TUF Live Finale: Jake Ellenberger vs. Martin Kampmann Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Riding an extremely impressive six-fight winning streak, Jake Ellenberger will look to take one step closer to a welterweight title shot at this Friday's TUF Finale, where he will meet Martin Kampmann in the co-main event.
In his past two fights, Ellenberger has defeated former title contenders Diego Sanchez and Jake Shields. Also, in his past 11 appearances, Ellenberger has only been defeated by interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit.
Meanwhile, Kampmann has won two straight since suffering controversial losses to Sanchez and Shields. In his most recent fight, Kampmann secured a miraculous guillotine choke and submitted Thiago Alves in the final minute of a bout he likely would have lost on the scorecards.
Less than a week away from this important welterweight matchup, let's take a look at whether Ellenberger will make an argument for a title shot, or if Kampmann will steal his opponent's thunder and become one of the top 170-pound contenders.
With 17 knockout wins on his resume, former collegiate wrestler Jake Ellenberger has become just as dangerous on his feet as he is on the ground. In September, Ellenberger became the first fighter to stop Jake Shields in over a decade.
Martin Kampmann may be the more technical striker in this matchup, but he has a tendency to get hit by powerful punchers like Ellenberger. Diego Sanchez, who Ellenberger last defeated, was able to land a number of solid shots on Kampmann in their closely-contested bout in March 2011.
If Ellenberger lands those same types of punches in this fight, Kampmann could suffer the fourth knockout loss of his career. Kampmann's best chance of winning this fight on his feet will be by landing kicks from the outside and utilizing his jab effectively.
Since joining the UFC, Jake Ellenberger has scored multiple takedowns against any opponent he hasn't knocked out in the opening round. Training with Mark Munoz at Reign Training Center, Ellenberger's wrestling is only going to continue showing improvement.
That being said, Martin Kampmann's takedown defense has been very strong in recent appearances. Still, Kampmann often uses the fence to remain standing and has trouble separating from his opponents, spending large amounts of time with his back pinned against the cage. While he may be avoiding the takedown, Kampmann often suffers on the scorecards by failing to break free from takedown attempts and continue striking.
It's likely Ellenberger is the best wrestler Kampmann will have faced in his career. Even if he is unable to take Kampmann down, Ellenberger will be perfectly fine with working on the inside with his opponent trapped against the fence. In fact, Ellenberger may rush Kampmann early just to employ that strategy and land punches from the clinch.
With submission wins over skilled grapplers Thiago Alves and Jacob Volkmann, Martin Kampmann might possess the most dangerous guillotine choke in the welterweight division. It is that submission threat that might deter Ellenberger from attempting to take this fight to the ground with a conventional double-leg takedown.
Ellenberger has earned five submission wins of his own throughout his career, but those all came against low-level competition as he was working his way up the ranks in the sport. It would be quite a shock if Ellenberger locked up a submission in this bout against the Robert Drysdale-trained Kampmann.
Likewise, though, Kampmann will not be able to easily submit Ellenberger, who has only been forced to tap once in his career despite going to the ground with the likes of Carlos Condit and Diego Sanchez.
Despite being the power puncher and shorter welterweight in this matchup, Jake Ellenberger holds a slight reach advantage over Martin Kampmann. That will play a big factor if this fight stays standing, as Kampmann's best game plan against a fighter like Ellenberger would be to stay on the outside.
Seemingly stronger and equally quick as Kampmann, Ellenberger appears to simply be a superior athlete to his opponent. Kampmann could prove that opinion incorrect on Friday, but it seems likely that Ellenberger will overwhelm the Xtreme Couture product with his combination of speed and power.
A more lethal striker than Diego Sanchez and smart enough to avoid the same mistake that Thiago Alves made in trying to take Martin Kampmann to the ground, Jake Ellenberger has all the tools to win this fight in decisive fashion.
Though he has shown a solid chin over recent fights, Kampmann has been knocked out by fighters who Ellenberger arguably matches in power. He may make it to the scorecards, but Kampmann probably isn't going to make it out of this contest without getting rocked at least once or twice.
Ellenberger is a finisher. Once he smells blood, he will look to put Kampmann away as quickly as possible. If Kampmann survives the first round, he'll probably go the distance, but he won't walk away with a victory in either scenario.
Prediction: Ellenberger defeats Kampmann by knockout in the first round.