Thursday, 16 February 2012

UFC on Fuel: Ellenberger vs Sanchez - Recap


This was the fight that could catapult Jake Ellenberger into title contention.  A sixth win in a row, against a big name like Sanchez, would surely put him in the mix.  As for Sanchez, he had some momentum himself having won his last two.  He came into the fight looking to steal some of Ellenberger's momentum for himself.  It was expected to be an exciting fight with Ellenberger pitting his power against Sanchez' energy and pace.


The Fight

For the first two rounds, it seemed like Diego Sanchez had lost some of that intensity and pep from his game but that might well have been due to the mastery of distance that Ellenberger showed.  During rounds one and two, Ellenberger managed to knock Sanchez down, cut him up and break his nose through a mixture of great counter punching and ground and pound.

Come round three, Sanchez seemed to realise urgency was needed and really found his way into the fight.  He managed to cut the face of Jake Ellenberger and smelled blood.  Ellenberger took him down but Sanchez showed great awareness to take his back and spent a good minute pounding on him.  Round three saw the Sanchez we know and Ellenberger was in serious danger of being finished.  Rounds one and two proved Ellenberger has much improved striking (although Kenny Florian's comparisons with Anderson Silva are a bit off the mark) and round three proved his incredible toughness.  In the end, Ellenberger won by unanimous decision.

What's Next?

Jake Ellenberger's future really depends on whether Carlos Condit decides to defend his belt rather than waiting for Georges Saint-Pierre to recovery from injury.  Should Condit need an opponent, Ellenberger would provide a great test and make a great fight.

Sanchez proved once again that his aggression, conditioning and heart guarantee great fights.  This latest derailment probably means his hopes of a title shot are all but over and he will be hanging around squarely in the middle of the division, a fighter the UFC can depend on to deliver.

Other Thoughts on UFC on Fuel

  • The fight between Ivan Menjivar and John Albert was incredible.  I was calling for the referee to stop the fight as Albert was landing repeated knees to the Canadian's head, as Menjivar could only crouch and cover up.  As it is, he showed inhuman recovery to regain his composure and sink in the rear naked choke finish.
  • Phil De Fries seemed to gain a bit false confidence in his striking as he clipped Miocic with a few nice shots.  Had he stuck to his strengths and tried to tie his opponent up he might well have lasted longer, but as it is he suffered a knockout loss to the heavy handed American.
  • While Stefan still looks pretty raw and reckless even after 28 career fights, he is certainly fun to watch.  Let's see if he can string together a bit of a run now.

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