Compared to the other UFC events so far this year, there seems to be something(s) missing from UFC 130. More than anything else, since the cancellation of the title fight between Frank Edgar and Gray Maynard, UFC 130 seems to be missing a "true main event."
The replacement main event between Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Matt Hamill doesn't seem to hold too much appeal with fans.
The star power of Rampage in this case doesn't seem to be enough by itself to really get people jazzed up.
For his own part, Jackson is partially to blame because his apparent disinterest in MMA and his desire to cross over into acting aren't really that encouraging to fans.
On the other side of the main event, Hamill is an underdog story, but taking on Jackson seems like a bridge too far for MMA's most notable deaf competitor.
For the fight itself, it looks to be a complete wipeout for Jackson. Jackson has held his own in the wrestling department against the likes of Dan Henderson, Matt Lindland and Kevin Randleman. Those three are all better-credentialed wrestlers than Hamill, so it seems pretty unlikely that Hamill is going to be able to accomplish enough in the wrestling to win a decision.
On the feet, Jackson is a vastly superior boxer, and despite the fact that Hamill is more proficient with kicks, Jackson was still able to have success in the standup against guys like Forrest Griffin and Lyoto Machida, two strikers with far better kicking skills than Hamill.
The only real reason why people think this fight is competitive at all is because of Rampage's questionable motivation, but that's a tough thing to hang a main event on.
Still, despite the fact that many aren't taking Hamill seriously as a challenger, is the fact that he's probably going to get knocked out enough to get people excited to watch?
Aside from the main event, UFC 130 is about as good a card as any.
It's not as stacked with star power as UFC 129 or UFC 126, but it still features seven top-10 divisionally ranked fighters, not including Brian Stann and Rick Story, both on the cusp of that top-10 status.
The fights themselves are some of the most competitive on paper as you'll ever find on a UFC card, with almost nobody being more than a 2-1 favorite.
Looking individually at the bouts, there is a lot to look forward to.
Frank Mir vs. Roy Nelson
Frank Mir and Roy Nelson are both coming in with less than great momentum. Mir looked awful in a third-round knockout victory over Mirko Cro Cop, while Nelson showed little more than an ability to take punishment in his decision loss to Junior dos Santos.
Still, there is some intrigue surrounding the bout that stems from the fact that Nelson once defeated Mir in a grappling match now available on YouTube, though Mir has recently stated that he had defeated Nelson in a less publicized match prior to that.
The bout itself is a tough one to call, as Mir should be the more skilled fighter, but Nelson is the more durable fighter both in terms of stamina and the ability to take a beating.
Stefan Struve vs. Travis Browne
Aside from being a bout between two skyscrapers, this bout is interesting because Browne is virtually the same type of fighter that Struve has taken a beating from before coming back in dramatic fashion.
Brian Stann vs. Jorge Santiago
This fight could last all of 10 seconds, as both are high-powered offensive fighters with defensive holes. Santiago is the better submission fighter, but if this fight doesn't hit the ground, it should end in a knockout one way or the other.
Thiago Alves vs. Rick Story
Rick Story called out Alves for this bout, and Joe Silva granted his wish.
This bout is a high-stakes welterweight affair where Story could put himself into title contention with a win.
In order to do so, he'll have to defeat Alves, a guy whose only losses in the last six years are to Georges St-Pierre and Jon Fitch.
Alves is the bigger name in this fight, but Story is a very underrated contender in the welterweight division.
Miguel Torres vs. Demetrius Johnson
This bout between two top-10 bantamweights should be nonstop action both in the standup and on the ground.
The fact that this fight wasn't good enough to make the main card speaks to the overall depth of this event despite the lack of a "true main event."
Aside from the main event, you won't find a card with more competitive and interesting fights than UFC 130. There isn't a grudge match or a title fight, but the quality of the other bouts on the card still makes it a worthwhile card.