Nobody takes that kind of two-fisted buttkickin’ and keeps coming back for more. Nobody gets their bones broken and their face mashed like that and keeps swinging away like a cave man on three-day cocaine Charlie Sheen binge.
For 15 minutes, the two men went at it tooth and nail in a fight that showcased heart, guts and incredible versatility and range from both men.
But who wants to talk about that boring crap when there’s some controversial judging to get everyone’s hackles raised?
Sanchez won the fight? Sanchez? The guy who flopped to the mat like a carp in the opening round? The guy who went 1-for-14 on take-down attempts? The guy who looks like the Elephant Man just made out with a belt sander?
I half-expected Diego to start shouting “Adrian! ADRIAN!!!” during his post-fight interview.
To the MMA writer, “Reform the Judging System!” articles are the equivalent of comfort food. They’re the tub of Rocky Road ice cream waiting for you in the freezer, the comfy pair of old sweat pants with the mustard stain, the cold beer and nice cigar on the patio after a long day at the office.
So I would suggest that most MMA writers and media analysts have missed the true story of this fight—or at least a fair chunk of it—in their rush to burn the judges in effigy.
Folks, the judges didn’t rob Kampmann of a win. The only one who did that was Kampmann himself.
Which is a shame, because I think Kampmann is the man, and I really don’t know for the life of me why he isn’t tearing up his division right now.
People talk about his “underrated ground game” all the time, but I think even that description falls short of the mark. Kampmann’s (MMA) wrestling game especially is world-class; anyone who can shrug off a Jake Shields or Sanchez take-down like it was nothing is worthy of serious props.
Combine that with his national champion-level kickboxing creds, and Kampmann is surely one of the most well-rounded guys at welterweight.
Yet with the exception of Chael Sonnen, no one is better at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory then the affable Dane.
Take last night. The first round of Sanchez/Kampmann was all Martin. He shrugged off every one of Diego’s vaunted takedown attempts, maintained good distance and picked away at Diego at will.
Going back to his corner after the first round ended, neither I nor any one of the people I was watching with gave Diego a chance in hell of winning the fight. It was as good as in the bag.
Then midway through the second round Kampmann switched it up on Diego. He stopped moving, sat back against the cage and decided to go shot for shot with him like a bald, pale Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robot.
It was a turning point of the fight. Kampmann got rocked, ceded the initiative and never regained it.
So forget the CompuStrike numbers and the analysis for a moment, forget even the image of Diego’s battered visage after the fight. Watch the fight as a whole.
Kampmann may have landed harder and more often. He busted the “Yes!”-xican wide open and broke his face. He even dropped Diego.
But by the time the business was transacted, Diego was the one attacking and Kampmann was the one retreating. Diego was pressing forward, Kampmann was backing away. Diego was fighting, Kampmann was surviving.
In my mind, Kampmann ironically won the competition—that is, came out ahead on my hypothetical scorecard. But Diego undoubtedly won the fight. And Kampmann has no one to blame for that but himself.
By Elton Hobson
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