One light heavyweight returned from retirement while the other made his promotional debut last night (Sept. 22, 2012) as Matt Hamill came back to take on Roger Hollett on the UFC 152 main card in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Hamill had called it quits following two consecutive defeats in the light heavyweight division last summer, and he finally went back to his bread and butter: his wrestling.
In a fight that wasn't the most fan-friendly, "The Hammer" took it to the largely inactive Hollett especially in the first and second rounds with some serious ground and pound from top position.
So why did Hollett hold back in the stand-up department? And where do both men go from here?
Follow me after the jump for our Matt Hamill vs. Roger Hollett UFC 152 post-fight review and analysis
Hamill exploded out of the cage, lunging forward at Hollett like a fighter who had been champing at the bit to compete for over a year. It wasn't effective, but it was a good sign to see him try to be so aggressive. In the striking realm, while Hamill wasn't the most powerful or dangerous fighter, he was able to back Hollett up into the fence repeatedly with his constant forward movement.
Just when it seemed Hollett was going to try and fight back, Hamill closed the distance and took him down with authority. For the remainder of the first round, he pounded away with heavy strikes as Hollett turtled and covered up, offering nothing in return.
Hamill couldn't get the finish and the second round was real ugly. "The Hammer" was very tired and despite this, Hollett failed to capitalize on his opponent's weakness. "The Hulk" only occasionally threw punches and a spinning back kick and it seemed like he just couldn't pull the trigger.
In the third round, despite being tired, Hamill again went to work with aggression and he put a stamp on his victory by taking Hollett down and pounding away with strikes from above as the Canadian offered little resistance. It was an easy decision to award Hamill the unanimous victory.
For Roger Hollett, this was an incredibly poor showing. It seemed like he was a deer in the headlights out there, very intimidated by Hamill and unable to pull the trigger. He could not get inside to land heavy strikes and his spinning back kick was not accurate or damaging enough from the outside. When Hamill wanted to take him down, he did it with easy and Hollett didn't do much off his back other than turtle and cover up, hoping "The Hammer" would hit him illegally and get a stand-up. He simply didn't look like a UFC caliber fighter.
For Matt Hamill, while his stand-up didn't look anything special, he did what he had to do to win. He took Hollett down and he pounded on him. It was nice to see him go back to his wrestling and despite his opponent's poor takedown defense, this is a bout that could give him confidence to keep using it. It wasn't the most entertaining performance, but he got the "W" and that's what matters.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Should the fight have been stopped in the first round when Hollett wasn't fighting back? Did Hamill show you anything in his Octagon return?