Carlos Condit has delivered finishes in 26 of his 28 wins. | Photo: Sherdog.com
For the first time since 2010, the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to the Hoosier State, bringing with it a rematch more than four years in the making.
The second meeting between Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann is the type of matchup that seems destined to produce fireworks, something fight fans in Indiana probably feel they deserve after a lackluster UFC 110 headliner between Frank Mir and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic was showered with boos by those in attendance at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis some three years ago.
If the versatile violence of Condit and Kampmann is not enough, UFC Fight Night 27 also offers an intriguing co-main event pitting Donald Cerrone, one of the promotion’s most notorious bonus collectors, against surging Brazilian Rafael dos Anjos. Part 2 of what the UFC hopes is a long and prosperous existence on Fox Sports 1 is nearly upon us.
Welcome back mid-week MMA with a look at the UFC Fight Night 27 card, including analysis and picks:
Sherdog Fantasy MMA: UFC Fight Night 27 Free Fan Pick’Em
WelterweightsCarlos Condit (28-7, 5-3) vs. Martin Kampmann (20-6, 11-5 UFC)
The Matchup: On April 1, 2009, Condit, officially World Extreme Cagefighting’s last welterweight champion, entered the Octagon for the first time. His opponent was Kampmann, a veteran with five UFC appearances already under his belt. At the time, there was a question as to whether the competition Condit had faced in the WEC would adequately prepare him for the transition to the world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion. In losing an entertaining split decision to the Dane, Condit proved he did indeed belong.
Much has changed since then. After moving from Fit NHB to Arizona Combat Sports, Condit has been firmly entrenched at Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts for several years. He has held the UFC’s interim 170-pound title and is widely regarded as one of the top 5 -- if not top 3 -- welterweights in the world. The “Natural Born Killer” has even managed to raise his stock despite suffering defeats in his last two outings; he gave reigning champion Georges St. Pierre his biggest scare in years by flooring the welterweight champion with a head kick in the third round at UFC 154, and his all-action efforts, whether standing or on his back, made his bout with Johny Hendricks a fan favorite at UFC 158.
Kampmann, meanwhile, has faced a murderer’s row of opponents since his initial date with Condit. The “Hitman” appeared to be on the brink of title contention before a 46-second knockout loss to Hendricks at UFC 154 derailed those plans.
Both fighters have evolved from where they were more than four years ago, and it is reasonable to expect a similarly competitive rematch. Whether it is through crisp kickboxing on the outside or short, power punches and knees in close quarters, Kampmann’s offensive arsenal is diverse enough to make him an interesting stylistic matchup for Condit. However, one flaw in Condit’s game has not significantly changed over the years: takedown defense. The New Mexican was taken down a combined 19 times by St. Pierre and Hendricks, and while Kampmann is obviously not at their level, he managed to go a more than respectable 5-for-5 on takedowns against Condit at UFC Fight Night 18; those takedowns arguably proved to be the difference in the bout.
While Condit’s lanky frame will always make him vulnerable in this regard, Kampmann is not powerful enough to hold him down for extended periods of time, as the WEC veteran is adept at sweeping or creating space with his guard and returning to his feet. He was able to do this on occasion the first time he fought Kampmann, but he also appeared content to land strikes and attempt submissions from his back at other times. Until more judges begin to recognize quality offense from one’s back, spending too much time there remains a risky proposition, especially in a close fight.
On the feet, Condit has a slight edge in reach, as well as in overall cage generalship. This is where he has improved the most, especially in terms of utilizing footwork and angles. That means Kampmann should find it more difficult when attempting to set up takedowns after close-quarters exchanges. Condit changes levels with his strikes effectively, and he is more than capable of throwing a kick from an angle that Kampmann might not see coming. Both fighters are skilled in the clinch, but Condit has a better chance of controlling the range of this fight, while Kampmann’s tendency to sometimes move straight backward could prove costly.
The Pick: Kampmann might be able to land a few takedowns, but it will not be the determining factor this time around. Condit’s varied offensive attack and sturdy chin will prove valuable in a bout scheduled to go five rounds. He wins by decision or late TKO.
Next Fight » Donald Cerrone vs. Rafael dos Anjos