UFC 130 fight card: Rampage Jackson vs Matt Hamill -- Expect the worst, hope for the best

Photo via UFC.com

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson isn't too excited about his fight tonight (May 28, 2011) against Matt Hamill in the UFC 130 main event.

Who can blame him.

The former light heavyweight champion was supposed to battle Brazilian brawler Thiago Silva, setting up what would have likely been an exciting back-and-forth slugfest. But that barnburner went up in smoke after Silva was suspended for submitting a fake urine sample prior to his overturned win over Brandon Vera at UFC 125.

Enter "The Hammer."

Hamill is an accomplished wrestler who, aside from an incredible head kick knockout over Mark Munoz, doesn't have the laundry list of exciting fights and/or finishes on his resume. Sure, he's won five consecutive fights, but he hasn't necessarily done so in memorable fashion (sans Munoz).

And one of the "wins" during that span was a disqualification over Jon Jones, who nearly killed him.

Hamill needs a big win over a big name. It's that simple.

So, to his credit, he called out Jackson when the opportunity presented itself, saying that he had the skills to "break his will." Never one to sidestep a challenge (not when there is enough time to get in shape, anyway), Jackson obliged.

But maybe that wasn't such a bright idea.

Jackson hasn't recorded a knockout since separating Wanderlei Silva from consciousness with a left hook from hell way back in 2008. In fact, he's gone to the judges scorecards in five of his last six appearances.

He's desperate for a knockout, telling the fans that they'll see one later this evening if Hamill stands in the center of the Octagon and trades punches.

Fat chance.

Sure, Hamill will stand with Jackson. That's how each round starts. But that's likely not where they will end.

Hamill's best chance -- perhaps his only chance -- of winning this fight is if he can get it to the ground. He knows it. Jackson knows it. I know it. And I'm sure it's a safe bet that you even know it, too.

Of course, this is mixed martial arts, a sport in which anything can and often does happen. No one expected Matt Serra to knockout Georges St. Pierre in 2007. Likewise, no one expects Hamill to finish Rampage in 2011.

So what can we expect tonight? Most likely another decision.

Expect the worst, hope for the best.

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