Hometown Hero Moves up the Ladder (UFC on Fuel TV Review)

After months of uncertainty in the welterweight division the UFC finally found some stability last week with Carlos Condit taking control at the top and waiting to untie the belts. With this stability at the top of the division the rest of the division begins to work themselves out. This included a key fight between Diego Sanchez and Jake Ellenberger. With the next title fight already set the other fighters look to get in line for the next shot and that is exactly what Sanchez and Ellenberger were trying to do in Omaha. Sanchez only recently made his return to the UFC welterweight division after spending some time as a lightweight. While at lightweight the Ultimate Fighter season 1 winner made his way to the top of the heap but could not get past BJ Penn to win the title. After his title shot Sanchez decided to enter into the welterweight division for the second time as he would try to make a run at the title. His chance to take a big step in this goal would be on Fuel TV against hometown hero Jake Ellenberger. Ellenberger seems to be on the fast track towards the welterweight title as he has won 5 straight fights. His last fight came against former Strikeforce champion and former #1 contender Jake Shields. This KO win has given Ellenberger a big name on his list that has moved him up the ladder. With the boost from the Shields fight Ellenberger got that much closer to a title shot and with Georges St. Pierre, Carlos Condit, and Nick Diaz fighting it out at the top Ellenberger is left to continue putting big names on his resume. He would try to do this against Diego Sanchez on Wednesday in his hometown as both fighters looked to get closer to a title shot in the welterweight division. The fight started with both fighters coming out strong and focused as they began swinging for the fences. After an initial explosion the fight settled down with Ellenberger and Sanchez feeling each other out and finding their range as they both showed bursts of energy in flurries of punches. With less than a minute left in the round Sanchez ate a big shot that seemed to have him really hurt but Ellenberger could not finish it off as Sanchez remained standing although visibly hurt going into the round break. Diego Sanchez seemed to shake the cobwebs out at the beginning of the second round as he continued to show bursts of attack but Ellenberger was able to counter all of Sanchez’s shots. With Sanchez frustrated he continued to push forward and Ellenberger was able to score a takedown. While in the guard Ellenberger landed some devastating elbows that opened Sanchez up even more than he was in the first round. The round ended with Ellenberger on top causing much more damage and looking to be on a mission to win the fight in front of his friends and family. The third round saw a lot of the same as Ellenberger was able to stay out of Diego’s range and counter the attack. The strategy seemed to pay off as Ellenberger continued to land some devastating counters breaking Sanchez’s nose. As Ellenberger got more confident Diego began to press more and looked to start bringing the momentum back to his side. Ellenberger tried to put a stop to this as he earned a takedown and looked to finish the fight on top. Then Sanchez reversed position and got Ellenberger’s back as he began throwing some big strikes from the back position. With less than 30 seconds left in the fight Ellenberger escaped and got to his feet allowing both fighters to end the fighting swinging widely with everything they had. The fight would go to the judges with both fighters bloodied and tired but only one would come out on top. In the end Jake Ellenberger earned the unanimous decision victory in front of his hometown crowd including family and friends. Diego Sanchez took the loss but again showed his toughness and his lack of quite with a comeback in the last round. Sanchez will likely be back in the welterweight division as he looks to take this loss as a speed bump in his title run. With the win Ellenberger continues his domination of the welterweight division and should begin to move up to the elite level of the division as he is a few fights away from a title shot. This fight could come sooner rather than later as Ellenberger could get a rematch of his only loss in the UFC against current interim champion Carlos Condit as Georges St. Pierre will be out for almost all of 2012 leaving Condit without a fight anytime soon.

Before the welterweights faced off two heavyweights went toe-to-toe for their shot at climbing up a rung on the heavyweight title. Stefan Struve and Dave Herman would face off in Omaha for their opportunity to make a name for themselves in the heavyweight division. Stefan Struve has already made this name but unfortunately has also gotten a reputation for being unable to crack the top of the division. Struve came out to a great start but has been unable to beat the best in the heavyweight division as he has failed to crack the elite level. He would try to begin another climb to the elite as he took on Dave Herman at UFC on Fuel TV. Herman was looking to make a name for himself after winning his UFC opener by KO against Jon Olav Einemo. Taking out Struve could propel Herman towards the top of the division as he looked to continue a climb towards the title in a young UFC career. The fight saw Herman and Struve come out both looking to stand and trade. The kicks were flying as both men exchanged a number of kicks to the body including one flying kick by Dave Herman that just missed Struve. Herman looked to be pushing for the KO a little more but both fighters ended the round on pretty even ground. The second round saw the fight go to the ground for the first time but it did not last long as Dave Herman was able to get out of a dangerous position. As both men began exchanging Struve took the advantage landing a big uppercut that dropped Herman. Struve then moved into the mount and continued to throw punches forcing the referee to stop the fight. The win gives Struve another notch on his belt as he continues to try to improve and enter the elite of the division. Herman took the loss but will be back with a young career at the very beginning in the UFC.

The bonuses for UFC on Fuel TV totaled $50,000 for every fighter involved in the best moments of the night. The “Submission of the Night” went to Ivan Menjivar for his Rear Naked Choke win over John Albert that was the only submission this night. The “Knockout of the Night” went to Stipe Miocic for his KO of British wrestler Phil de Fries. The “Fight of the Night” went to the main event as Diego Sanchez and Jake Ellenberger each got the bonus for their war that saw Ellenberger take the win with a Unanimous Decision.

 

Full Results:

Main Event:

Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger def. Diego “The Dream” Sanchez

(Unanimous Decision)

 

Main Card:

Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve def. Dave Herman

(TKO; Rd. 2)

 

Ronny Markes def. Aaron “A-Train” Simpson

(Split Decision)

 

Stipe Miocic def. Phil de Fries

(TKO; Rd. 1)

 

TJ Dillashaw def. Walel “The Gazelle” Watson

(Unanimous Decision)

 

Ivan Menjivar def. John “Prince” Albert

(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 1)

 

Undercard:

Jonathan Brookins def. Vagner “Ceara” Rocha

(KO; Rd. 1)

 

Justin Salas def. Anton Kuivanen

(Unanimous Decision)

 

Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means def. Bernardo “Trekko” Magalhaes

(Unanimous Decision)

 

Fight Cancelled:

Buddy Roberts vs. Sean Loeffler

– Sean Loeffler injured his ankle during warm-ups forcing him to withdraw

 

Upcoming Events:

UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson (February 25th; 10:00 pm)

– Tokyo, Japan (Saitama Super Arena)

– Main Event: Frankie “The Answer” Edgar vs. Benson “Smooth” Henderson [Lightweight Title]

– Notable: Rampage Jackson vs. Ryan “Darth” Bader

– Notable: Mark “Super Samoan” Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo

 

UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampann (March 2nd; 10:00 pm)

– Free Live on FX and Sportsnet

– Sydney, Australia (Allphones Arena)

– Main Event: Thiago “Pitbull” Alves vs. Martin “The Hitman” Kampann

– Notable: Joseph Benavidez vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani [Flyweight Tournament]

– Notable: Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson vs. Ian McCall [Flyweight Tournament]

 

UFC Sweden: Nogueira vs. Gustafsson (April 14th; 10:00 pm)

– Free Live on Fuel TV/Sportsnet

– Stockholm, Sweden (Ercsson Globe Arena)

– Main Event: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson

– Notable: Brian “All-American” Stann vs. Alessio “Legionarius” Sakara

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