The Ultimate Fight Night 18 “main event” between Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann certainly delivered. One could argue that it’s an early candidate for fight of the year, despite somehow getting beat out for fight of the night.
Many thought Condit would ride in as white knight an immediately compete for the 170 pound title while others thought Condit, and his WEC dominance, would not hold water inside the vaunted octagon.
As for Kampmann, he had shown he can compete at Middleweight, but he still had to prove he could assert himself in the lighter, faster division.
In a fight between two guys who rarely rely on the judges, this one couldn’t have been any closer. Kampmann managed to secure a razor thin split decision win by taking the third round on all three judges’ scorecards. The first two rounds were a bit more contentious, with Kampmann gaining favor from two out of the three judges.
Condit should not hang his head in defeat, as he showed he could go toe-to-toe with a scrappy former UFC Middleweight. The loss though, did silence any talk of Condit shooting straight toward a title shot. Condit will look to prove himself in his next fight while Kampmann takes a big step forward in the division.
It is hard to say how good either fighter really is though. Neither has fought top competition in the UFC welterweight division, besides each other.
The fight between the two has to leave one to wonder…just where do these two fighters fit into the crowded division and who will each fight in their next fight?
In order to speculate, let’s take a look at the current top talent currently available to fight.
The list is singular, with young phenom Dustin Hazelett being the only viable option. Karo Parisian would have been an option if it weren’t for his recent nine month suspension. Every other fighter listed in the top 15 of the division is contractually obligated to an upcoming fight.
Outside of Hazelett, this leaves Kampmann and Condit waiting for a future winner.
The next two welterweight fights of significance take place May 23, at UFC 98. There Josh Koschek will take on Chris Wilson while the two Matt’s, Hughes and Serra, will finally settle their grudge match. If Koschek wins, he certainly qualifies as a worthy opponent.
As for the Hughes-Serra winner, they are both an X-factor. If Hughes wins he could retire, make the move to middleweight he’s joked about, or in fact make one last run in the division.
For Serra, win or lose, a cut back to his former home in the lightweight division may make the most sense. But, if he does win, and stay at welterweight, he is another option.
At UFC 99, there are two more intriguing 170 pound match-ups. Mike Swick, who has his eyes set toward a title shot, will collide with dangerous newcomer Ben Saunders. Marcus Davis will take on another new threat to the UFC welterweight division in British Dan Hardy.
Assuming both Swick and Davis win, they are both attractive options for both Kampmann and Condit.
At The Ultimate Fighter Finale, one of the welterweight’s hottest prospects will be in action. Anthony Johnson look to maintain his climb up the ladder by dealing with John Howard. With a win, Johnson will look to assert himself as a legitimate top 10 fighter. Would Johnson have enough “Rumble” to get past either Kampmann or Condit?
The best of the welterweight division will culminate at UFC 100. John Fitch will look to stave off newcomer Paulo Thiago while George St. Pierre will defend his title against Thiago Alves. This is where Kapmann and Condit hope to ascend to one day.
Now that the entire division has been put on view, its time to debate who would be the best opponents for Kampmann and Conditto fight next? Which fights sound the most appealing, while makiing the most sense to the divisional landscape.