UFC Fight Night 30 Date: October 26, 2013 Arena: Phones4u Arena City: Manchester, England Lightweight bout: Al Iaquinta (-145) vs Piotr Hallmann (+125) Fight Breakdown: The UFC Fight Night 30 preliminary card on FOX Sports 2 features a sure to be exciting war between rising prospects in the lightweight division as The Ultimate Fighter season 15 finalist Al Iaquinta steps inside the cage against Poland’s Piotr Hallmann. Iaquinta is currently the favorite in this match-up at -145 ($145 to win $100), with the kickback on the underdog Hallmann being +125 ($100 to win $125) at Several Bookmakerss. AL IAQUINTA (6-2-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) is making a quick turnaround return to the Octagon after a dominant unanimous decision win over Ryan Couture at UFC 164 less than two months ago. He was very impressive in notching his first UFC win, as he used his superior striking and solid takedown defense to keep the fight standing and outstrike Couture. It was a perfect way to bounce back from his loss to Michael Chiesa at the Ultimate Fighter 15 finale. Iaquinta is a great striker with exceptional Muay Thai skills. His skills on the ground are exceptional, as well, as he owns a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Matt Serra. Iaquinta is a Long Island, N.Y.-based fighter, training out of the Serra-Longo fight team. He is a training partner of current UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman, so we know he works with the absolute best on a daily basis. Iaquinta is a technical striker who prefers to stay calm and collected, rather than engaging in a brawl. He has good footwork and moves well around the cage. He likes to move around, but also move forward a lot. He puts the pressure on his opponents and doesn’t stop. He hits hard and he hits often. The 26-year old has excellent conditioning and is capable of going all three rounds without breaking a sweat. PIOTR HALLMANN (14-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) makes a quick turnaround after a second round crowd-silencing comeback submission victory over Francisco Trinaldo at UFC Fight Night 27 less than two months ago. He is stepping in on short notice, replacing an injured Anthony Njokuani, and is planning on getting his second upset in under two months. Hallmann is a well-conditioned athlete who has good footwork and solid striking skills. He has a good Muay-Thai clinch, in which he delivers devastating knees to the body of his opponents. He likes to close the distance and deliver powerful short shots. “Pletwal” has a good chin, regardless of having been dropping several times throughout his fighting career. He has excellent recovery, as was evident in his promotional debut against Trinaldo. Hallmann is a talented grappler, being well-versed in wrestling and submissions. He works good takedowns, preferring to get opponents to the mat and get in top position, from which point he loves to put on a vicious ground and pound attack. Hallmann has heavy hands and does serious damage in the ground and pound, as he is very strong from the top position. He is also strong enough to pull off “strong man” submissions, such as the Kimura he got Trinaldo with. The 26-year old is undoubtedly a finisher, as seven of his fourteen career victories come by way of TKO/KO and six by submission, five by rear naked choke and one by Kimura. He does not necessarily look for submissions, he just beats his opponents up until they give something up, at which point he takes advantage of the opening and secures a tap. Hallmann is a well-conditioned athlete, but unlike in his last bout, he will not have an advantage in that department against his opponent. Fight Prediction: I anticipate this to be a close and exciting war, with both fighters having their moments. They are both tough and with a lot of heart. Despite being finished by Chiesa, Iaquinta is generally a hard man to finish. More often than not, I see this fight going the distance, despite both fighters being heavy hitters who are also well-versed in the submission game. Gabe’s Pick: Piotr Hallmann by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Piotr Hallmann +125 moderate, Hallmann by Dec +352 small, and keep an eye out for Hallmann by Split Dec at huge dog odds for another small play.