Almost immediately after last night’s main event of UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampmann, the Martin Kampmann/Tim Boetsch comparisons came out in full force from fans and pundits alike. One can easily understand why, as Kampmann’s come-from-behind victory over Thiago Alves was the greatest one in UFC history since last week’s efforts from Tim Boetsch. But perhaps this comparison misses the point. While this comeback was obviously at least partially due to a gutsy performance from Kampmann, it had far more to do with questionable decision making from Thiago Alves.
Save for a first round kick that rocked “The Pitbull”, Thiago Alves was in total control of last night’s main event. His stand-up attack was simply too much for “The Hitman”, who offered less resistance as the fight progressed. Despite this, Alves- who isn’t exactly known for his ground game, mind you- attempted a double leg takedown on a visibly hurt Martin Kampmann and wound up getting caught in a fight-ending guillotine choke.
It’s easy to understand why Thiago Alves was eager for the finish, especially after watching Demetrious Johnson be declared the winner of his fight against Ian McCall (more on that later). What is astonishing is the fact that he took the fight to the only place where he didn’t have a clear advantage over Kampmann. The takedown gave Kampmann time to regain composure, and negated the need to get through The Pitbull’s leg kicks in order to utilize his superior grappling.
Aside from his second straight victory, Martin Kampmann earned the $50k Submission of the Night honors with his performance. Meanwhile, Thiago Alves drops to 19-9 overall, and is 2-4 in his last six fights. Alves is one of the division’s best strikers, but his days as a top welterweight in the UFC are clearly in the rear-view mirror.
The evenings co-main event, a flyweight tournament fight between Joseph Benavidez and Yasuhiro Urushitani, ended without any surprises. Already dominant as an undersized bantamweight, Joseph Benavidez picked up right where he left off in his flyweight debut with a second round TKO over Yasuhiro Urushitani. As expected, Benavidez utilized his superior wrestling in the first round before countering a kick with a huge right and finishing Urushitani with follow-up punches at the start of the second round, earning him Knockout of the Night honors. This isn’t to say that Urushitani didn’t look good in his UFC debut; it’s just that Benavidez looked like an already dominant fighter fighting in a weight class he’s more suited for. Regardless of who he faces next, it’s hard not to imagine he’ll be the favorite to win the UFC’s inaugural flyweight championship.
Now, about that other flyweight tournament matchup. There’s no point in offering a detailed analysis of Ian McCall vs. Demetrious Johnson, because due to the scoring error that occurred last night, we’re going to get a rematch to determine which fighter will advance in the tournament. That’s right, a rematch- aka “that thing that the addition of sudden death rounds was supposed to prevent”.
I will say this much about the fight though: Except for the scoring error that robbed us of a sudden death round, it was very deserving of its Fight of the Night honors. It was a close, exciting fight that clearly demonstrated why the UFC added a flyweight division to its roster. If this fight had gone to a fourth round, it’s hard to imagine Ian McCall losing it. “Uncle Creepy” blatantly had Johnson hurt towards the end of the third round, yet opted to taunt his opponent rather than continue to work for the finish. Not to blame the victim here, but you obviously have to call that decision into question. Ian McCall may be getting the rematch, but had he been able to finish Johnson last night, the ensuing scoring controversy never happens.
Also of note, Court McGee pushed forward against Constantinos Philippou throughtout their fight, yet his wild striking was easily countered by Philippou and McGee was seldom able to put Philippou on his back. While McGee’s striking has improved during his stint in the UFC, he is still very much a grappler who stands little chance of winning on his feet. Meanwhile, Philippou has won three straight since losing his UFC debut to Nick Catone at UFC 128, and should see a step up in competition at middleweight.
Martin Kampmann def. Thiago Alves via submission (guillotine choke) at 4:12 of Round Three
Joseph Benavidez def. Yasuhiro Urushitani via TKO (strikes) at :11 of Round Two
Demetrious Johnson def. Ian McCall ruled majority draw, will rematch
Constantinos Philippou def. Court McGee via unanimous decision
James Te Huna def. Aaron Rosa via TKO at 2:02 of Round One
Anthony Perosh def. Nick Penner via TKO at 4:59 of Round One
Steven Siler def. Cole Miller via unanimous decision
Andrew Craig def. Kyle Noke via unanimous decision
T.J. Waldburger def. Jake Hecht via submission (armbar) at 0:55 of Round One
Daniel Pineda def. Mackens Semerzier via submisison (triangle armbar) at 2:05 of Round One
Shawn Jordan def. Oli Thompson via TKO at 3:53 of Round Two