The UFC returns for its second show in as many weeks on the brand new Fox Sports network and its first in the new Wednesday evening autumn slot. It’s the beginning of a busy stretch for the promotion, kicking off a schedule of three fights in just seven days.
Headlining the nights action is the intriguing welterweight rematch between former interim-title holder Carlos Condit and Denmark’s Martin Kampmann. The first meeting was a three round back and forth affair which Kampmann ended up winning in the end via a split decision. This fight is poised to be similarly close.
Despite coming into UFN27 holding a two-fight losing streak in recent times, Carlos Condit is still one of the most highly rated and ranked (#2 at 170 pounds) fighters in the UFC today. In truth, Condit didn’t lose much in his defeats to long-time champion Georges St-Pierre and current number one contender Johny Hendricks. He took both to a judges decisions and came as close to finishing St-Pierre as anyone has in years. Kampmann on the other hand is on the back of a stunning 46 second knockout loss to the aforementioned Hendricks which brought his three fight win streak to a shuddering halt. Wednesday is a chance for both men to get back on track.
Condit is a fast paced attacking fighter (apart from when he fights Nick Diaz) who has earned the moniker of “The Natural Born Killer” with twenty six of his twenty eight career victories coming inside the scheduled distance. Training under the famed Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn in New Mexico, Condit is as adept on the feet as he is on the ground. He attacks with a high volume of leg kicks and is a master of fighting off of his back and getting back to his feet when taken down, as he showed in the Hendricks fight when he came back to his feet from all twelve takedowns. On one hand that may be a good quality but on the other hand he got taken down twelve times. It shows a weakness in his Arsenal. Takedowns win fights and Kampmann will try to exploit that. Just as he did in every round of the first fight. Training out of Xtreme Couture under decorated striker Ray Sefo, Kampmann is no joke on the feet either, knocking out Jake Ellenberger recently with a vicious knee to the head.
The big thing going into this fight is the progression of Carlos Condit. He is not the same fighter that lost to Kampmann four and a half years ago, having improved in leaps and bounds in every aspect of his game since. This five rounder is going to be decided by who can dominate position. Condit needs to avoid the takedown, stay out of Kampmann’s punching range and pick him off. Kampmann needs to force those things not to happen. Whoever can do that wins the fight.
In the co-main event lightweights Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Rafael Dos Anjos throw down in a clash of Top-10 ranked contenders. This fight has a very similar feel to the main event. It’s a tall rangy striker from Team Jackson/Winkeljohn against a stocky ground specialist. Whenever Cerrone fights leg-kicks are always a big factor. Although they are effective they are also expected. RDA will look to grab onto one of those legs, take the fight down and use his elite jiu-jitsu against Cerrone. Dos Anjos is not a finisher, though, and over half of his fights have gone to a decision – a factor which will favour Cerrone who can finish the fight at any stage. “Cowboy” has devastating Muay-Thai and a tremendous attacking submission game having tapped thirteen of his twenty victims whilst only losing once himself via sub’. This fight really favours Cerrone but Dos Anjos has been known to eek out a decision in the past.
Also on the main card is the latest TUF champion, Kelvin Gastelum, who takes on the ultra-impressive Brian Melancon in what is both men’s second fight for the promotion. Gastelum returns to welterweight after defeating highly rated Uriah Hall in the middleweight TUF decider. Melancon is back in action just two months after his stunning knockout of Seth Baczynski. The undefeated Gastelum is an old fashioned pressure fighter who is strong in every area. He will try to control the pace from minute one. Melancon will try do the same. As Conor McGregor showed last week your second UFC fight can be a little tense when you’ve done so well in your first. This may be a case of who can perform better on the night will take home the win in this very evenly matched fight.
Even more former TUF champions are on show when season eleven champion Court McGee meets TUF:Smashes victor Robert Whittaker in the welterweight division. Whittaker showed in his last fight that he is more than capable of dealing with a wrestler when he dominated yet another TUF champion, Colton Smith. McGee though is a much bigger fighter (having recently dropped down from middleweight) and he will need to use this size and strength against the hard-hitting Australian. This one has fight of the night written all over it. Elsewhere on the main card Mexican sensation Erik Perez takes on Takeya Mizugaki in the toughest fight of his career to date after finishing his last three opponents inside the first round. That fight is preceded by the clash of TUF veterans Brad Tavares and Bubba McDaniel.
While on the undercard, watch out for the wonderful match up of Darren Elkins and Hatsu Hioki which will not disappoint, Dylan Andrews vs. Papi Abedi, Justin Edwards vs. Brad Thatch and another solid fight between James Head and the promising Jason High who is coming off of a devastating loss to Brazilian star Erick Silva. The facebook prelims kick off the night when Blackzilian monster Abel Trujilo takes on Roger Bowling followed by the civil war between Australians Zak Cumings and Benny Alloway.
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