(‘Okay, quit messing around now. Where’s the rest of my paycheck?’)
Give the UFC credit, they can spot a nascent, kind-of-but-not-really grudge match in the making a mile away. MMA Madness reports that Matt Hamill will meet Brandon Vera at UFC 101 in Philadelphia to see who has the chops to make it in the light heavyweight division and who will end up on the receiving end of an assholish celebration.
As you probably recall, Hamill head-kicked Vera’s friend and training partner, Mark Munoz, into a briefly frightening unconscious state, then paraded around the Octagon like he’d just hit a walk-off homerun in the last World Series game ever. Hamill would later explain the celebration by pointing out that a) he’s deaf, so vibrations from an excited crowd get him really pumped, and b) he doesn’t head kick that many people, and this one was pretty sweet.
Vera said he completely understood the celebration and even defended it while still acknowledging that he was pissed off about seeing Hamill taking victory laps while his friend was getting fitted for a neck brace. Now it looks like “The Truth” will get his chance to exact some measure of revenge, while also getting another opportunity to prove that he’s no longer the overpaid, underperforming disappointment he had become.
Honestly, this fight makes good sense. Not only is there a little bit of a personal storyline here (okay, a very little bit), it’s also a good eliminator match to see who might really have the potential to climb the ranks at 205 and who’s just a gatekeeper.
As much as Hamill likes to fancy himself a striker these days, he had better rediscover his roots as a wrestler against Vera. After seeing Vera absolutely punish Mike Patt with leg kicks, it doesn’t seem like a good idea for Hamill to try and win this on his kickboxing skills alone.