When it comes to competitive matches, this might be the most compelling fight to be featured at UFC 154.
Georges St-Pierre vs. Carlos Condit will likely be an entertaining bout, Francis Carmont vs. Tom Lawlor should yield a frenetic pace and a probable finish given each man’s history, and Constantinos Philippou always comes to claim heads.
This is an exciting card, make no mistake.
However, if there’s any fight featured on this card that has a strong chance of emerging as “Fight of the Night,” it’s Martin Kampmann vs. Johny Hendricks.
With a combined 23 finishes, both men have proven themselves legit warriors and consistent closers. Hendricks loves to incorporate a wrestling-heavy attack with some massive punches infused, and Kampmann has developed some noteworthy takedown defense.
The Dane’s knockout power probably doesn’t need to be explored too meticulously. If you’ve seen Kampmann compete, you know he’s a banger of the highest order, refined and fluid from defensive and offensive approaches, and the owner of one-punch (knee or kick) knockout power.
To an extent, the same can be said for Hendricks, although his overall striking acumen is clearly inferior to “The Hitman’s.” Johny still packs a wallop in his fists, and he utilizes aggressive wrestling to create the required openings to land significant punches.
It’s not always pretty, but Hendricks knows how to get the job done.
The key to this clash could stem from the submission category, where Kampmann holds a significant advantage. This is a guy who can grab a submission from anywhere.
Although most effective from top position, Martin poses a threat to anyone bold enough to shoot a takedown attempt. When shooting, the neck is typically left exposed, if even for just a brief moment, and Kampmann is savvy enough to strike while the iron’s hot and capitalize on the smallest of mistakes.
But while a submission could bring this competition to a sudden halt, it is unlikely Martin finds that opening without rattling the rugged wrestler first. That’s where that striking advantage is going to come into play.
Johny Hendricks has no qualms in closing the distance and getting up close and personal to land a big shot. But the Oklahoma representative will walk straight into the crossfire if he opts to wade into the pocket with “The Hitman.”
Hendricks is always game, and he’s frighteningly strong, but he’s going to have to rough Kampmann up in order to ensure a victory. That’s exactly what is going to lead to a shocking finish.
Look for Hendricks to use his wrestling effectively early, but expect complacency to eventually catch the WEC import. Hendricks will get a little too comfortable being the stronger man, and that’s going to create the opportunity Martin requires.
The end will come in the latter portions of the third round when Kampmann catches “Bigg Rigg” with his hands too low. Kampmann will floor Johny Hendricks and leap in to secure a rear-naked choke on his turtling foe.
Take that analysis to the bank, and swarm me on Twitter with your profanities if you think I’m way off, that is.