It was a show of main event changes as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson faced Matt “The Hammer” Hamill in the main event of UFC 130, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on ESPN here in Britain.
No review of the preliminaries this month as ESPN had technical problems (again), so it’s on to the main show, beginning with middleweight action as Brian Stann faced Jorge Santiago.
The All-American is really starting to come into his own. After a somewhat cagey start from both men Stann connected with a left that sent Santiago down. Stann followed him down for the ground and pound but couldn’t quite get the job done.
Stann continued his great work in the second, and a big right to the temple sent Santiago down again. A brief period of ground and pound followed before the referee stepped in to give Stann the impressive TKO win.
It was down to welterweight for the next fight as Thiago Alves faced Rick Story.
This was a very good encounter. Story put on a great display of grappling for the first two rounds, neutralizing Alves’ superior striking ability. Alves got in some good strikes, but Story was able to respond in kind.
We saw more striking from Alves in the third, as well as some exciting exchanges, with Alves rocking his man a number of times, the fight ending with both men swinging for the fences.
So with the fight going the distance it went down to the judges, with Story getting the unanimous decision.
The big boys of the heavyweight division were up next as Stefan Struve faced Travis Browne.
This battle of the big men began with both fighters connecting with a series of kicks. A clinch against the cage was followed by a brief foray to the ground before they returned to the striking game.
Seconds later and it was all over. Browne connected with a Superman punch that sent Struve crashing, the referee quickly stepping in to give Browne the great knockout win.
The heavyweight action continued as Frank Mir went up against Roy Nelson.
This battle of home town boys proved to be a highly entertaining affair. We also got a lesson about conditioning.
Mir dominated the majority of the fight, putting on a performance that was far superior than his effort against Mirko Cro Cop.
Big Country had his moments, but as time went on Nelson’s lack of physical conditioning showed, and as he sat on his stool between the second and third rounds he had the look of a beaten and exhausted man, with Mir once again dominating with his grapping and his ground and pound.
No surprise with the judges decision as all three gave the fight to Mir. A great performance from the former champion, and an example of how Nelson really needs to go back to the drawing board.
The main event saw Quinton Jackson taking on Matt Hamill in the light heavyweight division.
Rampage seemed to have Hamill worked out from the start. Whenever Hamill went for a take down Jackson was able to defend easily. It was the same whenever Hamill went for a clinch.
As for the striking Rampage had that department covered as well, out striking his opponent and connecting with some hard knees and shots to the body.
So with another fight going the distance it went to the judges again, with all three giving the fight to Rampage. It may not have been pretty but it was effective.
The show rounded out with filler material in the form of the lightweight encounter between Gleison Tibau and Rafaello Oliveira.
This all Brazilian affair was a nice way to end the show. Things looked pretty even in the first as both men got off some crisp strikes and showed some good work during the brief trip to the ground.
It was pretty much the same in the second until Tibau connected with a big left that sent Oliveira down. Moments later Tibau took his man’s back and synched in a rear naked choke for the submission win.
In conclusion - they’ve done it again.
Even though this was devoid of a title fight after both Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar pulled out injured it was still a very good show, and although a couple of the performances were a little disappointing that didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment . So in all UFC 130 gets the thumbs up from me.
Let’s hope ESPN don’t screw up any more shows though!