The UFC has made a habit of putting together razor thin cards this year, and it finally came back to bite the promotion with the cancellation of UFC 151. Thanks to UFC 151’s demise, however, the cards following the cancelled event have grown stronger. Still, though, recently un-retired light heavyweight Matt Hamill will make his return against Vladimir Matyushenko on the main card. But does Hamill really deserve a spot on the main card?

After all, he is currently on a two-fight losing streak with his last fight being an absolute decimation at the hands of Alexander Gustafsson. Even before that, he lost a not-so-close fight to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.  And to top it off, both of those fights took place more than a year ago, with Hamill hanging up his gloves in August 2011 following the loss to Gustafsson.

Hamill just did not look like a top-tier light heavyweight in his last two fights. But on a card where the preliminary fights aren’t exactly pay-per-view gold, Hamill and Matyushenko slotting in on the main card makes perfect sense.

UFC 152 lacks drawing power in the preliminary fights, whereas Hamill, even a year into his retirement, still lingers as a significant name in the minds of fans. And Matyushenko, despite a 2-2 mark over his last four fights, also remains relevant enough in the eyes of fans to make this a great fight.

Meanwhile, the only fight on the prelims I want to see over this fight would be the return of Vinny Magalhaes to the UFC after all the hype he has built outside the promotion. The one problem with putting Magalhaes on the main card would be the fact that none of the mainstream “I just got into the sport” fans know of Magalhaes and his accomplishments outside of the Octagon. They likely have never heard of M-1 Global, so why would they pine for the return of a TUF alum that lost in the finals of the reality series and also dropped his only other Octagon appearance?

Those same fans might remember Hamill from his main event fight against Rampage or possibly that he is the only man to defeat Jon Jones, albeit by disqualification. And Hamill has fought either on free television or the main card since December 2008 at UFC 92.  His fans will be watching, hoping Hamill will come back and be better than ever, have a renewed sense of confidence and end the fight in some extraordinary way. With a weak prelim card in tow, that alone is enough to declare that Hamill does deserve the main card spot.

Outside of the main card, UFC 152 doesn’t really have any names that will catch the eye of those mainstream fans.  There are a few prospects, a couple of former borderline contenders and a few faces familiar to fans of The Ultimate Fighter, but those are hardly names that bring intrigue and prompt fans to shell out hard-earned cash.  Although Hamill’s best days are likely behind him and he has been away from the Octagon for more than a year, he still possesses a name that fans are used to seeing in a main card lineup and will accept as part of the pay-per-view billing.

And Hamill’s fight with Matyushenko is a proper compliment to a main card that is pretty stellar and contains a lot of the top-tier talents in four different weight classes. With Jon Jones moving into the Toronto event’s headlining attraction to defend his title against Vitor Belfort, and the UFC poised to crown its first-ever flyweight champion when Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson clash in the co-main event, not to mention an intriguing battle of middleweight contenders Brian Stann and Michael Bisping, nobody is expecting Hamill and Matyushenko to carry the show.  They are the supporting cast, and while they may not be the top talent at light heavyweight, they still will be entertaining to watch.

Photo: Matt Hamill (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.