In reading about the Hamill vs. Holman fight, my initial impression was the fight was pretty lackluster. Sherdog said their striking was god-awful and since Holman gassed so quickly, there really wasn't a whole lot of back-and-forth action. But maybe I'm missing something more important. Peep this from the Baltimore Sun:
Matt Hamill -- a Cincinnati native -- had the crowd on his side from the moment he entered the arena for his fight against Ohio State graduate Rex Holman. The fans clearly appreciated the efforts of Hamill who perseveres despite the handicap of being deaf. In fact, Hamill appears to embrace his deafness, accepting it for what it is, but not allowing it to define who he is. He showed that same toughness in the Octagon in his fight against Holman.I guess I'll have to see the striking for myself before I can say one way or the other. One source says its the worst they've ever seen, another says it's polished.
Though Hamill -- the former TUF 3 fighter -- came into the UFC with the reputation of being a strong wrestler, he showed in UFC 68 that he is becoming more and more comfortable on his feet. He looked very willing to stand up against Holman, but when he decided to take the fight to the ground, he did so effectively and finished the fight easily, throwing undefended punches while on Holman's back.
Hamill showed after the match that he has a great rapport with the fans, treating them to what has become a trademark whoop at the end of his interview with Joe Rogan. His charisma and his unique story as well as his development as a fighter have Hamill pushing his way up the ranks, on the verge of joining Rashad Evans, Keith Jardine, and Michael Bisping as TUF light heavyweights who appear to be an integral part of the future of that division in the UFC.
But wow, I guess Hamill - particularly in Ohio - can really garner fan support. I disagree that Hamill's close to joining the likes of Evans, Jardine or Bisping. Evans is on fire and has beaten serious competition, Bisping needs more fights but is way ahead of Hamill in the rankings, and Jardine is coming off a much bigger victory than Hamill. I'd say Hamill needs two more convincing victories over quality competition (and top ranked quality in one of them) before we can place him at the top of the division.
But to get this kind of write-up and such an outpouring of fan support indicates this guy could develop a real momentum behind his fighting career. I still have my doubts about him talent-wise, but maybe I should lighten up a little.