Hamman vs. Kuiper is the biggest fight in the prelims (size-wise) and has excitement written all over it. Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images.
A blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a black belt in judo. A protege of Vladimir Matyushenko. A pair of middleweights probably fighting for their jobs.
That is the best way to sum up Michael Kuiper vs. Jared Hamman.
Kuiper is our BJJ and judo dude. The thing is, while you would figure he would be a grappling-focused fighter, he scored six knockouts in his 11-0 run in Europe before joining the UFC at UFC 143, where he lost to Rafael Natal by decision.
Many before him have been cut after starting their UFC careers at 0-2 and Kuiper is certainly going to try and avoid that.
Hamman, meanwhile, is our Matyushenko protege. He has more UFC experience than his opponent, for sure, debuting back at UFC 105 against fellow at-the-time newcomer, Alexander Gustafsson. He is currently sitting on a 2-3 record in the promotion, and is coming off a loss to Constantinos Philippou. Another loss, in all likelihood, will not be tolerated.
The thing is, even though these fighters have not made much of a splash in the UFC, this bout could end up being a good one. Both fighters have serious knockout power, and Hamman, in spite of his record, has two Fight of the Night bonuses to his credit.
Look for the added pressure to bring out the best in both of these fighters and watch as they likely combine for a great fight.