Up until last week, UFC 130 was looking like it possessed one of the most stacked fight cards for a UFC pay-per view in quite some time. However, with injuries plaguing both Frankie Edgar and Grey Maynard, the 3rd match between the two which was set for Edgar’s lightweight title will be put on hold for now, which will leave fight fans looking forward to a main event between Matt Hamill and Quintin “Rampage” Jackson instead. Though this will obviously not be a title fight, but the winner of this fight may very well be looking at a number one contender-ship for the light heavyweight title in the near future.
Quintin Jackson will enter the main event at UFC 130 with a 31-8 mixed martial arts record, with his last victory coming from what some would consider a controversial decision in his bout with Lyoto Machida last November at UFC 124. With perhaps the best slamming power in the division, and quick striking (14 knockouts), Quintin Jackson has been a force to be reckoned with his entire career as a mixed martial artist. Matt Hamill, who is also a bit of a knock out artist as well, will enter the fight with a 10-2 record, coming off of a 5 fight win streak against the likes of Tito Ortiz, Keith Jardine, and Jon Jones (disqualification), and can be far from counted out in this match up.
Next up is Frank Mir vs. Roy “Big Country” Nelson in the heavyweight division.
Mir will come into this fight with a professional MMA record of 14-5, while his opponent Roy Nelson comes in with a record of 15-5. When you break down the two fighting styles, I really believe we are given an interesting match up. Both fighters come in with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Frank Mir is a submission expert, winning 8 of his 14 victories by way of this. Roy Nelson on the other hand possesses strong hands to compliment his Jiu-Jitsu skills winning 8 of his 15 victories by knockout. Despite there not being a title, or a number one contender-ship on the line either, both fighters still have much riding on this fight.
In my opinion, Frank Mir desperately needs a victory in this fight to stay at all relevant in the heavyweight division. Mir has lost two of his last four fights and both against two top heavyweight contenders. At UFC 100, we saw Frank Mir get pummeled by Brock Lesnar, losing the fight in the second round by means of a TKO, and being severely out struck by Lesnar. As for his fight with Carwin last spring we saw Mir get knocked out in the first round, and once again severely out struck by his opponent. So what does this tell us about Frank Mir? Well in short, it tells us that in the past couple of years, Mir has had a very tough time contending with the top heavyweights, and if he wants to regain relevance in the division, a win over an up and comer like Roy Nelson will be necessary. With Nelson coming off of a loss to Junior Dos Santos, he will look for a win in this fight to gain back momentum, by defeating the former champ.
In another heavyweight battle, at 130 we will see Travis Browne (10-0-1) taking on Stefan Struve (24-4). This is one of those fights that just seems a little out-of-place in the fight card, because it would appear nothing too major is riding on it. Sure both fighters are decent, but unless UFC president Dana White has something up his sleeve that none of us know about, the winner of this fight is not likely to see a title fight or number one contender-ship opportunity anytime in the near future. This seems like it’s more of a momentum fight. The winner won’t get a title shot, but perhaps both these men are fighting for a win, just to move up in their division and get a little bit closer to that point.
Like most fight fans that have ever watched Thiago Alves fight, I believe Rick Story is biting off a little bit more than he can chew this early in his UFC career, asking for a fight with Alves.
Thiago Alves will come into this fight with a professional MMA record of 18-7, and straight off of a dominant performance against John Howard at UFC 124 in December, where he was victorious by unanimous decision after three rounds. He has beaten decorated fighters such as Josh Koscheck and Matt Hughes, and has incredible knockout power and superior conditioning.
Rick Story is no slouch of a fighter, coming in with a 12-3 record, but with half of his wins coming from judge’s decision, and having never faced anybody of the same caliber as Alves, I have a hard time seeing Story finishing this fight. At the same time, with Alves’ knockout power and history of finishing fights before it goes to the score card, I don’t see it making it that far either. With this being said in my best prediction we are going to see Alves win this fight by second round knockout.
Last and certainly not least we have Jorge Santiago returning to a UFC octagon to meet Brian Stann. With a very decorated military background in the Marines it should come as no surprise to anybody that so much hype has been surrounding this fight so close to Memorial Day. Brian Stann comes into tonight’s bout with a 10-3 mixed martial arts record, while his opponent, Santiago enters 23-8. Brian Stann, as well as most of our fighters at 130, seems to rely a lot on his hands when he fights, and has finished 7 of his 13 fights by way of knockout. However relying to heavily on one aspect of your game may result in trouble should he decide to do it in this fight. With 9 wins by knockout, 12 by submission, and 2 by decision, Santiago can pretty much take a fight wherever he wants to take it, and this may mean trouble for Brian Stann should this fight go to the ground against a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu like Santiago. Brian Stann, who is undoubtedly a fantastic fighter, and former WEC light heavyweight champion has his hands full with Santiago, and in my opinion is slightly out matched in this fight. I am going to predict a submission victory for Santiago for this bout.
In conclusion, here are my final predictions for the pay-per view portion of UFC 130. All other pre-lim fights can be seen tonight at 8 pm Eastern Time on Spike TV:
Rampage Jackson def. Matt Hamill (decision)
Roy Nelson def. Frank Mir (decision)
Jorge Santiago Def. Brian Stann (submission)
Thiago Alves def. Rick Story (Knockout)
Stefan Struve def. Travis Browne (Knockout)