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UFC 88: Breakthrough

MMA Fighting Matchups

Rich Franklin (-240) vs. Matt Hamill (+190)

by Stan Leung
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UFC 88 Breakthrough
Saturday September 6, 2008 8:00 PM
Rich Franklin vs. Matt Hamill
UFC Betting Pick:
Rich Franklin (-240)

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UFC Light heavyweight Fight: Rich Franklin vs. Matt Hamill

If you are an avid reading of the site, we have never been impressed with former UFC middleweight champion Rich “Ace” Franklin (23-3) as a fighter. However, he will be fighting Matt “The Hammer” Hamill (4-1) and he should have no problem in beating Hamill in this fight.

UFC wagering wise the opening online betting lines opened up with Franklin as the favorite at -240 at Boomaker.com. I do not know what the online sportsbook oddsmakers are thinking. I would have set the lines at -320 or -350 for Franklin. So to get this fight at -240 is a great betting value that every online UFC bettor should jump on. I would lay a lot of money on this fight just for the favorable gambling lines which by the time the fight starts; the lines should be around -320 for Rich Franklin.

Matt Hamill gained attention through the Ultimate Fighter reality show and has become a fan favorite for his work ethic and willingness to learn quickly in the TUF house. Because he is legally deaf many viewers started to root for the underdog which may have lead to a favorable betting lines. The fact that Hamill has improved so much as a fighter is incredible but he is not where near the caliber of fighter Franklin is.

Lets be honest Hamill has no business being in the UFC octagon with Franklin. This is a MMA fight that is solely based on marketing. Rich Franklin is one of the most popular fighters and Matt Hamill is one of the most popular and inspiring fighters so naturally UFC matchmaker Joel Silva puts on a lack luster fight that is popular on paper.

Though Matt Hamill might be a great UFC fighter one day, September 6 at UFC 88 will not be his day. He has really good wrestling skills, as he was a three-time NCAA Division III National Champion in wrestling while attending the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The Hammer also has a silver medal in Greco-Roman wrestling and a gold medal in freestyle wrestling from the 2001 Summer Deaf Olympics so his upper body strength and wrestling is very good.

However, this is mixed martial arts and his wrestling alone will not get him very far. Though he has vastly improved his striking he is no where near the level Franklin is at. He striking is very awkward and Hamill tends to keep his body straight up while striking and he tends to push his punches rather than snapping them. Despite being a competitive wrestler Hamill’s cardio is not as good as many might think. When he goes past the first round he looks tired and tends to leave his hands down. An experienced striker like Franklin will expose his lack of standup skills. If you look at Hamill’s previous fights he fought Tim Boetsch at UFC Fight Night 13, Rex Holman, Seth Petruzelli and Jesse Forbes. These guys are not really world beaters in the world of MMA.

This UFC fight will be a 205 pound light heavyweight fight but it should not affect Franklin's game at all. Franklin has fought and beaten good fighters and has way more experience in the octagon. He has fought good striker, good grapplers and there is nothing in Hamill’s game that really scares Franklin. Franklin has beaten Travis Lutter at UFC 83 - Serra vs. St. Pierre II, Yushin Okami at UFC 72 - Victory, Jason MacDonald at UFC 68 - Uprising, David Loiseau at UFC 58 - USA vs Canada, Nathan Quarry, Evan Tanner at UFC 53: Heavy Hitters, Ken Shamrock, Curtis Stout, Jorge Rivera, Edwin Dewees and Travis Fulton. If you look at who Hamill has fought in the past it is almost laughable. Can Hamill put a hurt on Franklin like Anderson Silva did? No.

Rich Franklin has done some changes to improve as a MMA fighter. Before he was training with Jorge Gurgel and he was picking up bad habits from Gurgel who in all honesty has no business teaching Franklin. Franklin has started training under Matt "The Wizard" Hume who is one of the best trainers in the world. He will be able to teach Franklin how to fight a wrestler since Hume has a wrestling background. Getting away from Gurgel and training with Hume might be the best thing in Franklin’s career.

Bottom Line: Franklin is a better striker, has more experience, and is a better grappler. Hamill will try to use his wrestling advantage and try to take Franklin down, so he can fight ground and pound but Franklin will be able to push Hamill off with his strikes. Hamill just isn’t a great fighter yet and Franklin has 5 times more MMA experience than the Hammer. I expect this fight to be very one sided as Matt Hamill needs at least 3 to 4 years more experience in striking and grappling to even compete.

The one thing about Hamill is that he is a game fighter. He does not quit and he has incredible will desire to fight. Aside from betting on Franklin to win this on the moneyline a nice bet to make is a UFC prop or exotic bet for this fight to go all three rounds. Franklin will pummel Hamill for all three rounds but he will continue to keep on fighting. Franklin does not have the wrestling and grappling skills to over power Hamill but it will be the striking that wins this fight. A good prop or exotic bet to make it for Rich Franklin to win the fight by decision.

Look for Franklin to beat down Hamill badly for the full three rounds

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