UFC Fight Night ‘Condit v. Kampmann 2’ Main Card Breakdown

August 27, 2013

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UFC Fight Night ‘Condit v. Kampmann 2’ Main Card Breakdown



Alexander Lee – “UFC Fight Night: Condit v. Kampmann 2” airs on Wednesday, August 28.  Preliminaries will be broadcast on Facebook starting at 5 PM (EST).  Coverage will continue on Sportsnet 360, with televised preliminaries beginning at 6 PM (EST) and the main card airing at 8 PM (EST).

 

Middleweight Bout: Brad Tavares (5-1 UFC, 10-1) v. Robert McDaniel (1-0 UFC, 21-6)

With all the chaos atop the division, getting noticed at middleweight isn’t easy.  Just ask Tavares, who has won five of his six appearances in the octagon and never been given a shot at the main card until now.  By any measure, he should be a top twenty middleweight.  Unfortunately, the majority of matches have gone to a decision, which makes him a hard sell to the casual fan especially when those matches have been moderately paced bouts and not mindless slugfests.

Even more unfortunate, “Bubba” McDaniel is not the first name that comes to mind when searching for a signature win.  Bubba was a standout on The Ultimate Fighter 17, even if it was for the wrong reasons.  Most of the time, he was depicted as a complaining and crying individually who was gradually having a mental breakdown.  Suffice to say, reality television might not have been the best showcase for his talents.

Bubba has long been one of those “why hasn’t this guy made it” guys.  Even Jon Jones said that Bubba doesn’t know how good Bubba can be.  Tavares can’t overlook him despite the stark contrast in their UFC records.  If he wins here, there will be no denying him a top shelf opponent.

Bantamweight Bout: Takeya Mizugaki (4-2 UFC, 17-7-2) v. Erik Perez (3-0 UFC, 13-4)

For all the time Dana White has spent criticizing Greg Jackson’s camp, he certainly owes them a lot.  Two of his most reliable PPV draws, Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones, are Jackson guys and there’s a chance Perez could follow in their footsteps.  White has long coveted the Mexican audience that grew up on boxing.  Winning over that fan base would not only generate massive revenue, but credibility.  Perez was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico and he turns 24 in November.

Mizugaki, a one-time WEC title challenger, presents the stiffest test of Perez’ burgeoning career.  He has a wealth of experience and he is incredibly tough to finish.  The last time he didn’t go the distance was when he was choked unconscious by Urijah Faber back in November 2010.  Faber was part of a murderer’s row of 135ers that Mizugaki faced in his WEC tenure, including Miguel Torres, Jeff Curran, Scott Jorgensen, Rani Yahya and Brian Bowles.  Perez has yet to face anyone near that skill level.

What Perez has done is annihilate everyone the UFC has matched him up with so far.  None of his first three opponents (including a controversial submission of John Albert) made it out of the first round.  Free cards like this were designed to grant exposure to talents like Perez.  Now all he has to do is beat one of the toughest bantamweights in the world.

Welterweight Bout: Court McGee (4-2 UFC, 14-4) v. Robert Whittaker (2-0 UFC, 11-2)

Whittaker is flat out nasty.  He has a gift for maintaining control and pacing himself while also throwing everything hard.  In winning the TUF: The Smashes final, he outlasted Brit Brad Scott, an opponent who was expected to take him into deep waters where Whittaker would flounder.  Instead, Whittaker just kept coming and coming until it was Scott who was unable to keep up.

McGee is also a TUF winner, having taken the TUF 11 crown in a convoluted season (both McGee and runner-up Kris McCray actually lost in the tournament, but were selected as replacements when other finalists fell to injuries.)  His story of redemption and survival after a battle with heroin addiction was a rallying cry for the fighter.  He was victorious in his first three UFC appearances before close losses to Costa Philippou and Nick Ring prompted him to make the cut to 170.  He defeated Josh Neer in his welterweight debut.

This will be the second straight TUF champion that Whittaker has faced.  He beat season 16 winner Colton Smith via TKO in May.  McGee’s superior boxing should give him the advantage here, but he’s never faced a striker as creative as Whittaker.  As tired as some folks are of the TUF program, as long as it continues to churn out prospects like McGee and Whittaker it will continue to exist.

