Having been fortunate to land in the main event, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson has the chance to raise his status amongst the contenders in a crowded UFC Light Heavyweight division.
Welcome back Rampage
Quinton Jackson went through a rough patch after losing the UFC Light Heavyweight title to Forrest Griffin in 2008. A lengthy inactive spell was followed by a points loss to Rashad Evans, making the road back to the championship look very long indeed. A win over Lyoto Machida moved Rampage back into the picture but he missed out on a shot at Mauricio Rua as he wasn’t in a position to drop enough weight in time to challenge the champion.
Finally the breaks fell his way when the main event of UFC 130, Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard for the UFC Lightweight title, was cancelled due to injuries. That bumps Jackson to the top of the card [http://bleacherreport.com/articles/712520-ufc-130-fight-card-main-card-odds-and-predictions] and it could come at a more opportune time. Phil Davis and Evans will face off in August while two other contenders, Rua and Griffin, will face off at UFC 134. In a crowded division, now is the time to make a statement for a shot at Jon ‘Bones’ Jones.
Enter Matt Hamill, a lower profile but dangerous opponent. Hamill isn’t in Jackson’s class in the stand-up game but is dangerous on the ground. In a three round fight, Hamill only needs to win two of them to beat Rampage. That may sound clichéd but MMA betting fans remember how focusing on keeping the fight technical secured a win for Evans over Jackson last year.
The difference is that, despite his nickname, Rampage has become a more patient fighter. He showed against Machida that he can pick his shots and remains stout defensively. I like Rampage to control this fight in the stand-up game and do enough to take the unanimous decision.
Nelson can shake off the rust
Don’t let that belly fool you, Roy Nelson is an athletic and mobile fighter. If he could control his weight, who knows how far Nelson could go. Right now he’s looking to re-enter the contender ranks in the UFC Heavyweight division. On Saturday night he gets a shot at Frank Mir. Despite owning a 2008 win over Brock Lesnar, Mir is not the force he once was. Having suffered horribly one-sided defeats to Lesnar and Shane Carwin since then, Mir has only been able to pick up wins over fighters past their prime. Nelson does not fit that bill. He may be unconventional to look at but he will have far too much for Mir. This one should end in a stoppage win for Nelson.