Las Vegas Sun

August 22, 2014

Currently: 74° — Complete forecast | Log in

UFC 130: Breakdown & Picks

The depth of UFC 130 makes up for its lack of a highly-anticipated main event. Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard left a void at the top of the card when they canceled their lightweight championship bout because of injuries. But six other matchups intriguing enough for high billing will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. They should all be competitive. Only one of them — the main event between Rampage Jackson and Matt Hamill — features a favorite higher than 2-to-1. And Hamill shocking the MMA world by challenging Jackson isn’t out of the question, though no one on this picks panel — Las Vegas Sun’s Case Keefer (30-26-2), KSNV’s Kevin West (35-21-2), ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (31-25-2) and ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto (20-4) — is siding with him. Odds are courtesy of the Venetian/Lagasse's Stadium sports books and subject to change.

Matt Hamill

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6’1''
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 9-2
  • MMA record 10-2
  • Out of: Utica, N.Y.
  • Betting line: +240

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’1''
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 6-2
  • MMA record 31-8
  • Out of: Irvine, Calif.
  • Betting line: -320

Light Heavyweight Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Unanimous decision victory over Tito Ortiz at UFC 121.

Punch list: Hamill is on a five-fight win streak, although one of those was a highly controversial victory via disqualification against Jon Jones. He’s never truly beat one of the UFC’s elite fighters — also dropping fights to Rich Franklin and Michael Bisping — but is confident his wrestling will help change that Saturday.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Jackson

Cofield: Jackson

Last fight: Split decision victory against Lyoto Machida at UFC 123.

Punch list: Jackson only has one knockout victory in the last three-and-half years. He’ll have a clear striking advantage against Hamill, which should open the door for that to change. Look for Jackson to do all he can to keep the fight standing.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Jackson

Okamoto: Jackson

Roy Nelson

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6’0''
  • Weight: 265
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 15-5
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: -105

Frank Mir

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’3''
  • Weight: 265
  • UFC record 12-5
  • MMA record 14-5
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: -125

Heavyweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Junior dos Santos at UFC 117.

Punch list: Even though Nelson lost his last contest, he received plenty of praise for his performance. He became the first man in the UFC to go the distance against dos Santos. Nelson has a power advantage and possibly a grappling edge, as he beat Mir in a Grapplers Quest competition in 2003.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Nelson

Cofield: Nelson

Last fight: Third round win via knockout over Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 119.

Punch list: The UFC’s longest-tenured heavyweight is a perfect 3-0 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mir enjoyed one of his career highlights at the venue when he beat Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira via TKO for the interim heavyweight title at UFC 92. Mir worked hard on his wrestling in preparation for Nelson after Cro Cop thwarted all his takedown attempts at UFC 119.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Mir

Okamoto: Nelson

Stefan Struve

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 6’11’’
  • Weight: 238
  • UFC record 5-2
  • MMA record 21-4
  • Out of: Beverwijk, Netherlands
  • Betting line: -110

Travis Browne

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’7’’
  • Weight: 255
  • UFC record 1-0-1
  • MMA record 10-0-1
  • Out of: San Diego
  • Betting line: -120

Heavyweight Bout

Last fight: First round win via knockout over Sean McCorkle at UFC 124

Punch list: He started his professional career as a 17-year old and his two UFC losses are to top contenders Junior dos Santos and Roy Nelson. “Skyscraper” has a reach advantage over most heavyweights, including Browne, but has shown a tendency to get off to a slow start.

Staff picks:KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Struve

Cofield: Struve

Last fight: Unanimous draw against Cheick Kongo at UFC 120.

Punch list: Browne believes his Muay Thai is at an elite level. He’s still unbeaten, but could have lost his last bout if Kongo didn’t have a point deduction for grabbing his shorts. Three previous bouts before entering the UFC lasted a total of 52 seconds.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Browne

Okamoto: Struve

Rick Story

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’10''
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 5-1
  • MMA record 12-3
  • Out of: Vancouver, Wash.
  • Betting line: +170

Thiago Alves

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’9''
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 10-4
  • MMA record 18-7
  • Out of: Coconut Creek, Fla.
  • Betting line: -200

Welterweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision victory over Johny Hendricks at The Ultimate Fighter 12 finale.

Punch list: He’s won five straight after dropping his first UFC contest in 2009 against John Hathaway. Story asked for Alves to attempt to break into the top of the 170-pound division. He hopes his wrestling background can help overcome Alves’ large frame.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Alves

Cofield: Alves

Last fight: Unanimous decision victory over John Howard at UFC 124.

Punch list: Alves won his first fight in two years — though he deserves some slack since he was 0-2 before that with losses to Geores St. Pierre and Jon Fitch — against Howard. He says he’s motivated by Story calling him out.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Story

Okamoto: Alves

Jorge Santiago

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 1-2
  • MMA record 23-8
  • Out of: Coconut Creek, Fla.
  • Betting line: +110

Brian Stann

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 4-2
  • MMA record 10-3
  • Out of: Scranton, Penn.
  • Betting line: -140

Middleweight Bout

Last fight: Fifth round win via TKO over Kazuo Misaki at Sengoku 14.

