The 3rd of 5 preliminary card fights at UFC 150 in Denver takes place in the middleweight division. Jared Hamman (13-4 MMA, 2-3 UFC) and Dutchman Michael Kuiper (11-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) look to return to the win column after suffering respective losses in December and February. As is the common theme with these prelims, neither fighter is ranked in the SB Nation MMA Consensus Rankings.
Hamman is widely regarded for his wild and exciting striking battles and ability to absorb punishment. Kuiper was a standout on the European regional circuit but fell short in his promotional debut. Both men aren't afraid to trade shots so this has Fight of the Night potential written all over it. The FX broadcast airs live at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT before the PPV commences at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT.
How do these two stack up?
Hamman: 30 years old | 6'3" | 75" reach
Kuiper: 23 years old | 6'0" | 73" reach
What have these two done recently?
Hamman: L - Constantinos Philippou (KO) | W - C.B. Dollaway (TKO) | L - Kyle Kingsbury (UD)
Kuiper: L - Rafael Natal (UD) | W- Morris Cilfoni (TKO) | W - Clearence Noordzee (KO)
How did these two get here?
Hamman started his UFC career as a light-heavyweight, losing violently at the hands of Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 105. He picked up two Fight of the Night awards thereafter, beating Rodney Wallace but dropping a decision to Kyle Kingsbury. His move to middleweight paid off, surviving an early onslaught by C.B. Dollaway to pull off a TKO in the 2nd round at UFC on Versus 5 in August 2011. His reputation for an iron chin took a hit when Costa Philippou knocked him out with ease at UFC 140. Hamman's style is about as careless as anyone at middleweight, and it's his best asset and worst asset. With a 2-3 record another loss could see Hamman inch closer to the chopping block, but a win will assure him an extended stay as a fun gatekeeper.
Kuiper holds a black belt in judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and fought mostly in the Benelux region and Western, compiling a 10-0 record in the process. He got the call to fight in the UFC against Rafael Natal at UFC 143. Natal repeatedly took Kuiper down for two rounds, but Kuiper nearly pulled off a comeback KO in the 3rd after dropping the Brazilian with a right hand. It wasn't enough, though, as Natal survived and won a decision. He gave a good account of himself and is definitely one to watch for at just 23 years old.
Why should you care?
Hamman is incredibly reckless but very fun to watch. Kuiper is a BJJ black-belt, but he has favored his good striking power, so a potential slobberknocker could be in the cards.
More UFC 150 coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.