After a strong performance on Wednesday, Jake Ellenberger emerged victorious with a win over the always tough Diego Sanchez. He might have the rulebook to thank for it, due to the match being scheduled for just three rounds. After a dominating first two rounds, Sanchez began to get comfortable, and was able to get Ellenberger to the ground late in the round. However, even with a few submission attempts and strong ground-and-pound, he was unable to finish “The Juggernaut”.
Afterwards, the judges all agreed, and Bruce Buffer announced the 29-28 score in favor of Ellenberger.
So, what now?
Earlier this month at UFC 143, Carlos Condit defeated Nick Diaz by decision to win the interim welterweight title. Because of just how closely contested the fight was, a rematch was discussed and likely would have taken place later this year. However, Diaz failed his post-fight drug test for marijuana, thus throwing that rematch out the window due to Diaz being suspended.
Now Condit will likely wait for welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre to return from a torn ACL. That means Condit will wait on the shelf until later this year, likely November.
Nine months. That means the Duggar family (famous for having 19 kids…and counting!) will likely have another child before we see the pair step foot in the Octagon.
This begs the question- what was the point of having the interim belt?
If Condit is only going to fight once during St. Pierre’s downtime, why have an interim belt at all? Why not just make him the number one contender with the win over Diaz, and at least not make the interim belt even more of a phony than it already is?
Or even better, do not label the fight with Condit and Diaz at all, and let the division sort itself out to determine who the proper contender for St. Pierre is for when he returns.
Now, with the win on Wednesday over Sanchez, Ellenberger is stuck. He is at least a year away from a title shot, if not more, depending on how St. Pierre’s recovery goes.
A fantastic rematch between Condit and Ellenberger is sitting in Dana White and Joe Silva’s lap, but instead they will just give us something else, just like Santa Claus at the mall.
Ellenberger, who fought nine times in 2005, does not have the benefit of waiting around. That does not get him anywhere, especially due to not being a number one contender. But, the one benefit of him fighting a few more fights this year is that he will get to fight in five-round matchups. He was visibly tired in the third round; something Sanchez was able to take advantage of. Now he can work on his fitness and gradually work his way up to being ready for that title shot whenever it is awarded to him.
Biggest winner: Stefan Struve
Before the fight, Struve stressed how much he just wants to continue growing in the cage. His maturity and growth may have never been more evident than on Wednesday against Dave Herman. After a slow first round, Struve picked his spots very well in the second round, eventually knocking Herman down with an uppercut. From there he was able to finish the fight.
A year ago, Struve might have grown impatient midway through the first round, perhaps putting him in trouble. At 23, he still has plenty of time to develop. After entering the Octagon for the tenth time, Struve might finally be on his way to reaching his potential.
Biggest loser: Dave Herman
Herman just had to know that scarf did not go well with that sweater.
Fashion mistakes aside, Herman’s lack of focus on his career might be catching up to him. The raw talent is evident, but for a guy that has never taken his career overly serious, he might have reached the peak of where natural skills can take him. After testing positive for marijuana prior to UFC 136, and not really confirming or denying it, and then his antics throughout the week, Herman might get a talking to from UFC brass before he gets cut.
And yes, Pee-Wee, that’s the word of the day.
Biggest question: Did anyone get to see the excellent debut on FUEL TV?
With an attendance of just over 6,000 in the Omaha Civic Auditorium, that still might be a larger audience than the amount of people that watched on television.
With just a few months between the signing with FOX late last year and the debut on FUEL TV, it would have been a good idea to have all cable events take place on FX in 2012, and then hold events on FUEL TV in 2013.
Instead, thousands of fans will be unable to watch multiple events throughout this year, as it is a much more difficult process to change cable providers or demand a channel than some people in the UFC believe.
Future matchups to make:
Jake Ellenberger vs. Johny Hendricks/Josh Koscheck winner:
I would love to put Ellenberger/Condit II here, and I think it might still happen. But for now, it sounds like Condit will wait for St. Pierre. Hendricks/Koscheck takes place in May at UFC on FOX 3. This will allow Ellenberger some time off, and put together an excellent matchup between “The Juggernaut” and the victor later this year.
Diego Sanchez vs. A return to lightweight:
After the fight, Sanchez discussed how tough it is to put on enough muscle in order to take on the stronger welterweights. While he did not like the cut to 155 pounds, Sanchez looked at his best in the division. Let him have some time to cut the weight, and let him return to his stronger division.
Stefan Struve vs. Mike Russow
Struve seems to be on the right track after hitting a few rough patches throughout his career. Russow has yet to see a rough patch, winning the first four fights of his UFC career. He deserves a tough test, something “The Skyscraper” would provide.
Ronny Markes vs. Ed Herman
Markes is a huge middleweight who made his debut at 185 pounds on Wednesday. That cut seemed evident at times, as the fight dragged at some point in every round. But with his size and skill, Markes poses a strong challenge to the entire division. Coming off of a win against Clifford Starks at UFC 143 earlier this month, Herman would test Markes both on the feet and on the ground.