Over the next three days, FiveOuncesOfPain.com will be releasing its preview and picks for UFC 96 on a match-by-match basis.
We will commence our special series with a look at the UFC 96 light heavyweight main card fight between two former amateur wrestling standouts.
Matt Hamill (5-2) vs. Mark Munoz (5-0)
A former NCAA wrestling champion in 1999 at 197 pounds while competing at Oklahoma State, Munoz is one of the brightest light heavyweight prospects in all of MMA.
Currently training under Urijah Faber out of Faber’s Ultimate Fitness gym in Sacramento, UFC 96 will mark the Filipino-American’s UFC debut.
Munoz is making the move to the Octagon after going 2-0 for Zuffa-owned World Extreme Cagefighting. As high as Munoz’s upside is though, one has to wonder if he might not have benefitted by the WEC keeping its 205 pound division in business for a little longer.
While he’s an amazing athlete, five fights as a pro is not an ideal amount to have when making your UFC debut. Fortunately, UFC Vice President of Talent Relations Joe Silva has found a great matchup for him in Hamill.
Hamill does a lot of the same things that Munoz does, except that Munoz does them better. Munoz also is a better tactical fighter and should have a signfiicant cardio advantage.
To be honest, I’m not quite sure where this fight will be contested but whether the majority of the bout takes place on the ground or on the mat, I see Munoz winning wherever the fight goes.
Final Prediction: Munoz via unanimous decision.