Today the realization that UFC 130 has lost its extremely exciting and much anticipated main event has probably began to sunk in. No one would have thought that a third fight between UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar and UFC No. 1 Lightweight Contender Gray Maynard would spark so much interest.
Yet that is exactly what happened in the early hours of January 2, not too long after Edgar and Maynard put on a thrilling back and forth affair that encompassed the entire 25 minutes allotted to them for their main event matchup. Once the judges' scorecards were read and a draw was determined, UFC President Dana White made the decision within an hour or two to have Maynard and Edgar square off one more time.
With Edgar-Maynard leading the way, the main card was shaping up pretty nicely. Rampage Jackson was set to face Thiago Silva, but Silva was suspended and Matt Hamill stepped up to face the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Two heavyweights with backgrounds in both Las Vegas and grappling will meet up as Roy Nelson fights former UFC heavyweight Champion Frank Mir.
And so on and so forth, the wheels keep spinning. With just under three weeks and having both Maynard & Edgar injured, the UFC was forced to scrap the fight altogether and bump the Hamill-Rampage fight to the main-event slot.
So that leaves me with the task of trying to drum up some serious interest in the remaining bouts on the main pay-per-view portion of the card. Let's take a look at some highlight videos and try and get the blood flowing in anticipation of these fights.
The former UFC Light heavyweight Champion, Jackson was last seen taking home a controversial split-decision victory over Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida at UFC 123 this past November in Detroit. Before that he lost to his rival Rashad Evans at UFC 114 in a grudge match. The two were opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, but by the time the fight took place and how it went down, neither man delivered on what was promised.
Hamill has technically won his last five fights, but one of those was against the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones in December of 2009. Jones was having his way with Hamill, but hit a few illegal elbows and was disqualified. Hamill has defeated Keith Jardine and Tito Ortiz,
Jackson may get a shot at the title with as victory here, but it will not be worth as much to Hamill if he were to win.
Two big boys from Las Vegas will step inside the Octagon for the first time at the end of this month. Nelson and Mir have squared off before at Grappling events and in BJJ tournaments, but never before in a mixed martial arts bout.
Mir was last seen planting his knee into the face of Mirko "Cro-Cop" Filipovic at UFC 119 in September of last year. The whole bout was largely uneventful until Mir was able to knock Cro-Cop out in the third round. Will a win over Nelson push Mir closer to another title shot?
Nelson was in line for a title shot of his own had he been able to defeat Junior Dos Santos at UFC 117 in August of last year. While he didn't go home victorious he did become the first man to make it to the judges' scorecards against JDS. The previous five were either knocked out or forced to quit due to injury.
It's hard to imagine what to expect from these two. With both men possessing very good submissions, they may decide to keep the fight standing and try their luck there. Mir has the speed advantage, but don't let Nelson fool you. Like they say, don't ever judge a book by its cover.
Struve is certainly making a name for himself both inside and outside of the Octagon. He has a great personality and is as confident a fighter as I have ever seen. He came into the UFC with a solid reputation for submissions, yet he has knocked out his last two opponents. It took him 5:22 to put Christian Morecraft to sleep at UFC 117 and a mere 3:55 to send Seam McCorkle home early at UFC 124.
Browne is undefeated with 10 wins, but was saddled with a draw in his last fight against Cheick Kongo at UFC 120. Kongo was penalized for holding onto Browne's shorts or otherwise he may have handed the Hawaaiian born Browne his first loss as a professional. Browne's UFC debut came at The Ultimate Fighter finale last June. It was there he knocked out James McSweeney.
Struve will look to continue to improve and move up the ladder while Browne will look to establish his name at all.
The resurrection of Thiago Alves will continue on May 28 at UFC 130 in Las Vegas, NV. After losing to UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, Alves was more motivated than ever to wear championship gold, but after being sidelined by injuries and battles with his weight, Alves found himself at a crossroads.
After losing to Jon Fitch in a proposed number one contenders bout in which Alves was overweight once again, "The Pitbull" hired Mike Dolce to help him with his diet, and we were all treated to the old Alves at UFC 124 as he punished the always tough, always game John Howard for 15 minutes.
Story has had quite a story to tell since he first appeared inside the Octagon at UFC 99 in Germany back in June of 2009. He may have lost his UFC debut to John Hathaway, but he didn't get discouraged, in fact he has won his last five bouts. Along the way he has defeated Brian Foster, Jesse Lennox, Nick Osipczak, Dustin Hazelett and Johnny Hendricks.
There is a lot to lose for both men here. Alves needs every win he can get his hands on while Story continues to make the slow, deliberate climb up the UFC Welterweight Ladder.
The All-American Brian Stann has become so popular that Wanderlei Silva, who is considered one of the most popular fighters of all time, didn't want to fight him and risk getting booed! Stann may get an even bigger reception now that the USA is in a frenzy over the killing of Osama Bin Laden! With that being said, Stann deserves applause for his in-ring work as well. He is 2-0 since dropping down the middleweight division and has become a very dangerous fighter under the tutelage of Greg Jackson.
Jorge Santiago left the UFC back in 2006 with a 1-2 record after losses to Chris Leben and Alan Belcher. Since that time he has gone on to capture the Strikeforce Middleweight Grand Prix by defeating Sean Salmon and Trevor Prangley in one night.
He then took his talents to Japan where he won the Sengoku Middleweight Championship. In two of his bouts with Sengoku he defeated Kazuo Misaki in the fifth round and their second bout was awarded the 2010 Fight of the Year.
Santiago will be looking to prove that he is one of the 185-pound fighters in the world, and Stann will look to continue his climb towards the top of the UFC ladder. In the meantime, welcome back Santiago and thank God for the troops of this great country who allow the fans to enjoy the best athletes in the world to entertain us.