Welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger has won six straight fights in the UFC. He hopes that lucky No. 7 will get him that much closer to a title shot.
“The Juggernaut” locks horns with 14-time Octagon veteran Martin Kampmann in “The Ultimate Fighter 15” Finale main event at the Palms Casino Resort on Friday in Las Vegas. The majority of participants in Sherdog.com’s MMA Pick’Em fantasy game believe in the Nebraskan, as 71 percent have selected him to defeat “The Hitman.”
Ellenberger was last seen taking a hard-fought decision over Diego Sanchez at UFC on Fuel TV 1 in February. The 27-year-old started strong before holding off a late charge by “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 1 winner to earn his sixth UFC triumph since falling to Carlos Condit in his promotional debut. Four of those victories have come by way of knockout.
After back-to-back tough-luck decision losses to Jake Shields and Sanchez, Kampmann has righted his ship, besting Rick Story and Thiago Alves in his last two outings. The victory against Alves was especially improbable, as the Dane was outgunned on the feet for the majority of the contest before submitting “Pitbull” with a guillotine choke late in round three.
Al Iaquinta and Mike Chiesa are the last two men standing at the conclusion of the latest season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” A solid 66 percent of players favor Iaquinta to defeat Chiesa and earn the six-figure UFC contract that comes with winning the reality show.
A product of the Serra-Longo Fight Team, Iaquinta has tasted defeat just once in six professional bouts, falling to former UFC talent Pat Audinwood at a Ring of Combat event in November. Chiesa is unbeaten in seven fights, with each of his last four triumphs coming via first-round submission.
Other Pick’Em trends for “The Ultimate Fighter 15” Finale:
• Most users (66 percent) believe Charles Oliveira will continue a successful foray at featherweight by defeating Jonathan Brookins. “Do Bronx” defeated Eric Wisely with a calf slicer at UFC on Fox 2 in his 145-pound debut. Brookins, meanwhile, is 1-1 since dropping from lightweight, losing to Erik Koch and beating Vagner Rocha in two featherweight appearances;
• Pat Schilling did not last long against Daniel Pineda in his first UFC bout, but that has not prevented 77 percent of participants from siding with “Thrilling” versus Max Holloway in a featherweight contest. Holloway was also rudely welcomed to the Octagon, losing to Dustin Poirier via first-round submission at UFC 143.
• A staggering 91 percent of players have pegged Justin Lawrence as the man to beat in his lightweight showdown with John Cofer;
• In preliminary bouts, participants have picked Daron Cruickshank (84 percent) over Chris Tickle, Myles Jury (85 percent) over Chris Saunders, Cristiano Marcello (61 percent) over Sam Sicilia, Joe Proctor (94 percent) over Jeremy Larsen and John Albert (83 percent) over Erik Perez.