Post UFC 115: What We Should Be Talking About
Having let the thrill, excitement and the whole experience that comes with attending a UFC event live for the first time sink in, I've now had time to digest what went on at the UFC's debut show in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.
Since Saturday the majority of the talk, reaction and comments about UFC 115 have centered around Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell and rightly so.
The former UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion is a UFC legend and deserves the column inches after what seems certain to be his last fight inside the famed octagon.
Knocked out in devastating fashion by Rich Franklin, Liddell hit the mat hard and with it his dreams of mounting a last run at the title faded.
Despite the vivid image of Liddell walking past me at cage side with a messed up face, it is not the lasting memory I have from UFC 115 and it is not the only thing we should be talking about from the event.
Evan Dunham, Carlos Condit, and Martin Kampmann all put on career high performances and are the real stories to emerge from Vancouver's UFC 115 card.
Fighting on the free Pre-lims aired on Spike TV, Even Dunham defeated his Xtreme Couture teammate Tyson Griffin in a unanimous decision.
The magnitude of Dunham's win and performance should not be over looked. Despite coming off a lengthy lay off, Griffin was widely ranked as a Top 5 UFC Lightweight entering the fight.
Dunham dominated him from the opening bell and showed ever improving stand up and takedowns to go along with his already superb ground game. The win puts his career stats at 11-0 and his UFC record at 4-0.
Dunham is now without question at the elite end of the Lightweight Division and likely only one more big win away from a title shot. It's fair to say that if you didn't know about Evan Dunham before then you do after UFC 115, and you should be talking about him.
In what his Assistant Trainer called the biggest fight of his career, Carlos Condit delivered a come from behind win that puts the former WEC Champion right back in the mix at 170lbs.
Condit battled a very tough and lively young opponent in the opening rounds in the hometown hero Rory MacDonald. But once Condit got into the fight his experience and class shone through in round three delivering what I would have scored as a 10-8 round.
Fans in attendance were upset by the stoppage of the fight seconds from the end, but in reality it was the correct call. MacDonald's apparent dominance in rounds one and two was also not as clear cut as many thought, one official judge had scored it 19-19 after the first two rounds.
One thing is for sure after UFC 115 Condit is a significant step higher on the ladder then Rory MacDonald is at this point in time. The 'Natural Born Killer' should look forward to a tough top 10 level fighter in his next match up.
As great as Condit and Dunham were on June 12th, they were both in my mind expected winners entering the event.
Martin Kampmann however was not a fighter many picked to win at UFC 115.
Kampmann dominated a lackluster Paulo Thiago who before this fight was ranked at No.5 in the Welterweight division by Sherdog. The 'Hitman' put on a clinic of technical striking, and great wrestling to out maneuver and outwork Thiago all night long.
The Dane reminded fight fans of the dangerous technical fighter we had seen before he ran into Paul Daley at UFC 103.
With this huge career win and a 17-3 overall record Kampmann is now right amongst the title talk at 170lbs.
A win in an already rumored fight with Dan Hardy at UFC 120 could put Kampmann in line for a title shot as early as next year.
So with UFC 115 now consigned to the history books and wikipedia it's clear that the deeper reaching significance of the event in Vancouver will not be a fallen UFC legend but the emergence of three young fighters at the upper end of their divisions.
Chuck's time has passed but Condit's, Dunham's and Kampmann's may only just be beginning.
Hit me with your thoughts on this.
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