Frank Mir was dismissive last week when someone asked which advantages Roy Nelson might have in their Ultimate Fighting Championship bout.
“None,” Mir declared.
Mir went out and proved it in the cage Saturday night in a victory by unanimous decision in UFC 130 at the MGM Grand.
In the main event, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson secured a likely shot at the light heavyweight title with an uninspiring unanimous decision over Matt Hamill.
Mir was the stronger fighter in every area of a heavyweight matchup between native Las Vegans.
He took down Nelson time after time and landed several big shots on the occasions the two did exchange.
“I’d rate my performance as a seven” out of 10, Mir said. “I expected to win the grappling aspect. It went even better than I had planned. I felt like I was able to win in every aspect of the fight.”
Much of the action in the first two rounds stalled against the cage. When the fight got off the fence, Mir found his range in the standup, particularly with his knees.
Mir took down Nelson several more times in the final round.
To his credit, Nelson kept getting back to his feet. He withstood all that Mir offered and hung on to go to the scorecards.
“How many times did I knee him in the face? I felt like it was 10,” Mir said.
Jackson was equally dominant, though the crowd was left unimpressed after he settled for a decision against an overmatched Hamill.
With a clear advantage on the feet, Jackson kept the fight standing by stuffing every Hamill takedown attempt.
According to CompuStrike, Hamill was 0-for-16 on his takedown attempts. The three-time Division III national champion wrestler came into the fight converting 72 percent of his attempts.
“I was a little shocked by Rampage’s hips and his ability to defend the takedown,” Hamill said. “I wanted to bait him in so that I could secure the double leg. He defended well and was strong just like we expected. Hats off to Rampage. He fought a really smart fight.”
Jackson controlled the standup but never threatened to knock out Hamill.
“I wanted a knockout. You guys know how I am. Matt’s never been knocked out before. I just found that out a couple days ago, and I took it as a personal challenge,” Jackson said. “I don’t think anybody can knock him out. He’s tough. I’m telling you, I was trying to knock him out.
“That guy can take a punch. I hit him with everything but the toilet.”
The former light heavyweight champion is likely to get a shot at reclaiming his belt against Jon Jones this year, but Jackson claimed after the fight he had broken his hand in training, and Jones is recovering from an injury as well.
In a battle of the two tallest fighters on the UFC roster, 6-foot-7-inch Travis Browne knocked out 6-10 Stefan Struve late in the first round.
Browne perfectly timed a Superman punch as Struve attempted a kick, and Struve went down in a heap.
Brian Stann and Rick Story rounded out the main card with victories.
Stann firmly established himself as a top 10 middleweight by knocking out Jorge Santiago late in the second round. He sent Santiago to the mat several times with big punches before finally finishing him with a series of right hands.
Story ground out a decision over Thiago Alves, holding him against the cage for much of the first two rounds. Alves landed several powerful punches and a solid knee in the final round, but it was too late to catch up on the scorecards.
On the undercard, Demetrious Johnson won a controversial decision over Miguel Torres. Johnson was on top for much of the fight, but Torres was doing damage from the bottom and attempted several submissions.
Tim Boetsch completely outwrestled Kendall Grove to take a decision.
Gleison Tibau earned the only submission of the night with a choke of Rafaello Oliveira, and Michael McDonald and Renan Barao each picked up victories by decision.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509.