Click below for Michael DiSanto's recap of Thursday's UFC Live 3 event in Louisville...
KAMPMANN-SANCHEZ WAS ONE HECK OF A SCRAP…AND A SERIOUSLY LUCRATIVE ONE, TOO
Sometimes fights are so good that it really doesn’t matter to me who won or lost. The first fight between Forrest Griffin versus Stephan Bonnar qualified as that type of fight. So did Diego Sanchez versus Clay Guida. Bonnar versus Krzysztof Soszynski and Sam Stout versus Jeremy Stephens also come to mind.
Diego Sanchez versus Martin Kampmann definitely qualified as a fight for the ages, one that will certainly end up on my good friend Thomas Gerbasi’s “Highly Unofficial Fight of the Year Award” list. Remember those words. It will happen.
UFC President Dana White was pretty darn impressed, too. So much so that he chose the bout as the “Fight of the Night,” which resulted in a $60,000 bonus check for each man. A short time later, White reconsidered and decided to up the ante…by a cool $100,000 each. Yes, you read that correctly. Each guy was given a $160,000 “thank you” from the big man himself.
If that doesn’t encourage other fighters to throw caution to the wind and just scrap, like Sanchez and Kampmann did, I don’t know what will.
IS KAMPMANN OUR SPORT’S RODNEY DANGERFIELD?
For the second time in six months, Kampmann suffered a crowd-inciting loss. It all started when he dropped a disputed split decision to a gassed Jake Shields at UFC 121. Many, if not most, of the fans in attendance at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California verbalized their displeasure when ring announcer Bruce Buffer read the results.
Those complaints were ten times as loud on Thursday night when Buffer once again announced that the judges had sided against the “Hitman.” This time, though, the judges were unanimous in their choice. The sounds flowing through the KFC Yum! Center suggested that the fans were unanimous in their choice, as well.
Regardless of the displeasure of those in attendance, the fact remains that Kampmann has now dropped consecutive fights for the first time in his career. It is also the third razor-close result in his last six bouts. Kampmann is one of the more well rounded fighters in the division, but for some reason, his recent performances haven’t resonated with the judges. I’m not sure why, either.
This guy is rapidly becoming the UFC’s Rodney Dangerfield, because the judges just aren’t giving him any respect.
There is little doubt that he inflicted more damage than Sanchez. He also dictated where the fight unfolded, defending a more than a dozen takedown attempts before Sanchez finally succeeded in the final round. He got himself into trouble when he stood and slugged away with a guy who had no other way to find success on the feet. Had Kampmann remained committed to a stick-and-move game plan, he would have won going away.
But, alas, he allowed Sanchez to goad him into a slugfest and suffered a loss as a result.
DÉJÀ VU FOR BOWLES
Brian Bowles was fighting more than just Damacio Page on Thursday night. He was also fighting a much scarier foe—that little green monster named “Doubt.” Not that Page isn’t a scary opponent. The little fella can bring it with his fists like few others in his weight class. But nothing is more intimidating than fighting one’s own doubt.
Coming off a bad beating for the first loss of his professional career had to cause Bowles to question himself. It is only natural for a man to have a few questions lingering in the back of his mind when that happens.
Toss in the longest layoff of his career and it is enough to add paralyzing stress to even the most confident fighters. Some guys never recover from that combination. Bowles isn’t among those.
The former bantamweight champion seemed a little tentative at the opening bell. Once he got popped in the chops, that all changed. The autopilot switch kicked in and he was all fighter. If there were any demons following him into the Octagon, they were exorcised within the first minute of the fight, as Bowles reverted back to his championship form.
It was fitting that Bowles won by guillotine choke at the 3:30 mark of the first round. It was an exact replica of his August 2008 result against Page. Déjà vu. If that isn’t some sort of sign that Bowles is back to his old form, I don’t know what is.
Watch out Dominick Cruz. Something tells me that Bowles is coming.
MUNOZ QUIETLY CREEPS INTO CONTENTION
Mark Munoz has been flying under the radar so far in his UFC career. He doesn’t reside on anyone’s Top 10 list. He doesn’t always make it onto the main card. And he isn’t the biggest talker in the sport, so he hasn’t gotten a lot of media coverage until recently.
But he wins, and he wins a lot.
His 54-second knockout win over C.B. Dollaway improved his middleweight record to an impressive 5-1. There aren’t many middies that boast a better record over their last six. His lone loss during that stretch was a disputed decision to perennial top contender Yushin Okami.
This guy is silently screaming for another shot against a fellow contender. Yes, I said it. Munoz is a legitimate top contender at 185 pounds. I wouldn’t be surprised to see “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” fight his way into a title eliminator by the end of the year.