"The Messenger" emerged with thunder, kicking off his career with nine straight stoppages which included a TKO of veteran Travis Wiuff and choking out current UFC heavyweight Aaron Rosa. Hamman would catch a flying knee in ShoXC against Poai Suganuma for his first career loss, but exact vengeance two fights later with a first round shellacking in the rematch.
Graduating to the Octagon, Hamman was taken out quickly by ascending Swede Alexander Gustafsson, but rebounded with a strong showing against Rodney Wallace, winning a decision. Next up was hulking wrestler Kyle Kingsbury, who doggedly pursued clinch takedowns and knifed punches through Hamman's guard en route to a decision victory.
If you haven't seen the Kingsbury scrap, don't write it off as your basic trample-job. It was Hamman's second straight "Fight of the Night" performance, he displayed shockingly technical takedown defense with slippery scrambling and hurled fireballs at Kingsbury for all three rounds, mounting a comeback and stealing the third.
Greeting Hamman in his first middleweight foray is another robust wrestler in C.B. Dollaway, who sprung from session seven of The Ultimate Fighter, falling to Amir Sadollah in the finals.
A state champion in high school and All American wrestler at Arizona State University, Dollaway has shown shades of brilliance with his submission grappling game. He hit the first Peruvian necktie in UFC history on fellow TUF cast member Jesse Taylor and tapped a crafty veteran in Joe Doerksen (thirty-three career submission wins) with a rolling guillotine that drew inspiration from Marcelo Garcia's elbow-lift style.
"The Doberman" has surged in increments, finishing Taylor and Mike Massenzio after the show but crying uncle to a Tom Lawlor choke, then tallying three straight (Jay Silva, Goran Reljic, Doerksen) before folding to Mark Munoz's rugged overhand.
Their fight styles are compared in the full entry.
Dollaway, like others with a rock-solid Judo or wrestling background, can get away with reckless stand up in regards to takedown defense.
However, this bonus does not apply to striking defense -- as we saw against Munoz, who blasted a haymaker through an opening in his guard. Dollaway's striking is adequate as an auxiliary function of his ground game, but probably not up to par in a straight shootout.
Most of his punches come a little wide and the kick thrown to the right is not unlike handing Doerksen his leg when it's not set up.
To the left is Dollaway's slick transition to the rolling guillotine on Doerksen.
While Dollaway hasn't necessarily made great strides with his stand up, adding the sharp edge of creative catches to his arsenal has made him dangerous anytime he's connected to his opponent.
The vacuum of his fierce control comes into play through his stiff ground-and-pound. He's not the type of wrestling aficionado that holds on for dear life, as he's usually actively seeking a better position, a spot to snake in a choke, or clobbering with strikes.
Jared Hamman doesn't have what I'd call fundamentally sound kickboxing skills.
He clips Rodney Wallace with a high kick to the right, which looks awkward because he unleashes it at close range, making the kick "taller" instead of "longer".
Most of Hamman's rapid-fire arsenal is like a roll of the dice, as he's completely committed to offense with scant attention dedicated to defending himself.
The style is somewhat akin to the old school Wanderlei Silva syndrome: sure, it might look sloppy and you can easily spot some holes to bore counter strikes through, but doing so means you have to march directly into his wheelhouse, and Hamman is quite capable and prepared to take a few in order to land a few of his own.
There's two things I love about Jared Hamman: his technical takedown defense, and the fact that he's kind of a lunatic.
Let's start with the latter. To the left, Hamman clocks Kingsbury with a wild looper, and then shows a little defensive porosity by digesting two nicely thrown punches. The strange aspect comes in when he executes a Scott Morris-like ninja guard pull.
I spent more time pondering his thought process behind that move than I'd care to admit. The good news is that throughout the rest of the fight Hamman's takedown defense was unshakably effective.
Replicating this sequence to the right consistently will be crucial against Dollaway.
Watch Hamman immediately slide his right hand inside Kingsbury's left arm to break the body lock, then he swims under with his left hand to control with the body lock and tries an inside trip of his own, kneeing Kingsbury in the face after he whizzers to defend.
Hamman tried to take Kingsbury down twice, and even though I'd wager he knew it wasn't happening, I love that he goes for it anyway. It just gives his opponent one more thing to watch out for.
Here we see another beautiful display of technique to keep the larger wrestler at bay.
Hamman immediately gets wrist control on Kingsbury's left arm when he's backed against the fence, peels the arm away and plants a sharp knee in his midsection.
This creates enough space to get his base underneath him, and he stands upright and transitions the wrist control to a twisting forearm that pegs Kingsbury in the head and causes him to disengage.
This is a perfect example of how clever Hamman is when defending clinch takedowns.
To put this in perspective, Kingsbury can't match Dollaway's wrestling credentials, but he's an athletic 6'4" light-heavyweight who has shown impressive takedown prowess. He struggled to get Hamman to the mat and experienced no success in the few instances he could.
Here Hamman once again uses his feisty offense to enable an escape.
The wrist control is a key factor in this example too, as it allows him to pass Kingsbury's right arm and threaten with the triangle attempt.
Kingsbury reacts by posturing up to break the triangle, and Hamman fluidly switches it up by taking the left leg off Kingsbury's shoulder and planting his foot square in his chest, heaving him backward and allowing him to stand back up and attack.
With nothing doing from the clinch, Kingsbury tries to shoot a double from outside (which is more Dollaway's style).
This is a ballsy move, but Hamman decides to go on all fours and scramble to the fence where Kingsbury can't drive any further, and spins to face him with a low base.
Again, he snakes an arm inside Kingsbury's grasp, uses the underhook to stand up, clears room with another knee to the body, and spins out of trouble.
The Dollaway vs. Hamman scrap bears a resemblance to Volkmann vs. Castillo in that the decorated wrestler will be looking to shoot from outside or clinch up and threaten with level drops while hunting for chokes, and their opponents will be slinging heavy leather backed by top-notch takedown defense.
A tight, crisp boxer with straight punches could pick Hamman apart standing, but I don't think Dollaway is there yet. C.B. also has a tendency to dip his head forward into the pocket while trading, which could be a nice target for a looping Hamman overhand or the snapping upward kick at close range.
Dollaway is a pretty strong favorite on the betting lines, which is hard to dispute. Hamman has all the tools to pull off the upset, along with a wild and unpredictable style to make for an exciting fight. Dollaway is definitely the safe pick, but Hamman is full of surprises and I wouldn't count him out.
My Prediction: C.B. Dollaway by decision