UFC 96 Breakdown
UFC 96 is emanating this Saturday from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. This is the third consecutive year that the UFC has scheduled an event around the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus.
While no titles are up for grabs for the second consecutive card, UFC 96 has many fights that are very close on paper. Jackson vs Jardine, Jim Miller vs Maynard, and Gonzaga vs. Carwin are but a few of the matchups that are very close to call. The undercard of UFC 96 also has some nice fights including Ultimate Fighter 3 champion Kendall Grove taking on Lethbridge’s Jason Day.
Well, we here at Top MMA News are going to try to help you out by breaking down some of these close fights.
Quinton Jackson (29-7) vs Keith Jardine (14-4-1)
Rampage Jackson has his legal woes behind him, his arch-nemesis Wanderlei Silva was left lying on the canvas, and now he wants his Light-Heavyweight title back. Standing in the way of Jackson’s title shot is the Dean of Mean. Keith Jardine has Greg Jackson’s team behind him so you know he will have a strong game plan for Rampage. You wonder about Jardine’s consistency here as he tends not to win consecutive bouts (his last fight was a win versus Brandon Vera). Jardine will use his potent leg kicks against Rampage just as Forrest Griffen did, but Rampage will be all over Jardine. Rampage will close the gap and test Jardine’s suspect chin and, ultimately, knock him out.
- Top MMA News’ Pick: Rampage KO Round 2
- SportsInteraction Rampage Jackson -400, Keith Jardine +250
Gabriel Gonzaga (10-3) vs. Shane Carwin (10-0)
This is a close fight to call. Gonzaga is great on the ground but Carwin is one helluva wrestler who will be hard to take down. Gabriel does not want to be tagged by one of Carwin’s punches as it will be lights out for Gonzaga who is outmatched on the feet here. Gonzaga’s best bet is to get a submission after pullling guard. Carwin will not stay in Gonzaga’s guard and will keep it standing. The only question about Carwin is his gas tank as he has never seen the third minute in any one of his ten victories. The line is +120 for Carwin so you can make some money on Shane here. Carwin jumps into the ranks of Top 10 Heavyweights in the world after he beats Gonzaga here.
- Top MMA News’ Pick: Carwin by TKO late Round 1
- SportsInteraction Gonzaga -167, Carwin +120
Matt Hamill (5-2) vs Mark Munoz (5-0)
Matt Hamill is a very good wrestler, but Mark Munoz is better. Will Munoz be able to put Hamill on his back and beat him up with some Ground and Pound? Getting put on his back would be strange territory for Hamill, but he should be able to sprawl and stop Munoz’ takedowns. Hamill has a huge advantage on his feet and has a lot more experience, he’s fought Bisping and Franklin, than Munoz who came out of the weak WEC Light-Heavyweight division. Look for Hamill’s dirty boxing to win this fight by decision in a possible Fight of the Night.
- Top MMA News’ Pick: Hamill by Unanimous Decision
- SportsInteraction Hamill -175, Munoz +125
Gray Maynard (6-0) vs Jim Miller (13-1)
Gray Maynard is a big bully. A huge 155er, Maynard likes to take guys down using his fantastic wrestling skills. However, it is hard to pick against those Miller brothers – especially now that one has had a full training camp rather than taking the fight on a week’s notice. Miller’s has better BJJ than Maynard who likes to play it safe from the top. Miller will need to be aggressive and take the fight to Maynard whenever he can because Miller will be on his back most of this fight. One would like to say that Miller’s exciting MMA style will catch Maynard in a submission or a TKO, but expect Maynard to grind out a decision victory from top position.
- Top MMA News’ Pick: Maynard by Unanimous Decision
- SportsInteraction Maynard -189, Miler +137
Matt Brown (8-7) vs Pete Sell (8-4)
I’d rather see Jason Day/Kendall Grove on the main card, but this should be a nice fight to watch. Pete Sell lost 4 of 5 fights in the UFC and then took a year off, moved down to Welterweight and came back to defeat Josh Burkman. Brown will be outsized in this fight and will have a hard time not being taken down by the stronger Sell – a Serra BJJ specialist. Brown’s best bet is to try to keep this fight standing, as Sell has been known to do at his own demise. If it is kept standing this could be a backstreet brawl between the two with Brown coming out on top. However, Sell will stay with his strategy and use his size to take Brown down and win a decision over the tough Brown.
- Top MMA News’ Pick: Sell by Unanimous Decision
- SportsInteraction Sell -139, Brown +100
Kendall Grove (9-5) vs. Jason Day (17-7)
Kendall Grove has rededicated himself to fighting after the birth of his child and has not fought since last June – beating the late Evan Tanner. Rumble in the Cage and Ultimate Cage Wars veteran Jason Day has been fighting injuries and has not fought since last June as well. It will be interesting to see which fighter can shrug off the ring rust first and impose his will on the fight. This is a good matchup and Sportsbooks‘ are putting Day as the underdog so its a decent play to throw some bucks down on Day. Grove will need to utilize his length to keep the powerful Day away from him or if it goes to the ground work for submissions. Day is a strong opponent who will close the distance on Grove. Day should catch Grove on the feet at some time during the first two rounds and follow up some with ground work for the TKO.
- Top MMA News’ Pick: Day by TKO Round 2
- SportsInteraction Line: Grove -164, Day +120