The last time Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann squared off, it was a three-round thriller that left us wanting more. More Condit, more Kampmann and more fights just like that one.
The good news? We've got five-round main events in mixed martial arts now, which means that when Condit and Kampmann stepped in the cage for a rematch at UFC Fight Night 27 in Indianapolis Wednesday, we weren't going to be limited by silly 15-minute time limits. And that was a good thing, because we were treated to three-plus rounds of thrilling action.
Kampmann opened up the fight by playing to his strengths, immediately pulling a Chael Sonnen and wasting no time in shooting for a takedown. Condit defended for a time, but Kampmann eventually put the former interim welterweight champion on his back. He wasn't able to keep him there, but it was a clear sign that Kampmann was willing to target Condit's biggest weakness: his takedown defense.
The good news for Kampmann didn't last.
He came out tired in the second round, and Condit began to take over the striking game. Kampmann slowed down significantly in the third round, and "The Natural Born Killer" started picking him apart with strikes. Condit also came close to securing a fight-ending rear-naked choke, but Kampmann was able to endure.
After the third round, we got our first real close-up of Kampmann's face; it was a bloody, brutal mess, with a nasty cut above his right eye that left me thinking we might be in store for an unfortunate doctor stoppage of an exhilarating fight. Luckily for us, that wasn't the case, but that may have been a better scenario for Kampmann than what followed in the fourth round.
Condit, a fighter known for throwing strikes in volume, hadn't really opened up much through the first three rounds. In the fourth, that changed.
Greg Jackson urged his fighter to step on the gas, and he did just that, landing punches and kicks at will. Finally, with a staggered Kampman standing in front of him, Condit drilled the Xtreme Couture product with a left hook to the liver that hurt Kampmann in a bad way.
Condit followed up with a left hook, a right hook and three unanswered knees that sent Kampmann to the canvas for the TKO win.
So what did we learn? Here are two key takeaways:
Carlos Condit Is One of the Most Exciting Fighters in the World
I don't care that some of you are still bitter about the Nick Diaz fight. Get over it. Condit is one of the best fighters in the world, and he's also one of the more exciting—99 percent of the time that Condit steps in that cage, you know you're in for a show. You also know you might be in store for some brutal, sweet violence.
The man delivers both in spades, and Wednesday night was no exception.
Despite 1-2 Record in Past 3 Fights, Condit Still a Title Contender
Would you have a problem if Condit faced the winner of November's UFC 167 bout between Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks? I sure wouldn't. By finishing Kampmann, Condit proved that he's still among the very best in his division, and his penchant for exciting fights will keep him in contention so long as he keeps stringing wins together.