Welterweight Bout: Kelvin Gastelum (1-0 UFC, 6-0) v. Brian Melancon (1-0 UFC, 7-2)

In defeating Uriah Hall, Gastelum stole his thunder and suddenly he became the “can’t miss” prospect.  Perhaps Gastelum should have been the one getting the attention all along.  Like Hall, Gastelum finished all of his TUF 17 opposition.  Unlike Hall, he isn’t a total head case.  As the youngest American TUF participant (TUF: The SmashesPatrick Iodice was just 19 years old), not much was expected.  He displayed a combination of effort and athleticism that was hard to beat, culminating in a split decision victory over Hall in the TUF 17 final.  Immediately dropping to 170, Gastelum had hoped to make an immediate splash against UFC vet Paulo Thiago.  Thiago suffered a knee injury and was replaced by Melancon.

Melancon knows all about coming out of nowhere and making a splash.  A carry-over from the Strikeforce acquisition, Melancon was expected to go quietly against Seth Baczynski, who had a glossy 4-2 UFC record.  Instead, he came out roaring and KO’d Baczynski in the dying moments of the opening round.  His heavy hands can catch you at any moment, so Gastelum will need to be at the top of his game if he wants to avoid losing in his first post-TUF assignment.

Lightweight Bout: Donald Cerrone (7-2 UFC, 20-5 [1 NC]) v. Rafael dos Anjos (8-4 UFC, 19-6)

There is no such thing as an easy fight in the upper echelon of the lightweight division.  Along with the main event, this is one of the most difficult fights to predict.  With the massive success both men have had over the last four years, it was only a matter of time until they crossed paths.  One factor that makes this match such a toss-up is how Cerrone and dos Anjos have rounded out their games so thoroughly.

Cerrone has always been a strong kickboxer, but he had never finished anyone with strikes until defeating Charles Oliveira in August 2011.  A year later, he would do the same to his buddy Melvin Guillard, one of the most violent knockouts in recent memory (the lesson: don’t be friends with Donald Cerrone).  His UFC career has been littered with memorable stand-up battles, complimented by his nose for submissions when the fight goes to the ground.

The ground is an area that dos Anjos is more than comfortable with.  A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt of the Carlos Gracie lineage, dos Anjos wowed crowds with his sick submission skills on his way to becoming an intriguing talent in the UFC.  It wasn’t until a flash knockout of George Sotiropoulos that people began to realize how far his striking had come along.  His last three opponents couldn’t come from a more varied palette: there was an expert striker (Anthony Njokuani), an expert grappler (Mark Bocek) and a Jack of all trades (Evan Dunham).  Dos Anjos adapted and won decisions against all of them.

If you’re a betting man, this is a STAY AWAY fight.  There’s no way to predict how the action will play out and you’re likely to suffer through an agonizing split decision call.  Save yourself the trouble and just sit back and appreciate what could be the best fight of the night.

Welterweight Bout: Carlos Condit (5-3 UFC, 28-7) v. Martin Kampmann (11-5 UFC, 20-6)

This main event feels surprisingly fresh considering it’s a rematch from April 2009.  That speaks volumes to the achievements these two have had since then.  Condit was able to make claim to an interim title, while Kampmann came up just short in two title eliminators.  The Dane has notable victories over Rick Story, Thiago Alves, Jake Ellenberger and, of course, Condit himself.

Since that loss, Condit has become a more cerebral fighter.  It’s tough to say how much of an advantage this gives him against Kampmann, since their first meeting was already a split decision that could have gone either way.  Condit was a wild man in that one, almost more aggressive on his back than he was on his feet.  Elbows from the bottom and spirited submission attempts weren’t enough to overcome Kampmann’s timely takedowns.  All signs indicate that Condit’s maturation and top notch preparation should give him the advantage this time.

Kampmann returns after some much needed downtime to recover from the worst loss of his career at the hands of Johny Hendricks.  He’s admitted that he’s a slow starter, a weakness that has cost him dearly in four career losses via KO/TKO (including one cut stoppage).  It’s hard to blame him when you see that he needs time to set up his diverse game.  He can pick you apart with his striking, neutralize you with top control or choke you out depending on what mistake you make.

One major difference is that this will be a five round fight, something Condit has much more experience with than Kampmann.  Since March 2007, Condit has been in six twenty-five minute contests, with two going the distance (and one other fight, a TKO victory over Hiromitsu Miura going deep into the fifth).  Kampmann has zero in that same span.  He’s not the type to fade late, but you have to wonder what effect two extra rounds might have on him.  Beating a fighter as good as Condit is a Herculean effort.  Can Kampmann find a way to do it twice?

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