Who's the Better Wrestler: Mark Munoz or Matt Hamill?

Munoz_mediumFor my money it's probably Munoz, although how he's able to use it in MMA is still very much an open question. Unlike football or basketball, there are strong wrestlers and programs all the way from Division I to junior college, but I do not believe Hamill had to defeat the same caliber of opposition Munoz did to snag the Div. I national title. Others seem confident Munoz will manhandle Hamill come Saturday night:

Fellow northern California high school wrestler Rick Randolph was three years ahead of Munoz in high school, took seventh in state and knows the name from way back. Randolph, who is gunning for the Gladiator Challenge heavyweight belt the same night Munoz battles Hamill, had high praise for the 2001 NCAA champ as well. He believes the much-hyped "wrestler versus wrestler" angle of the Hamill-Munoz matchup won’t turn out to be as competitive as many think.

"He’s just a dominant, dominant guy," Randolph said. "Mark Munoz is an NCAA national champion. That’s not good (for Hamill). Mark Munoz is a ridiculous wrestler. It’s not even in the same category. That’s essentially where he’s at. Hamill’s good, but the wrestling is not gonna be an issue. The wrestling will be dominated by Munoz. When you go with a guy at that level, it’s like, ‘How did you dominate me?’"

If you're a Hamill fan, you'll recall he dispatched another Division I national champion in Rex Holman, but Holman was significantly older and had not trained or developed with the same caliber of opposition. Hamill may have a relatively narrow offensive capability compared to other light heavyweights, but he also has more MMA experience and a far more usable boxing arsenal than Munoz (I've yet to see Munoz demonstrate any comfort in the standing realm).

Munoz's reassignment to the UFC and his now first match-up against Hamill isn't making heavy rotations within the media, but I expect the competitiveness of this match-up to make its mark on the UFC 96 broadcast. This one is a sleeper.

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