UFC 130 Preview: The Main Card

Rampage vs. Hamill

By Jason Probst May 24, 2011
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has underrated ability on his feet. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Matt Hamill now comprise the main event at UFC 130 on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and the loss of Frankie Edgar-Gray Maynard 3 due to injuries hits fans hard.

While this seems likely to impact the pay-per-view buy rate, the stakes remain the same for the card’s other featured matches. Jackson and Hamill battle for a key spot in the light heavyweight contender ranks, while Rick Story and Thiago Alves do the same for a welterweight slot. A pivotal matchup between Brian Stann and Jorge Santiago at 185 pounds and a heavyweight tilt pairing Stefan Struve with Travis Browne round out the lineup.

Here is the breakdown of the UFC 130 “Jackson vs. Hamill” main card.

Light Heavyweights
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Matt Hamill

The Matchup: A pair of strong light heavyweights collide in the main event, with proven veteran Jackson taking on Hamill, whose win over Tito Ortiz at UFC 121 was probably the biggest of his career.

Jackson is especially tough against foes that do not rely on smart game plans to exploit his weaknesses. Like Rashad Evans at UFC 114, Hamill will have to pick high-percentage spots to shoot for takedowns and limit heavy exchanges on the feet. If there is any glaring chink in Rampage’s armor, it is his tendency to want to slug when he could simply overpower opponents to the mat and control them there.

Since his days as a terror in Pride Fighting Championships, where he slammed opponents with frightening ease, he has largely been a stand-and-bang type of fighter -- something that cost him against cerebral-minded foes like Evans, and his title loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86.

Hamill has his work cut out for him here, and Jackson should be superior standing. Rampage’s chin is top-notch, and he covers up and fires back exceptionally well from inside the pocket. Hamill’s wrestling is solid, but his standup largely serves as a means for that wrestling to come into the equation. Jackson’s takedown defense and experience should prove enough to negate Hamill’s takedowns.

However, in a three-round fight, you only have to win two of them to take a decision -- something Evans did with a great game plan. Rampage showed more patience in his split decision victory over Lyoto Machida at UFC 123 and remains an underrated technical striker; his persona and huge bombs overshadow the subtle abilities he has on the feet. If Rampage is to win, he cannot get sucked into a headhunting match. Instead, he must be content to pile up points and force Hamill’s hand.

The Pick: This is a competitive match that could very well swing on who gets a critical takedown or telling blow at the end of a round. Jackson by close decision.

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