So after watching UFC 130 tonight, all I can say is, “wow!” If anybody out there predicted all of the fight outcomes correctly, my hats off to you! Now Let’s start from the first fight and briefly discuss what we saw and what we learned.
Brian Stann def. Jorge Santiago (knockout):
Coming into this fight I thought Santiago’s game plan was going to be pretty simple: take this fight to the ground and look for a submission. After all we all pretty much knew Stann was going to come in looking for a knockout like usual. Without a whole lot of experience with submissions, which is one of Santiago’s strongest assets, I expected to see Stann be taken to the mat fairly quickly in this fight. Instead we saw Santiago attempt to stand and strike with Brian Stann, which quickly led to Santiago receiving a flurry of punches on his back in the first round. After weathering the first round storm, Santiago then came into the second round looking to stand and strike again. This would quickly lead to a knockout victory by Brian Stann with that vicious left hook.
Rick Story def. Thiago Alves (unanimous decision):
If I were to give an award to the fighter who impressed me the most tonight, it would undoubtedly be given to Rick Story. This kid came into this fight clearly the underdog with something to prove, and came out of this fight with the most impressive win of the night. The great thing about this fight is that we saw no standing around, and no overly cautious fighting. From the start of round one until the end of round three, Story was swinging for the fences. Almost the entire fight we saw Alves on the defense, while Story made himself look like a valid contender in the welterweight division. Coming into this fight many people (including myself) had questions about how well Story would match up against a veteran like Alves. However, after this fight I think Story has made a believer out of anyone who doubted him, by winning this bout by unanimous decision.
Travis Browne def. Stefan Struve (knockout):
If anybody bought this pay-per view with hopes of seeing a great knockout, Travis Browne made every penny you spent worth it. At the start of this bout, I thought we were going to be looking at an extremely sloppy fight. For the first minute and a half or so of the fight neither man looked too technically sound. With poor striking attempts out of both men, my hopes were not too high of them delivering an entertaining finish. However, half way through the first round Travis Browne rocked Stefan Struve with a single shot that sent the big man (6’ 11”) collapsing to the mat. In a dominant fashion, Travis Browne pulls off the victory, and money can probably be bet on the fact that he also won, “Knockout of the night.”
Frank Mir def. Roy Nelson (unanimous decision)
So even though Frank Mir undoubtedly dominated this fight, I feel like nothing was really proven by his performance. I was extremely surprised by how much time in this fight was spent standing, and without any close finishes. Aside from one fantastic takedown by Mir, I felt that it was a fairly boring fight. Neither fighter had striking that stood out as overly impressive, and by the end of the second round Roy Nelson’s gas tank was completely empty. Bottom line is that Frank Mir really did nothing to gain confidence in anybody that he could contend with the top fighters in the heavyweight division, and Nelson showed that his lack of conditioning will truly be a problem should he go into deep rounds with any of the top heavyweights in the UFC.
Rampage Jackson def. Matt Hamill (unanimous decision):
With a great opportunity to gain more relevance in the light heavyweight division, and possibly be looked at for a title shot, I expected hamill to come into this fight a bit more prepared. However, just as we saw with Roy Nelson, conditioning may have truly gotten the best of him in this fight. By the end of the second round, any strike thrown by Hamill was one that could have been seen from a mile away. In addition, even with a fantastic wrestling background Hamill couldn’t seem to shoot a successful takedown on Rampage either. Nothing terribly entertaining about this fight, but I do believe with Rampage looking to be in top condition, and winning this fight by unanimous decision with solid striking, he has done what has been needed to be looked at for another title shot.