UFC 130 Preview and Picks

Written by Thomas | Friday, May 27th, 2011

UFC 130 is ready to roll on Saturday, May 28th 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with some excellent matches on the card. The main event card features a light heavyweight battle between former UFC champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Matt Hamill. The other main event will be a heavyweight fight between former UFC champion Frank Mir and Roy “Big Country” Nelson. Fighting on the undercard will be Cole Escovedo who posts a 17-6 record vs. Renan “Barao” Pegado (25-1 with one no contest).

This is the return to the Zuffa fold for Escovedo after being away since losing to Antonio Banuelos by unanimous decision at WEC 23 in August of 2006. He was the first WEC featherweight champ when he won that fight back in 2002, and maintained that title until 2006 when he lost to Urijah Faber. He was then forced out of fighting for two years when a staph infection took a turn for the worst, having complications and leaving him temporarily paralyzed. Since his return to fighting he’s posted an impressive 6-2 record. His opponent Barao on the other hand is just 24, but has 27 pro fights; with his only loss coming in his FIRST fight, in a tough split decision loss to Joao Paulo back in 2005. Barao has been considered one of the most promising up and comers in UFC and is going to be a tough out in this fight against Escovedo.

Renan “Barao” Pegado over Cole Escovedo

Other Previews and Picks for UFC 130

Frank Mir (14-5) vs. Roy “Big Country” Nelson (15-5): Mir, who is the former UFC Heavyweight champion, is looking to make another run at the title in this fight. Mir is an excellent grappler who has worked incredibly hard to improve his striking game. He owns eight submissions and three TKO finishes overall. Mir enters this bout off a TKO victory UFC 119 in September. Nelson is the former IFL Heavyweight champ and and was the winner of season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter. Nelson has strong grappling skills, but has finished eight opponents via TKO and only five by submission.

This is an intriguing match-up between two heavyweights who are looking to get into the heavyweight title picture. This fight will be a close one and the difference will be that Big Country lands the heavier punches and earns a close but unanimous decision.

Nelson -105 over Mir

Travis “Hapa” Browne (10-0-1) vs. Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve (21-4): Browne is coming in off a disappointing draw with Cheick Kongo at UFC 120 in October, but he brings big power with eight TKOs out of his ten career wins. Struve is the tallest fighters on the UFC roster, listed at 6’11, and brings a 5-2 UFC record into this fight. Struve is an excellent finisher with 14 submissions and five knockouts.

Bowne is a tall 6’7”, but will be looking up to the Skyscraper. Struve will be looking to keep Hapa at the end of his long jabs and kicks until taking the fight to the ground. When it ends up on the ground, it’ll be all Struve from there. And should end in the third straight TKO for Struve.

Struve over Browne

Jorge Santiago (23-8) vs. Brian “All American” Stann (10-3): Santiago makes his long awaited return to the UFC after spending over the past four years with Strikeforce, Bodog, and Sengoku; where he earned the Sengoku Middleweight Championship. He has gone an incredibly impressive 11-1 since leaving the UFC back in 2006. Stann on the other hand, is the former WEC Light Heavyweight champion. The All American hits incredibly hard, as was seen in his first round thrashing of Chris Leben at UFC 125.

This is a battle of two different styles here, with the incredible power of Stann against the well-rounded Santiago. Santiago will be trying to get the fight to the ground and avoid Stann’s power, while of coure Stann will do just the opposite. The main thing that Stann has that Santiago doesn’t is the ability for a one-hit knockout. Expect Santiago to try to get it onto the mat as quick as possible, and when he gets it on the mat, Santiago should be able to force a tap from Stann.

Santiago +100 over Stann

Thiago Alves (18-7) vs. Rick “Horror” Story (12-3): Alves was on an impressive seven fight win streak going into his title fight against UFC Welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre, when he then lost by unanimous decision. He came back after back to back tough losses in December with a very nice unanimous decision win over John Howard. Rick Story has put together a nice five fight streak to get to this point, and has good striking power.

This fight’s going to be a tough fight with Story most likely using a wrestling approach. Alves has struggled with the wrestling approach, which Jon Fitch used to help him beat Alves twice. This is going to put Thiago Alves in a tough spot, and should give Rick “Horror” Story the advantage to knock off Alves.

Story +160 over Alves

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