Punch list: Santiago returns to the UFC for the first time since getting cut in 2006. He’s steamrolled competition since then, going 11-1 and winning a Sengoku championship and Strikeforce tournament title.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Stann

Cofield: Stann

Last fight: First round win via knockout over Chris Leben at UFC 125.

Punch list: If there’s one weekend you don’t want to face a former marine, Stann says it’s Memorial Day. It’s his favorite holiday and first appearance since leaping up the ranks with the Leben win. Only Anderson Silva had previously knocked out Leben.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Stann

Okamoto: Santiago

Demetrious Johnson

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 5’3’’
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 9-1
  • Out of: Parkland, Wash.
  • Betting line: Even

Miguel Torres

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 39-3
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: -130

Bantamweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision victory over Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto at UFC 126.

Punch list: This is a huge step up and opportunity for “Mighty Mouse”. He was scheduled to face Renan Barao at this event until Torres’ original opponent, Brad Pickett, pulled out. Johnson is one of the quickest fighters in the 135-pound division, but can he overcome Torres’ experience?

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Torres

Cofield: Johnson

Last fight: Unanimous decision victory over Antonio Banuelos at UFC 126.

Punch list: Rumors indicate a victory here could give Torres a title shot against the winner of this summer’s Cruz vs. Faber bout. Some would argue against it, as he is only 2-2 in his last four fights, but Torres’ name is still one of the most recognizable in the UFC’s smaller weight classes.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Torres

Okamoto: Torres

Tim Boetsch

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 3-3
  • MMA record 12-4
  • Out of: Sunbury, Penn.
  • Betting line: +130

Kendall Grove

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 7-5
  • MMA record 12-8
  • Out of: Maui, Hawaii
  • Betting line: -160

Middleweight Bout

Last fight: Second round loss via submission to Phil Davis at UFC 123.

Punch list: Boetsch makes his middleweight debut in an attempt to save his UFC life in his second stint with the promotion. He’s 1-1 since returning, but his win over Todd Brown was not the most exciting and didn’t turn any heads.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Grove

Cofield: Grove

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Demian Maia at The Ultimate Fighter 12 finale.

Punch list: He’s well-known as one of B.J. Penn’s top training partners and The Ultimate Fighter season 3 winner. Unfortunately for Grove, he’s never been able to progress beyond those titles. He’s had some impressive wins, but has always been stopped short of the top of the middleweight division.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Grove

Okamoto: Grove

Rafaello Oliveira

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 1-2
  • MMA record 14-3
  • Out of: Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Betting line: +280

Gleison Tibau

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 8-5
  • MMA record 32-7
  • Out of: Coconut Creek, Fla.
  • Betting line: -360

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: Second round victory via TKO over Ryan Bixler at Recife FC 4.

Punch list: Jorge Santiago isn’t the only fighter on the card starting his second UFC journey. Oliveira is back after getting cut last year. He’s won four in a row since. Like Tibau, he’s a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt so look for a ground war.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Tibau

Cofield: Oliveira

Last fight: Split decision win over Kurt Pellegrino at UFC 128.

Punch list: Mixed martial arts has been Tibau’s only job since he was 13 years old. He may finally be reaching his potential. Tibau has gone 5-2 in the last two years with the only losses coming to top 155-pound contenders Jim Miller and Melvin Guillard.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Tibau

Okamoto: Tibau

Chris Cariaso

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’3”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 11-2
  • Out of: San Francisco
  • Betting line: +220

Michael McDonald

  • Age: 20
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 12-1
  • Out of: Modesto, Calif.
  • Betting line: -300

Bantamweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision victory over Will Campuzano at UFC: Fight For The Troops 2.

Punch list: Cariaso has an interesting background as a former BMX pro and amateur boxer who competed in Golden Gloves. He’s not bad at MMA either, with his only loss in the last three years coming against once-beaten Renan Barao.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: McDonald

Cofield: McDonald

Last fight: Unanimous decision victory over Edwin Figueroa at UFC Fight Night 24.

Punch list: Another performance like the one in his UFC debut and McDonald might be fast-tracked in the division. The youngster is one of the brightest prospects in the history of the bantamweight class and earned Fight of the Night honors two months ago against Figueroa.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: McDonald

Okamoto: McDonald

Cole Escovedo

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 17-6
  • Out of: Fresno, Calif.
  • Betting line: +250

Renan Barao

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 5’6’’
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 25-1
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro
  • Betting line: -330

Bantamweight Bout

Last fight: First round win via submission over Steven Siler at Showdown Fights: New Blood.

Punch list: It’s a long journey to the UFC for Escovedo, who was the WEC bantamweight champion before coming down with a life-threatening staph infection four years ago. He was paralyzed and looked unlikely to ever fight again before overcoming the ailment. Making it to the UFC after that is incredible to begin with.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Barao

Cofield: Barao

Last fight: First round win via submission against Chris Cariaso at WEC 53.

Punch list: Barao has looked darn near perfect lately. He hasn’t lost since his first professional bout in 2005 and has dangerous striking to go along with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu game that has seen him submit four out of his last five opponents.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Barao

Okamoto: Barao

Most Popular

  • Viewed
  • Discussed
  • E-mailed