The quality of the card for this UFC event suffered a major blow when the main event, a Championship fight, which was to feature UFC Lightweight Champ Frankie vs Gray Marynard, had to cancelled due injuries both fighters sustained in training.
There are, however, a few noteworthy matches that remain on the Main card. I will make predications for two of the those fights.
Heavyweight: Frank Mir vs Roy Nelson. This is a interesting battle because it both fighters are multidimensional, with both good boxing skills and wrestling/Jiu-Jitsu skills that are superior to most UFC Heavyweights. Both fighters are also from Las Vegas and know each other well, so it will be difficult for one to spring a surprise on the other.
At 6 ft and 260 pounds Roy Nelson does not look like an elite MMA fighter, but he has a record of 15 and 5, and should not be underestimated. Frank Mir is a former UFC HW champ and also fights at 260 lbs now. He put on about 20 pounds after losing badly to Brock Lesnar, who may have weighed as much as 285 ibs when he TKO’d Mir in 2009.
This is tough call, but I’m going to take Nelson here and I’m going to pick because he was so impressive in last fight, which he actually lost to Junior Dos Santos. Still, it was an impressive performance because JDS may be the best boxer currently in the UFC and considered by many to be one top five HW’s in MMA. JDS hit Nelson with everything he had and still could not KO Nelson. JDS ended up winning by decision, but it was a tough test for him. If JDS can’t KO Nelson I don’t think Mir can either. Normally, Mir would probably want to take this fight to the ground in order to use his high level Ju-Jitsu to submit Nelson, but that could be dangerous because Nelson can match him there. Nelson actually defeated Mir in at the Grapplers Quest event in 2003. I think Roy Nelson will win again.
Light Heavywight: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs Matt Hamill. There is a lot on the line here. The winner will probably be put at or near the head of the line to fight new LHW Champ Jon Jones. Rampage is a former UFC LHW Champ with a record of 31 and 8. Hamill is 10 and 2, although that includes a victory over Jon Jones, who was disqualified for using illegal downward elbow strikes. Jones was winning that fight before being DQ’d. Hamill is also a deaf athlete and deserves much credit for not letting that disability set him back in his pursuit of a UFC title.
Both fighters have good stand up and ground games, although Rampage Jackson is the better boxer. Hamill, a former NCAA Div II wrestling champ at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has the advantage on the ground imo.
When Rampage has his A game he is one of the best MMA fighters in the world. He has branched into acting in the last few years and has lost a few fights in that period and it did not look like he brought his A game in those fights. If Jackson is not at his best I think he will lose to Matt Hamill, but I do think he is taking this fight seriously and will win what should be a tough bout.
POST EVENT THOUGHTS:
Well, went 1 and 1 on picks for 130. I was right on Rampage and wrong on Frank Mir. Unfortunately, I did not see the Mir vs Nelson battle because I late getting downtown ( I usually watch the UFC fights at one of the sports bars in the Gas Lamp section of SD). I did see Rampage Jackson vs Hamill and that fight went pretty much the way Rampage wanted it to go. He kept it standing and out boxed Hamill. Hamill tried to take him down, but Jackson stuffed all his take down attempts.