UFC 130 Picks

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
UFC 130 Picks

These UFC 130 picks and fight previews are courtesy of Sportsbook.com

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Matt Hamill

Light Heavyweight (205 lbs) Bout

The line on this UFC 130 fight had Jackson at -260 and Hamill at +200

It will be Rampage versus the Hammer on a Saturday night in Vegas. In a city that likes to see a good show, Quinton Jackson and Matt Hamill will come to town hoping to deliver a performance that will live up to the phrase “main event” as the headlining battle of UFC 130. If the outcome can match the hype, the biggest winner of the night could be millions of UFC fans outside the octagon.

You can get more UFC 130 picks at PreGame.com

Jackson versus Hamill was originally supposed to be Jackson versus Thiago Silva, but a series of problems Silva had regarding inconsistencies with his post-fight drug test following UFC 125 got him into hot water. Weary of the circumstances, the UFC decided not to wait for the findings of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, but rather opted to pull Silva from the match with Jackson, and replaced him with Hamill. Because of the Silva situation, and Jackson’s occasional penchant for falling out of shape in between bouts, some fans have been a little cool to buy into the hype of this matchup. Nonetheless, a victory on Memorial Day weekend means that Jackson may finally position himself to get that elusive title fight he has dreamed of since being upset by Forrest Griffin in July 2008, when he lost his UFC light heavyweight championship. In terms of what his preparation for battling Hamill is all about, Jackson sees the fight as much more about what he does, as opposed to what his opponent is all about. "I don't really watch his fights that much, so I don't know a whole lot about him," Jackson told MMA Fight Corner presented by FiveKnuckles.com "I just know he's a wrestler so I'm pretty sure he's gonna try to take me down. I'm just training in all different areas to make sure I finish the fight."

Jackson (-275) will enter the fight as a substantial favorite over Hamill (+215) despite the fact that Hamill brings a five-fight win streak to the showdown, while Jackson has won three of his past four bouts. That loss came almost a year to the day of UFC 130, last May 29, to Rashad Evans, in what was a UFC light heavyweight eliminator bout. Since then, Jackson has fought just once, defeating Lyoto Machida last November in Auburn Hills, MI in a split decision. It was a split decision that a number of observers felt was split in the wrong direction.

Like Rocky versus Apollo Creed, Hamill is playing the underdog role to the hilt, relishing his role as the longshot fill-in taking on the much more hyped Jackson. "Everyone knows his gameplan. He doesn't change. He loves to strike," Hamill said about Jackson's style. "I got my mind open and I'm going to go out there and fight real smart and I'm going to avoid his knockout power."

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Jackson isn’t the only fighter entering the cage Saturday night who’s positioned himself into title fight status. With impressive victories over the likes of Keith Jardine, Mark Munoz, and most recently, Tito Ortiz last October in Anaheim, Hamill has now moved himself into the discussion for a title bout opportunity with a win this weekend. It is that carrot at the end of the stick for Hamill that could bring him into this fight just as hungry for a victory as his heavily-favored opponent. "He's the one so close to being a contender. So I feel like I want to be ready to be the contender," Hamill said.

Frank Mir vs. Roy Nelson

Heavyweight (265 lbs) Bout

The line on this UFC 130 bout had Mir as the -135 favorite and Nelson at near even odds +105

When 34-year-old heavyweight Roy Nelson, loser of three of his past five bouts, enters the ring Saturday night to square off against 32-year-old fellow heavyweight Frank Mir, who has gone down to defeat in two of his past four outings, there may not be any loud blaring proclamations via the sound system touting the meaning of this match. But rest assured, the smell of desperation will be in the air, and nowhere will it be more prevalent than inside the octagon.

Nelson’s last battle came against Junior dos Santos in August of last year at UFC 117. Though Nelson became the first man to take dos Santos to a decision, he also received a high level of punishment from his opponent. Nelson was reflective and honest with himself following the loss, seeing it as a turning point in terms of how he would approach future fights. “I think that’s the only fight I had where I felt the better man actually won. That’s the only time I had that feeling.” Nelson told sherdog.com, adding “When you go into a fight, you’ve got to throw more punches than the other guy, and Junior is probably the guy who hit me the hardest in my whole career. That forced me to become a better fighter.”

Training partner Jose Salgado feels that dos Santos awakened Nelson to the need to adjust his preparation and style. He believes that fans will see an improved, better-conditioned athlete stepping into the ring versus Mir. “In all honesty, I feel this is the best shape he’s ever been in,” Salgado observes. “The dos Santos fight may be the catalyst that moves him to the next level. It truly opened his eyes. I’m not saying he never worked hard to begin with, but he’s got the extra oomph to take him to the next level.”


Mir will enter Saturday’s bout coming off of a victory over Mirko Filipovic last September. Filipovic was a late add, as he had to fill in for Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who pulled out due to a knee injury. That victory by Mir followed a first round KO loss to Shane Carwin in March 2010. Nelson and Mir have a history that goes back several years. Both men met on the Jui-Jitsu circuit over a decade ago. They are both born and bred in Las Vegas, where their sport has cultivated its fan base and exposure, paralleling the rise of these two heavyweight mainstays.

Now Mir is set to face Nelson in a fight whose outcome does not guarantee to do much for his career. Mir was hoping for a rematch with Carwin, and is not exactly doing cartwheels at the prospect of facing Nelson. “Roy is coming off a loss and the way our sport works I want to fight a fight where I have a lot to gain,” said Mir during a recent interview with MMA 30. “A win for either of us doesn’t move us towards a title shot. I was looking for a fight with Carwin, he has only lost in a title fight.”

If you’re thinking that Mir sees a fight against Nelson as a wee bit beneath him, you may not be that far off. The bigger issue is will Mir be fully motivated to prepare and battle Nelson in this contest?

While Mir (-130) enters the bout as the favorite over Nelson (even), an improved conditioning program, sparked by a loss that was part valiant defeat, part humbling wake-up call, could end up playing a major motivating role for Nelson.

- Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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