Vinny Magalhaes vs Matt Hamill: Head to Toe Breakdown
Brazilian jiu-jitsu star Vinny Magalhaes has been very active on Twitter lately. He's been calling out a number of fighters lately with Phil Davis becoming the center of attention. One name that also came up is former Ultimate Fighter competitor Matt Hamill.
A matchup of Magalhaes and Hamill seems to make sense in the grand scheme of the light heavyweight rankings but doesn't seem to be getting close to happening due to some concerns with Hamill's family. Specifically Hamill has stated he'd like to wait to fight because his girlfriend is pregnant.
But let's just say a fight between Hamill and Magalhaes does come together in the future. How would the two men match up with one another? Would Hamill's raw strength and wrestling overcome Magalhaes' jiu-jitsu wizardry?
Let's get one thing straight: Nobody is going to pay to watch this fight to see Matt Hamill and Vinny Magalhaes exchange strikes.
Both guys have impressive standing KOs in their highlight reels, but neither is what you would consider a striking expert. Hamill has looked incredibly slow in his last few fights, which means it's likely Magalhaes would at least have a speed advantage on foot.
Where the Brazilian would have a huge disadvantage, however, is in striking defense. The knock on Magalhaes for years has been his ability to take a punch, and it's something that will always haunt him unless he manages to engage in a slugfest for 15 minutes.
Magalhaes has the speed advantage, but given the fact Hamill has devastating power combined with Magalhaes' questionable chin, makes me believe keeping the fight standing would be a bad move for the Brazilian.
The grappling portion of this potential matchup is what MMA fans will be most interested to watch. Matt Hamill is a decorated D-III wrestler and has proven to be a very strong grappler in MMA.
Once Hamill wrestles his opponent to the mat and gains top control, that's generally how the fight stays. He's very good at holding top control, smothering his opponents, which not only wears the other fighter out, but scores valuable points for Hamill on the judges' scorecards.
Vinny Magalhaes is what you might call a wrestler's kryptonite. He doesn't mind going to the ground at all, even if it means Magalhaes has his back to the mat. Eight of Magalhaes' 10 total victories in MMA have come via submission, and it's a very real possibility that the Brazilian could tap out Hamill.
Hamill sports a purple belt in jiu-jitsu himself, so I'm sure he's no slouch when it comes to the submission game, but if Magalhaes can defeat a heavyweight like Fabricio Werdum in a grappling match I have to believe he's more than up for tapping out Hamill.
Fight Preview and Prediction
Both fighters will come into the bout attempting to feel one another out on foot during the opening minutes. Vinny Magalhaes will likely be tentative at first, anticipating a Matt Hamill takedown attempt.
That takedown attempt may never come, and it could lead to a very boring first round. I don't see Hamill's coaches telling him to take it to the mat despite his wrestling credentials. Hamill may be a good wrestler, but there's no reason he should willingly enter Magalhaes' world.
As Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg always love to point out, a fight between two good grapplers tends to end up in a sloppy striking battle.
A major factor will be who shows signs of fatigue first. Hamill hasn't looked great in his last few fights, and Magalhaes has tired in the past. If Magalhaes tires here, Hamill may look for the takedown knowing the Brazilian won't be able to maneuver his hips to lock on a tight submission hold.
Ultimately, I'm going to pick the fighter that's still in his prime compared to a guy like Hamill who is on the downside of his career. I think Hamill may be able to rock Magalhaes on foot, but I still see Magalhaes pulling off a submission victory.