Most Underrated Fights in UFC History
Martin Kampmann (left) with Diego Sanchez/ photo cred: Ken Pishna for MMAWeekly.com
Often times in the world of mixed martial arts, it's those main event tilts that live up the hype are often the ones that get remembered.
Pivotal battles that pit rivals and champions versus notable contenders are the kind of fights that garner the most praise.
With so many events having come and gone through the UFC, some matches have gone unnoticed and have failed to cultivate the same kind of attention that they rightfully should.
Martin Kampmann (left) with Diego Sanchez/photo cred: Ken Pishna for MMAWeekly.com
UFN 19: Carlos Condit vs. Jake Ellenberger
Jake Ellenberger blasting Carlos Condit/cred: Dave Mandel for Sherdog.com
In his organizational debut, Jake Ellenberger was given the tall task of facing one of the best fighters in the welterweight division in Carlos Condit.
The former WEC champion was largely unaware of who Ellenberger was before the bout, though "The Juggernaut" gave Condit plenty of reason to remember him when the Omaha native dropped Condit several times in the opening round, courtesy of hard right hands.
The end seemed imminent, though Condit survived by using his conditioning and well-rounded skills to edge Ellenberger in the later rounds in a contentious split decision.
UFC 135: Mark Hunt vs. Ben Rothwell
Mark Hunt/ photo cred: Jeff Cain for MMAWeekly.com
A heavyweight collision rocked the Pepsi Center in Denver last September as Pride veteran Mark Hunt took on the towering Ben Rothwell.
"Big Ben" was able to use his size and superior grappling skills early against Hunt, though the former K-1 World Grand Prix champ was able to get back to his feet, where he tagged Rothwell with hard combinations that have put down lesser men in the past.
The story of the bout became Hunt's ability to scramble from bottom, even scoring his own takedowns over the course of the next few rounds. In the end, Hunt's tenacious nature and stark improvements in this grappling skills had been the difference maker, as the American Top Team fighter took home the decision win.
UFC on Versus 3: Diego Sanchez vs. Martin Kampmann
Kampmann (left) with Sanchez/ photo cred: Ken Pishna, MMAWeekly.com
In a welterweight clash, former contenders Diego Sanchez and Martin Kampmann were looking to get their careers back on track with an impressive performance.
The fight was already a shoo-in for "Fight of the Night" honors; however, the fight exceeded its own expectations.
Kampmann was able to stagger Sanchez early with hard shots down the pipe, with "The Dream" suffering several lacerations on his face.
Sanchez was crimson all over, though the Greg Jackson-trained fighter fought through his injuries and made the fight interesting in later rounds, wading in with hooks against the fence and rocking "The Hitman" before taking him to the canvas.
The high-energy battle concluded with both men embracing and Sanchez visibly worse for the wear. Despite the obvious injuries induced, Sanchez took the decision while both earned their "Fight of the Night" bonus.
UFC 36: Pedro Rizzo vs. Andrei Arlovski
Andrei Arlovski/ photo cred: Ken Pishna for MMAWeekly.com
In just his third outing with the UFC, Andrei Arlovski was given the tall task of facing the world renowned Pedro Rizzo.
The two touted strikers went toe-to-toe for the entire bout, with Arlovski working in his leg kicks and quick strikes, while Rizzo lunged forward with his long jabs and straights.
Both men, in spurts, got the best of each other, though the Brazilian sealed the deal when he was able to connect on a right hook in the final stanza, sending the Belarussian to the canvas, knocked out before he hit the deck.
UFC 75: Marcus Davis vs. Paul Taylor
Marcus Davis/ photo cred: Jeff Cain for MMAWeekly.com
After notching up a four-fight win streak inside the Octagon, Davis was pitted against UFC newbie Paul Taylor. Though Davis hailed from a professional boxing background, "The Irish Hand Grenade" was leveled with a high kick to the jaw.
Taylor waded in and looked to secure the knockout finish, which seemed imminent.
Wobbled, Davis began to collect himself and was astute enough to take advantage of an overzealous Taylor, cinching in a tight armbar. After struggling momentarily, Taylor had no choice but to tap.
Davis took home "Submission of the Night" for his come-from-behind victory while both he and Taylor earned "Fight of the Night" for their one-round thriller.
UFC 121: Diego Sanchez vs. Paulo Thiago
Sanchez (top) punching Paulo Thiago/ photo cred: Scott Petersen for MMAWeekly.com
Some people don't respond well to pressure, especially when their back is against the wall.
Diego Sanchez is not one of those people.
The former title challenger was on the heels of a career-worse two-fight losing streak, dropping bouts to BJ Penn and John Hathaway in succession.
In his way was heavy-hitting Brazilian Paulo Thiago at UFC 121. "The Dream" had a rough go around in the first, with Thiago rocking and dropping him early, though the Greg Jackson-trained fighter came alive in the later rounds.
As Sanchez's conditioning and pace began to wilt Thiago, The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 winner was able to take the mount several times and whale away on his opponent. In the end, Sanchez took home the impressive decision win in an upset performance.
UFC 87: Demian Maia vs. Jason MacDonald
Demian Maia atop Jason MacDonald/ photo cred: Ken Pishna for MMAWeekly.com
In a middleweight bout, submission whiz Demian Maia was pitted against the always-tough Jason MacDonald.
"The Athlete" was in another league when grappling with Maia, though with pure tenacity and vigor, MacDonald made for some exciting exchanges on the mat, taking guard and pounding away with some telling blows.
Eventually, Maia was able to catch the wily fighter in the third period with a rear-naked choke, finally eliciting the tap that earned the Brazilian "Submission of the Night" for his efforts.
UFC 67: Frankie Edgar vs. Tyson Griffin
Frankie Edgar (left) with Tyson Griffin/ photo cred: MMAWeekly.com
In his lightweight debut, Frankie Edgar was given the tall task of taking on the talented Tyson Griffin.
The Xtreme Couture product had already made an impressive debut inside the Octagon, deftly submitting David Lee in his initial outing, though Edgar proved to be much more formidable.
The New Jersey fighter was able to use his speed and boxing prowess to edge Griffin early, though the Las Vegas transplant was able to cinch a late rally knee bar in the third before time ran out on what was likely a game-changer in the fight.
Edgar won by decision, though both fighters were praised for their rollicking bout.
UFC 17: Pete Williams vs. Mark Coleman
Mark Coleman/ photo cred: Scott Petersen for MMAWeekly.com
Mark Coleman was freshly removed from a title loss against Maurice Smith.
The once-beaten powerhouse wrestler was looking to get back to his winning ways when he took on young up-and-comer Pete Williams.
The Lion's Den fighter took Coleman into the overtime round, where he was able to set up the visibly fatigued Coleman with a highlight-reel kick to the face, sending the Hammer House fighter reeling to the canvas and leading Williams to be declared the winner by KO—the first headkick knockout in the organization's history.
UFC 130: Miguel Torres vs. Demetrious Johnson
Torres (left) with Johnson/cred: Scott Petersen for MMAWeekly.com
In a No. 1 contender battle in the bantamweight class, Miguel Torres and Demetrious Johnson met in a highly anticipated contest.
A wrestler by trade, Johnson was able to work the lanky Torres to the canvas, though the grappling prowess of Torres kicked in as the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt went for submission after submission.
Johnson was kept on his toes on the ground, though he managed to stave off all attempts. The action was fast paced and dramatic throughout, though Johnson won the bout by controversial decision.