When the original main event of Saturday's UFC 130 card -- the anticipated third bout between lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and challenger Gray Maynard -- was scrapped due to both combatants falling victim to injury, it wasn't a tough decision to bump Quinton Jackson and Matt Hamill up to top billing.
At first blush, the bout might not seem to be worthy enough to be granted the largest letters on the marquee. However, the loquacious and somewhat controversial Jackson is on a mission to snatch back the light heavyweight crown he lost. Hamill is certainly one of the sport's most promising contenders and a win over Rampage would definitely put him in the conversation of challenging for Jon Jones' title in the very least.
Does Rampage's vast experience, coupled with his tremendous skillset, take him to the finish with his hand raised? Or will Hamill pull off what would amount to a reasonable upset?
Sherdog.com caught up with dozens of professional fighters and trainers from around the globe to gauge their opinions on the matchup. Here's how the pros picked Rampage-Hamill:
Jason Von Flue: Matt is tough and all, but Rampage has way too much experience for him. Rampage by brutal KO in the second round.
Ray Elbe: Rampage hits Hamill harder than Reggie Jackson with the bases loaded. Quinton by beatdown sometime in the third round, after he realizes the mortgage is due on the first of the month.
Ricardo Liborio: I can see Rampage winning by TKO.
Kultar Gill: Rampage will knock out Hamill, first round.
Enson Inoue: Rampage.
Benji Radach: I'm going to bet on Jackson! Aoowwww!
Jaime Fletcher: Zzzzzz to this fight, which is what's going to happen to Hamill at the end.
Sam Hoger: Rampage isn't "TUF" enough. Rampage is getting railed and I'm afraid Hamill will not hear Rampage's screams as he falls to defeat.
Tom Gavrilos: Hamill's going to stand with Rampage, constantly and predictably closing the gap, leaving too many opportunities for strikes. Rampage has great takedown defense and dynamite in both hands. If he does manage to take Rampage down, I'm not that confident that he will be able to keep him there. I think Rampage not only wins this one, but finishes it. Rampage by KO.
Jeff Monson: Rampage by decision.
Jorge Lopez: I think Rampage is going to knock out Hamill in the first round via death slam, followed by some Rampage ground-and-pound.
Jason Lambert: Rampage by TKO.
Yves Edwards: With Frankie and Gray both being injured and with how awesome their last fight was, I just want to crawl into a corner and rock myself to sleep. With Rampage and Hamill fighting, I don't care who wins.
Keith Berry: I think Rampage has a fire lit under his ass since the whole Rashad fight. I think he will get the better of the standup and get the TKO in Round 3. A motivated Rampage is a UFC champ.
Cesar Gracie: Rampage by explosiveness. Hamill is tough, but he will be outclassed standing. By the way: I caught a four-pound crappie today on a spinner bait. Can anyone challenge that? I didn't think so.
Javier Vazquez: This all depends on Rampage. If he took this fight seriously and comes in shape, he could stop Matt Hamill. If he doesn't, he could get upset by "The Hammer." I have a feeling on this one: I'm taking Hamill by split decision.
K.J. Noons: Rampage by left hook, as long as he's concentrating on fighting and not movies.
Patrick Cote: I'll pick Hamill. I think he will outwrestle Rampage and win by decision.
Nam Phan: I say Rampage by powerbomb!
Ron Foster: Hamill does have the style that can beat Rampage. I think Matt Hamill wins by decision.
Gabe Ruediger: Well, I'm sure Hamill's "breath stanks," as it seems all of Rampage's opponents have. Even with the breath, I think Hamill will outwrestle Rampage and win a decision.
Michael Guymon: Rampage by rampage. I think he has too strong of a takedown defense. Coupled with Quinton's power, I see Matt getting knocked out in the second or third round.
Mike Ciesnolevicz: I hope Hamill gets a takedown or two to make it interesting, but I see Rampage being able to neutralize the wrestling and land some hard hooks and uppercuts for a KO, first round.
Jason Dent: I'm going with Rampage on this one. I believe his takedown defense is good enough to stop Hamill and his boxing is better as well. Looks to be fun fight for the fans.
Tom Vaughn: Rampage outstrikes Hamill and stuffs takedown attempts all the way to a unanimous decision. Quinton Jackson by unanimous decision.
Scott Jorgensen: I'm gonna go with Hamill. I think he'll outwrestle Rampage and he's got a ton of heart. Although a good ol' fashion slugfest with a few big takedowns won't hurt nobody.
Rex Richards: I don't think that Hamill's wrestling will help him for this fight. Quinton is too big and strong for Hamill. I see a second-round TKO going Rampage's way. Probably going to be a nasty one.
Shamar Bailey: I'd love to see Rampage knock Hamill out. I'm a fan of both fighters but a Rampage fan for life. However, if Rampage is to get his arm raised, I think he will have to find a way to get off his back due to Hamill's takedowns, more than once.
Mike Constantino: I think that if Hamill can avoid the big punches of Rampage and weather the storm, he will beat him with wrestling and by pushing the pace. I have Hamill by decision.
Charlie Brenneman: I agree with Mike Constantino; he never steers me wrong. If he says Hamill will win by decision, Hamill will win by decision.
Jeremy Luchau: Looking forward to a KO performance from Rampage.
Roli Delgado: Hamill is just the type of guy to beat Quinton. He's a grinder and will move forward the whole time. I think Quinton has the physical tools but is going to get taken down and controlled. He just never seemed to develop anything past his boxing and good wrestling. Hamill will outwork him for a late TKO stoppage or unanimous decision.
Matt Pena: Quinton by KO. Hamill's only chance is to consistently get the takedown. I think Jackson's wrestling is just good enough to keep it on his feel long enough to knock Matt out. Although Hamill has improved over the years in the standup area, it's not even close to being effective against the big bangers in the UFC.
Matt Hamilton: Rampage by KO or decision.
Pros picking Rampage: 23
Pros picking Hamill: 9
No Pick: 2
Mike Sloan is a contributor to Sherdog.com. You can also contact Mike Sloan at www.facebook.com/mikesloan19.