Helwani vs. Dundas: UFC 130 edition - NBC Sports

Helwani vs. Dundas: UFC 130 edition
MMA experts Chad Dundas and Ariel Helwani go head-to-head with their UFC 130 picks.
May 27, 2011, 5:05 pm

I failed to gain any ground on Chad after we both went 8-4 with our UFC 129 picks. Here's our current 2011 standings:

Chad Dundas: 55-28
Ariel Helwani: 51-32

Now it's time to focus on Saturday night's UFC 130 event. Here's hoping Chad doesn't copy all my picks this time.

Brian Stann vs. Jorge Santiago

Dundas: This is one of the more interesting matchups on the card, especially with rumors percolating that Stann could be handed the "TUF 14" coaching gig with a win. Santiago has done a nice job to reinvent himself in Japan during the last few years, but I'm seeing too much of Stann on the feet here.

Prediction: Stann by first-round TKO.

Helwani: Clearly, Stann's weakness is the ground game, but I don't think Santiago is a good enough wrestler to really outmuscle the former light heavyweight. I think Stann will be able to avoid Santiago's BJJ, keep the fight standing and finish the American Top Team member in the third round.

Prediction: Stann via third-round TKO.

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Who will win this welterweight battle?

Helwani and Dundas disagree.

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Thiago Alves vs. Rick Story

Dundas: Story is a wrestler who loves to bang. Alves? Well, he just loves to bang. If Story can avoid getting suckered into a kickboxing bout here, I think he has a shot to pull the upset. Use your takedowns, grind on Alves and try to throw heavy leather when you get him on his back. That's my unofficial game plan if Story - an emerging contender at 170-pounds - wants to take the all-important next step.

Prediction: Story by unanimous decision

Helwani: Story told me on Thursday that he believes Alves is mentally weak, however, I think he was referring to the old Thiago Alves. "The Pitbull" has learned to diet correctly, and while he has historically not fared well against wrestlers, I think his experience and superior striker will prove to be the difference here.

Prediction: Alves by unanimous decision.

Stefan Struve vs. Travis Browne:

Dundas: Honestly? This is probably a pick 'em. While it's easy to predict these two will come to slug it out, the harder part is prognosticating whether Struve (a self-admitted slow starter) will be able to weather an early storm from Browne (his last four wins are all first-round T/KOs). I think he can. After back-to-back wins to close out 2010, the "Skyscraper" might have too much momentum here.

Prediction: Struve by first-round submission.

Helwani: I was surprised to learn that Browne is the favorite in this fight. I do think he has the ability to be a major player in the UFC's heavyweight division, but Struve's technical striking and reach are hard to deal with. I'm expecting Browne's cardio to be better than it was against Cheick Kongo in England, but I just have a feeling that the Struve will finish him in the second round. Should be a fun fight.

Prediction: Struve by second-round TKO.

Roy Nelson vs. Frank Mir:

Dundas: Make no mistake, "Big Country's" got a good shot here. His heavy hands give him the ability to win this fight at any moment and his takedown defense and submission skills will make it interesting on the mat, too. In the grappling department, I still have to give the edge to Mir, however. Let's hope he was just joshing us when he implied prefight that he wants to get in Nelson's face and have a striking battle.

Prediction: Mir by third-round submission.

Helwani: This is the hardest fight to predict, in my opinion. Nelson has underrated ground skills, yet he doesn't like to use them very much these days. Mir is the more well-rounded MMA striker, and I think that will be the difference here. If Mir mixes things up on his feet, throwing kicks and knees, I see him winning this fight via decision.

Prediction: Mir by unanimous decision.

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Will it be Rampage or Hamill?

Once again, our experts disagree!

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Quinton Jackson vs. Matt Hamill:

Dundas: After a lot of talk that made us rightly question his dedication, Jackson righted the ship this week. He looks in shape and seems ready to go. Still, I think if Hamill can use his wrestling to take this fight into the second and third round, he might be able to wear the former champ down. Few are giving the "Ultimate Fighter" alum much of a chance here, but I guess count me among the dissenting opinions.

Prediction: Hamill by unanimous decision.

Helwani: Couldn't agree more with your assessment of Jackson. He seems to be in good shape, in a great mood and actually motivated to fight Hamill after. I guess a potential title shot on the line can do that for a fighter. And while I was always leaning towards "Rampage," now I am even more confident in my pick. Jackson is a better striker, who possesses underrated takedown defense. Hamill is obviously the better wrestler, but I think he is going to have a hard time taking Jackson down, and more importantly, keeping him there.

Prediction: Jackson via third-round KO.

Dundas' undercard picks:
Miguel Torres def. Demetrious Johnson
Tim Boetsch def. Kendall Grove
Gleison Tibau def. Rafaello Oliveira
Michael McDonald def. Chris Cariaso
Renan Barao def. Cole Escovedo

Helwani's undercard picks:
Miguel Torres def. Demetrious Johnson
Kendall Grove def. Tim Boetsch
Gleison Tibau def. Rafaello Oliveira
Michael McDonald def. Chris Cariaso
Renan Barao def. Cole Escovedo