UFC 130 Fight Card: 8 Things You Want to Zoom in on While Watching
UFC 130 is finally upon us tonight, and fingers crossed the fighters are healthy and ready.
When you look at the fights on this card, you can really focus in on some intriguing aspects of the guys fighting and get pumped about the challenges they have ahead of them tonight.
I love breaking downs fighters and fights to the tiniest little detail, and there are some things I will particularly be looking for from the elite guys on this card.
Here are eight things you will want to really zoom in and watch closely for during UFC 130.
8. Miguel Torres: Passive or Aggressive?
Watching Miguel Torres fight for many years was a lightning quick flash of aggression and precision. He would come out, come forward and start throwing pinpoint shots to all areas of his opponents.
In recent times, watching Torres has been more like watching a normal, unsure, up-and-coming fighter as he has been tentative at times and passive at others.
Watch closely for him to come out guns blazing against Demetrius Johnson, in a return to his confident, aggressive championship style I grew to love.
7. Rick Story's Legs
Rick "The Horror" Story is a young, up-and-coming tough guy in the UFC 170-pound division, and he is big enough to take care of himself. I am just worried he has bitten off a bit more than he can chew with Thiago Alves.
When Alves is on hungry and on his game, his Muay Thai attack is second to none in the division, and his game plan starts with you legs. I believe that may be something Story has never seen or felt before, and it could be a long night for him.
Watch Story's legs closely. We will see whether they slowly get red, quickly get purple or get cracked right through as the fight goes down tonight.
6. Brian Stann's Takedown Defense
The Brian Stann vs. Jorge Santiago fight is another classic case of striker vs. grappler, and Santiago's biggest chance is to get this fight to the ground.
Stann certainly knows this and has said straight out that Jorge won't be able to take him down. He has the advantage because all fights start standing up, but I tend to think that this one will certainly go to the mat at some point.
I could be proven wrong here, so watch closely for Stann's take-down defense, because it will be the key to the outcome of this fight and anyone's ability in stopping him in the future.
5. The New and Improved Jorge Santiago
This will be Jorge Santiago's second crack at the big leagues of the UFC, but this time, Santiago is coming in on a train-like roll and has a couple of Sengoku championships on his resume.
Santiago went 1-2 the first time around with tough knockout losses to Chris Leben and Alan Belcher. He is not getting an easy welcome this time around as he is set to face tough puncher Brian Stann tonight on the main card.
Santiago is a bigger, stronger and much improved version of his former self since his last fight in the UFC in December of 2006. It's been five years, and 11 of 12 wins later for Santiago: I am looking forward to seeing his improvement put to the test back in the best league in the world.
4. Thiago Alves' Wrestling
Similar to all Thaigo Alves' previous opponents and fights, I believe that wrestling will be the kryptonite he will have to watch for and deal with for his key to victory. In my opinion, wrestling dominance is Rick Story's only chance at beating Alves, and he will have to take the fight in tight and keep it there throughout the night.
Alves says that he has been working diligently at his wrestling and takedown defense, so keep a close eye on what happens when Story goes to implement his game plan. Will Alves be able to keep this one standing with his new and improved game?
If Thaigo Alves has implemented a solid wrestling game into his arsenal, I believe he will once again rise to the top and get another title shot very soon.
3. Frank Mir's Footwork and Head Movement
If the fight between Roy Nelson and Frank Mir remains a stand-up battle, it won't be decided by power, chin strength or what it may appear to the casual fan. If you zoom in on Frank Mir's footwork and head movement, you will see him create the angles and deception necessary to score on Nelson.
Nelson has tremendous power shots, but you only get hit with them if you move in a straight line and stay stationary with Roy, something that Mir does not usually do against anyone he faces.
Mir is constantly moving in, out, side to side, and I believe that will be the difference in the fight if it stays on the feet throughout.
2. Roy Nelson's Ground and Jiu Jitsu Game
We all remember and were impressed by Roy Nelson calling what he was going to do to Kimbo Slice on the TUF and then executing it to perfection to eliminate the brawler from the show. Since then, I have interested to see Nelson test his ground skills against the elite in the division.
Well, tonight is the night. Frank Mir is that guy, and if this fight goes to the ground, let's see who is the better MMA jiu jitsu practitioner. Grapplers Quest video aside, it will be a nice and rare chance to see two of the best big men really go at it on the ground.
If it goes to the ground, zoom in on Big Country and see if his pace, switches and knowledge are good enough to hang with Mir.
1. Matt Hamill's Chin
I want you to really zoom in on Matt Hamill's chin in the main event tonight, because I really feel it will be where all the action will be taking place in the fight.
Yes, I think there is a chance that he could lay and pray on Rampage a bit tonight; I really feel like he is going to have to eat a few solid punches to get there. Rampage is step up in power over anyone Hamill has faced, including Jon Jones, and I am interested to see if this wrestler can really take a punch.
If Hamill eats a couple of Rampage's shots and keeps going forward and wins, that will prove that he is a true contender and top ten fighter in the division and actually challenge for the title in the future.
Dwight Wakabayashi is a Correspondent for Bleacher Report MMA (Also a Correspondent for MMACanada.net)
Catch me on Twitter @wakafighter