Ellenberger vs. Hieron: What Went Wrong for Hieron at UFC on FX 5

Craig AmosFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2012

Oct 5, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Jay Hieron comes up bloody during his bout with Jake Ellenberger at the UFC on FX 5 at the Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE
Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE

Jake Ellenberger squeaked out a controversial decision win over MMA journeyman Jay Hieron in co-main event of UFC on FX 5.

The fight was a hotly contested affair, even if the action itself was hardly hot at all. For the better part of three rounds, the two men circled one another. Hieron looked to land straight punches and kicks and Ellenberger was content to counter when his opponent attacked.

When it was all said and done, Ellenberger left with his hand raised, and Hieron with his head hung. 

So what went wrong for Hieron? Well, that's a delicate question.

Hieron did better than expected on the feet—he consistently kept away from Ellenberger's notorious power punches, used all of his limbs to score points and was the aggressor (if either man could be considered such) for the majority of the match.

According to Fightmetic, Hieron outlanded Ellenberger in all three rounds in total shots, and landed more power shots in two of three rounds. 

All things considered, the stand-up aspect of the match went very right for Hieron, especially since it was widely believed Ellenberger held an advantage in that realm prior to the contest.

But in spite of Hieron's superior stand-up performance, he was unable to convince the judges he should be handed a "W." Why that is may have something to do with the pair of takedowns Ellenberger landed during the bout.

In both rounds two and three, Ellenberger was able to put "The Thoroughbred" on his back, albeit only briefly each time. Though the takedowns didn't appear monumental when they occurred, they may have been just enough to tip the scales in Ellenberger's favor.

While Hieron outstruck Ellenberger, the margin by which he did so was not significant. In fact, it was so small that it could have been (and was) bridged by just the two takedowns.

Ultimately, the decision could have just as easily gone the other way, but either way it went would not have been outrageous. While it's difficult to identify what went wrong for a competitor who could have won just as easily as his opponent, the reason Hieron lost is plain—the two takedowns he conceded in two different rounds.

It is a frustrating, basic and seemingly insignificant explanation, but had Hieron been able to avoid the ground entirely, chances are it would have been enough to shift the victory away from his opponent and into his own hands.