mark: Nelson has the kind of knockout power that has given Mir trouble in the past and has the kind of chin that will make it difficult for Mir to score a quick knockout of his own, but I see Mir’s striking as the more diverse. With their grappling skills likely to cancel out, this fight could very well be determined on the feet. Mir via split decision.
Raj: This is a really tough fight to call, and one I go back and forth on. Hopefully this doesn’t turn into a buddy sparring session like Mir’s last bout with Mirko Cro Cop. I agree with Mark that both fighter’s wrestling skills likely cancel each other out, however I would give a slight edge to Mir because of his size advantage. I feel that if it stays standing, then it’s anyone’s fight. However, I feel Mir will be able to stop this one in the third round. Mir via TKO in Round 3.