Carlos Condit has never lost three in a row as a professional. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Carlos Condit entered the Ultimate Fighting Championship on the strength of a lengthy World Extreme Cagefighting title reign, only to have his Octagon debut spoiled by a well-rounded Danish “Hitman.” A little more than four years later, he receives his opportunity at redemption.
Condit will lock horns with Martin Kampmann in a rematch between two of the world’s premier welterweights in the UFC Fight Night 27 main event on Wednesday at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The five-round headliner will anchor the UFC’s sophomore outing on Fox Sports 1, the 24-hour sports channel launched by the Fox network on Aug. 27.
Based at Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts, Condit has dropped back-to-back bouts for the second time in his career. The 29-year-old Albuquerque, N.M., native last appeared at UFC 158 in March, when he wound up on the wrong side of a unanimous decision to No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks. Condit was taken down 12 times in the 15-minute affair.
Kampmann has recorded three wins in his last four appearances. However, the 31-year-old has not competed since being knocked out by a Hendricks left hook more than a year ago at UFC 154. Kampmann has compiled an 11-5 mark since arriving in the UFC in August 2006.
The UFC Fight Night 27 “Condit vs. Kampmann 2” lineup provides plenty of water cooler fodder. We discuss some of it here:
Whitman: Condit and Kampmann put on a seriously competitive fight in their first meeting. Do you foresee another close call in the rematch?
Knapp: You have to expect another competitive matchup between these two. However, I think the two extra rounds favor Condit, the more dynamic and experienced mixed martial artist. He has gone the full 25 minutes twice in his last three fights and went to a fourth round on another occasion. Kampmann, meanwhile, has never fought beyond 15 minutes. If it goes the distance, I think Condit pulls away late.
Whitman: Donald Cerrone looked superb in his win over K.J. Noons, but Rafael dos Anjos has also proven himself as one of the division’s toughest tests. Which lightweight has the edge in this co-main event?
Knapp: Cerrone has a lot going for him. He has tested himself against the division’s best and pairs unwavering confidence with crisp standup and an underrated submission game. Plus, in his bout with Noons, he added takedowns and ground-and-pound to the mix. Though no one should make the mistake of underestimating dos Anjos, I definitely favor “Cowboy” in this one. The man rides bulls, for crying out loud.
Whitman: While Kelvin Gastelum and Brian Melancon have exceeded expectations thus far, do you think either one of these guys could be a real contender at 170 pounds?
Knapp: That is a hard question to answer, especially as it relates to Gastelum. He does not turn 22 until October, and we have not yet seen enough of him to determine a realistic ceiling. You have to like the skills, determination and toughness he has shown so far. I see Melancon cut more from the Matt Brown mold. His propensity for violence will provide him a longer leash in terms of keeping his job, perhaps allowing him to go on a similar run and emerge as a threat to the middle- and upper-tier fighters at 170 pounds. Time will tell.
Whitman: I really like the explosiveness in Robert Whittaker’s standup attack. When he plants his feet and starts blasting, he is really fun to watch. Can Court McGee stand up to Whitaker’s pressure?
Knapp: McGee is as committed and durable as they come. That endears him to the masses and UFC brass, but I wonder how much it shortens his shelf life as a fighter. Sometimes, he absorbs too much punishment for his own good. Whittaker will test his resolve. If McGee finds himself trapped on the feet against the Australian, he could be in for a long night. Clinches and takedowns are the way to go.
Whitman: Papy Abedi is moving back to middleweight to face “The Ultimate Fighter 17” veteran Dylan Andrews. Should we care about this or is Abedi only in the UFC because he will draw in Sweden?
Knapp: Chiseled physique aside, Abedi has shown little in his first three Octagon appearances -- two submission losses and a split decision win -- to make anyone believe he has a long UFC career ahead of him. The presence of Alexander Gustafsson gives the UFC the only chip it needs in Sweden, so I hope Abedi does not bank on his drawing power as a means to maintaining his roster spot. I expect Andrews to hand him his third straight loss, with a pink slip to follow.
Whitman: Erik Perez returns from a life-threatening staph infection to take on the talented but traditionally inconsistent Takeya Mizugaki. Given the circumstances and his quality of competition, would a win over the Japanese standout constitute the biggest win of Perez’s career?
Knapp: Perez has the tools to be a top 10 fighter at 135 pounds, and a win over Mizugaki -- who once fought for bantamweight gold in the WEC -- could be all he needs to put him on that path. Perez has finished his first three UFC opponents inside the first round. If he does the same to Mizugaki, look out.
Whitman: It seems like Darren Elkins is tailor-made to beat Hatsu Hioki in a lot of ways, considering his wrestling base and power punching. What kind of odds do you give Hioki of beating Elkins?
Knapp: It has always been difficult to get a grasp on Hioki because he has been so hot-and-cold throughout his career, even though few at 145 pounds can match his physical skills. If he gets his jab in gear and keeps Elkins at bay, he creates a clear path to victory for himself. Hioki cannot be content to absorb takedowns and remain on his back, as he was against Clay Guida. We have already seen how that story ends.