UFC 130 Predictions

Damn, does it feel like forever since we’ve done these. Well, UFC 130 has endured a ton of changes, the main event has changed, blah blah blah, but what’s important is that we’ve still got a decent night of fights ahead of us. Here’s whet we think will happen with special Armando V. commentary after the jump. It’s like the bonus round you didn’t know was coming.

Fight Armando Casey TJ
Renan Barao vs. Cole Escoveda Barao Barao Barao
Chris Caraiso vs. Michael McDonald McDonald McDonald McDonald
Rafello Olivera vs. Gleison Tibau Tibau Tibau Olivera
Tim Boetsch vs. Kendall Grove Boetsch Grove Grove
Demetrious Johnson vs. Miguel Torres Torres Torres Torres
Jorge Santiago vs. Brian Stann Santiago Santiago Stann
Thiago Alves vs. Rick Story Story Alves Alves
Travis Browne vs. Stefan Struve Struve Struve Struve
Matt Hamill vs. Rampage Jackson Hamill Jackson Jackson

MAIN CARD:
Light Heavyweight bout: Quinton Jackson vs. Matt Hamill
Rampage has fought three excellent wrestlers in his career, dropping a decision to Rashad Evans, winning a decision over Dan Henderson and earning a split over Matt Lindland.  Not exactly the dominating ‘Page that we saw cut through Chuck, Wandy and Ricardo Arona.  Matt Hamill’s every bit the wrestler as any of the aforementioned gentlemen is, and a more complete striker too.  Sure, he got annihilated by Jon Jones, but Rampage would too.  Plus there’s always the x-factor of Rampage not giving a shit about his fight career at this stage.  All that in mind, I think Hamill walks away with a win and catapults himself to “in the mix” status. – MATT HAMILL VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Heavyweight bout: Frank Mir vs. Roy Nelson
These two fighters are so close to equal, so it’s gonna come down to which fighter has the stronger weak point.  Nelson’s BJJ is pretty close to Mir’s level, but Mir’s striking is light years away from Nelson’s.  Big Country keeps this standing, has enough BJJ experience to avoid any dangerous positions, and walks out with a unanimous decision. – ROY NELSON VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Heavyweight bout: Stefan Struve vs. Travis Browne
Browne is good… really good… but Struve is better.  After proving that he could come back from the brink of destruction and tag Christian Morecraft en-route to a KO win last August, Stefan Struve showed a completeness to his game.  He’ll handle Travis Browne with his newly-confident striking, and hopefully be able to beat better competition; to-date he’s 0-3 against top-tier guys (losses to Bellator LHW champ Christian M’Pumbu, Nelson and Junior dos Santos). – STEFAN STRUVE VIA 2ND-ROUND KO
Welterweight bout: Thiago Alves vs. Rick Story
Thiago is still sticking around at 170, even though Dana (and likely everyone else in the world) thinks he belongs at 185.  He looked much better than usual in his last fight against John Howard, but Alves is still getting outpaced by most of the MW division.  Story has won his last 5 and is 11-1 over his last 12 brawls, his only loss during that stretch coming to standout Brit John Hathaway.  A win against a top name like Thiago Alves will catapult Story’s stock quite a bit, and he won’t pass up on the opportunity. – RICK STORY VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Middleweight bout: Brian Stann vs. Jorge Santiago
If Stann is able to pull out the W against Sengoku golden boy Jorge Santiago, he’ll be the next coach on The Ultim… oh.  I see.  In that case, he’ll get a hearty handshake and a pat on the back, which is pretty much just as good.  Only not.  At all.  Makes you wonder if that mental letdown will factor into this fight.  In any regard, Stann has a tough opponent in front of him, one relatively unknown to the UFC fanbase due to his time overseas.  Jorge Santiago is a solid 23-8, with 21 finishes (9 KOs/TKOs and 12 subs), and wins over some great fighters – Kazuo Misaki, Jeremy Horn and Kazuhiro Nakamura, among others.  This will be Stann’s toughest fight by far, and I don’t think he has the goods to defend everything Santiago can throw at him. – JORGE SANTIAGO VIA 1ST-ROUND SUBMISSION
SPIKE CARD:
Bantamweight bout: Miguel Torres vs. Demetrious Johnson
Let us not forget that back around early-to-mid 2009, Miguel Angel Torres was not just one of the best BW fighters in the world; he was one of the best in ANY WEIGHT CLASS, pretty much by consensus.  Oh how quickly things change in the world of MMA.  Back-to-back losses, and now Torres is an afterthought in the minds of most, overshadowed by Dominick Cruz, Urijah Faber, Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez.  Not a good idea to count Torres out, especially after his career to-date has consisted of a 20-fight win streak and a 17-fight win streak.  Don’t get me wrong; Demetrious Johnson is an excellent young talent, and has a great career ahead of him.  He just ain’t gettin’ past Torres. – MIGUEL TORRES VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Middleweight bout: Kendall Grove vs. Tim Boetsch
Has Been vs. Never Was.  Color me… uh… excited?  When in doubt, go with the one who’s NOT a previous TUF winner. – TIM BOETCSH VIA 2ND-ROUND KO
FACEBOOK CARD:
Lightweight bout: Gleison Tibau vs. Rafaello Oliveira
Really hard to get behind Oliveira when he seems to underperform against top talent.  His only meaningful (debatable) win was against John Gunderson in 2010; losses to Lyle Beerbohm, Nik Lentz and Andre Winner are his only blemishes, but they’re very telling blemishes.  Janigleison Herculano Alves (best name in MMA history), AKA Gleison Tibau, has several notable wins, including Kurt Pellegrino and Caol Uno, not to mention some of the fiercest and strongest wrestling in all of MMA.  Oliveira has no chance here.  Also of note: this fight was originally going to be Cody McKenzie vs. Bart Palaszewski, but injuries to both brought along the switch-up, Black Eyed Peas style. – GLEISON TIBAU VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Bantamweight bout: Michael McDonald vs. Chris Cariaso
Another fight born of an injury, as Chris Cariaso was originally slated to fight Kid Yamamoto, who pulled out due to an undisclosed injury.  Michael McDonald was moved up from his fight with Nick Pace to fill-in, and Pace was bounced from the card altogether.  Tough break.  In any regard, McDonald is 12-1 at only 20 yrs. old, and has already avenged his only loss, against Cole Escovedo.  McDonald likes to finish, as his most recent fight against Edwin Figueroa was his first decision win.  Chris Cariaso is a respectable 10-2, but needs a bit more seasoning before he can break into the middle tier of fighters, whereas McDonald has the tools right now to make some waves at 135.  Consider it a tune-up fight to transition to the upper echleon of 135 talent. – MICHAEL MCDONALD VIA 1ST-ROUND KO
Bantamweight bout: Renan Barão vs. Cole Escovedo
If you paid attention to Armondo V.’s Dickride of the Week segment, you would know that Renan Barão is a future BW champ.  Yep, sure is.  I don’t care what level the competition is; you don’t rack-up a 25-fight no loss streak without having some serious talent, and Barão has just that.  Cole Escovedo is very… average.  Not that average is bad, but against a stud like Barão, average is not nerely enough.  Look for Renan Barão to control the fight, both standing and on the ground, en-route to a victorious UFC debut: – RENAN BARÃO VIA 3RD ROUND KO

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