UFC 130: Rampage vs. Hamill is only four days away as it is scheduled to take place on May 28, 2011, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas this Saturday night.
With the originally scheduled rubber match between UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard canceled due to injuries sustained by both fighters during training, the co-main event between Quinton Jackson and Matt Hamill has been pushed up to the main event, which still leaves us with a very impressive undercard.
One of the more controversial undercard fights and one of my personal favorite matchups is Brian Stann vs. former UFC fighter, Jorge Santiago.
Stann, the former U.S. Marine Captain whose military actions have been noted by President Bush, is coming off of a huge KO victory over UFC middleweight, Chris Leben.
While many big names were being thrown around as possible next opponents for Stann, one of which was Wanderlei Silva, the UFC matchmaker, Joe Silva and UFC President, Dana White chose an unlikely opponent to face Stann at UFC 130.
Enter former Strikeforce Gran Prix Tournament winner of the middleweight division, former Sengoku middleweight champ, Sherdog’s Fight of the Year winner and American Top Team disciple and BJJ black belt, Jorge Santiago.
Some fans and fighters feel that with this being Santiago’s first fight in the UFC, Stann should have been given the opportunity to face a better-known opponent from the UFC’s crème de la crème middleweight fighters.
Tim Kennedy, former U.S. Army Ranger and Special Forces sniper turned MMA fighter, who also fights for Strikeforce, verbally expressed his disdain for the choice of Stann’s UFC 130 opponent to Bloody Elbow in an exclusive interview.
“And then we'll take Brian Stann, a Silver Medal recipient, a war hero, a Marine captain. He's had like 10 fights under the Zuffa banner between the WEC and the UFC but he's fighting a newcomer to the promotion in Jorge Santiago. It doesn't make any sense. Let's reward the guys who deserve rewarding," Kennedy said.
"The one's that fight fair, the one's that work hard, the one's that do the right thing and punish the guys that say the wrong things, who do the wrong things, that fight unfairly,” he said.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but perhaps Kennedy’s idea of Stann having an unfair matchup with Santiago because he’s a “newcomer” in the UFC is a bit unfair itself.
In fact, Santiago has fought before in the UFC, three times in 2006, going 1-for-3 in his fights, losing to Chris Leben and Alan Belcher.
Since losing to Belcher, Santiago has not only won, but finished 11 of his 12 fights and avenged his only loss during that time, winning by decision against Mamed Khalidov.
Santiago is also accustomed to fighting in and winning MMA tournaments, where contestants fight multiple opponents in the same day.
I think it’s safe to say that his cardio is up to par and it could play an important role in his fight with Stann.
Boasting a professional record of 23-8 with 31 professional fights, Santiago is by no means a “newcomer,” neither to the UFC or MMA.
However, five of his losses have come by KO or TKO and it’s no secret that Stann has knockout power, seeing as he crippled the “Crippler” at UFC 125: Resolution.
With Santiago, being the more experienced fighter and finishing all but one of his last 12 fights, and Stann, being hungry and coming off of a KO win, this bout has Fight of the Night or Knockout of the Night written all over it; it could even be a potential Submission of the Night candidate.
However you see this matchup, come fight night these two athletes are coming not just to fight, but to win.
The UFC will begin at its new time of 9 P.M. EST/6 P.M. PT.
The new time change began at UFC 129 and will continue indefinitely.
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