This Saturday at UFC 154, welterweights Martin Kampmann and Johny Hendricks square off to determine the fighter most pundits and fans will presume to be the next challenger for the championship belt.
These are two dynamic and well-rounded fighters. The contest could go many different directions. Plenty of people are predicting a Hendricks knockout, a Hendricks takedown-fest or a Kampmann TKO.
But perhaps it's not so cut and dried. Here are some bold predictions for what could go down.
Everyone's calling for the big Hendricks KO. But Kampmann can do it, too. He may not have the one-punch power of Hendricks, but he is accurate and more diverse.
Hendricks has said he's going to be flexible in his game plan, but here's betting his instinct will be to throw the leather, throw it hard and throw it often (that would be my instinct, too, if I had sacks of marbles where most people's fists were).
So if Kampmann can sidestep one of those haymakers or stuff one of those All-American takedowns, he may be in prime position to deliver a fight-ending foot, knee or fist.
Hendricks surely saw what Kampmann did to Jake Ellenberger. Then he saw what Ellenberger did with a more conservative approach against Jay Hieron. Maybe it's a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison, but the general principle still applies.
So maybe Hendricks pulls back a bit. Maybe he avoids that carpet-bombing approach everyone is expecting. If he makes his home base on the perimeter, plays defense and attacks judiciously in the standup phase, it might be enough to keep Kampmann's dervish at bay. Or at least confuse the hell out of him.
Everyone loves Kampmann's Muay Thai and what not, but he's also got jiu-jitsu.
He has six career victories by submission (not counting one tap from strikes). Of those six, 100 percent were achieved by chokes, and three specifically by guillotine.
It's entirely possible that Kampmann could play a modified matador game with Hendricks, allowing "Big Rig" to come at him for a takedown—and run right into a choke.