Diego Sanchez (file photo) edged by Martin Kampmann at UFC Live 3. | Sherdog.com
While fans and media may debate the decision rendered in the main event of UFC on Versus 3, at least one man besides the three cageside judges believes that Diego Sanchez did enough to beat Martin Kampmann on Saturday night.
“I really thought we won the decision,” said Sanchez's striking coach Mike Winkeljohn. “I was really worried that the judges would be influenced by the blood, but [Diego] definitely deserves that win.”
As Sanchez and Kampmann took to the Octagon inside the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky., it was the Dane who got the upper hand in the early going. Kampmann landed a sharp counter right hand that floored Sanchez and followed up for the remainder of the round, bloodying “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 1 middleweight winner.
“In the first round, [Diego] wasn't moving his head side to side. He was coming straight in and getting caught with straight punches. The first round, he'd throw one punch and then stand at long range, and Kampmann was picking him apart,” Winkeljohn told Sherdog.com.
Sanchez, who took a trip to the hospital after the fight for precautionary reasons, was unfazed by the heavy damage he sustained over the course of the bout. The Greg Jackson product surged ahead in the final two frames, getting inside of Kampmann's range and making the fight much more competitive.
“You've got to love his heart. I’ve loved that kid since day one, because he's just a fighter,” said Winkeljohn. “In the second and third rounds, he definitely changed it up a little bit and started moving his head. He also starting throwing second and third punches behind his first punch. When Diego bull-rushed him, I thought he beat [Kampmann] in the standup in the second and third rounds, actually.”
Following the difficult first round, the attitude in Sanchez's corner was not hard to decipher: close the distance and try to take the fight to the floor.
“We had to get Kampmann down, and we had to get Diego to move his head. I felt that Diego was just telegraphing his shots and shooting from too far out. So we had to push [Kampmann] back and get underneath and deeper and turn the corner a little bit more,” said Winkeljohn. “Of course, takedowns would definitely be Diego's game. I would have liked to have seen him shoot a little more, but he did it. He's back.”
On the horizon, a myriad of potential matchups await. When asked if a rematch with Jon Fitch or Josh Koscheck might be in the cards, Winkeljohn asserted that he would put no boundaries on Sanchez's next confrontation.
“Diego is a fighter. He'll fight anybody. So I wouldn't deny Diego a shot at anything,” said Winkeljohn.
No matter whom Sanchez fights next, however, there will always be room for improvement.
“I’m always about taking our time and getting back the right way. I think Diego's tenacity can overcome just about anybody in the division, but there are always skills to be perfected.”
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