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UFC Fight Night 18 took place in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 1, 2009. As part of the ongoing absorption of World Extreme Cagefighting into the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the card featured several notable former WEC fighters making their first Octagon appearances, including Brock Larson and Aaron Simpson. However, no new arrival was quite so hotly anticipated as that of Carlos Condit, the departing WEC welterweight champion who earned the rare distinction of headlining his debut event in the UFC.
A lanky, scowling 170 pounds of muay Thai savagery and aggressive guard play, “The Natural Born Killer” entered the UFC on an eight-fight winning streak. He also brought with him a 23-4 record, an unthinkable 100 percent finish rate and a level of buzz among hardcore fans that may be rivaled only by the debuts of Mirko Filipovic and Justin Gaethje in the modern era. Welcoming him to the UFC was rising welterweight contender Martin Kampmann, a former middleweight whose professional striking background, sneaky-good ground skills and next-level gameness seemed an eminently suitable test for Condit.
“The Hitman” proved to be more than merely a test that night, as he defeated Condit by split decision in one of the best fights of 2009. It was the kind of fight that did no damage to either man’s stock, as Kampmann notched his best career win and Condit showed that, while he may have lost, he was no April Fools’ joke. Kampmann spent several more years as a Top 15 contender, while Condit bounced back from the loss and promptly put together a new five-fight winning streak on his way to an interim belt and a shot at welterweight G.O.A.T. Georges St. Pierre. The two men met once more, with Condit returning a favor. Whereas Kampmann had spoiled the New Mexico native’s UFC debut, Condit did the same to the Dane’s farewell fight, knocking him out in the fourth round of their rematch at UFC Fight Night 27.
Also of note from that UFC Fight Night 18 event 11 years ago was the second and final UFC appearance of Junie Allen Browning, who rose to brief notoriety on Season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter” for behavior that was alarmingly unhinged—even by the standards of a reality show infamous for precisely that. Matched with Cole Miller for his first “regular” UFC bout, the “Lunatik” found himself thoroughly outclassed in all phases on his way to a guillotine choke submission in under two minutes. Afterwards, a morose Browning speculated that his UFC tenure might be over. He was proven correct in a matter of days.
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