Despite the fact that he was defeated via a close split decision in the pair’s first meeting, former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit was the odds-on favorite heading into his rematch with Martin Kampmann at Fight Night 27 last night. It wasn’t hard to see why — Condit had dropped his past two contests, sure, but they were close decision losses to the the division’s long-standing champion and its current number one contender. Kampmann was also coming off a loss to said contender, but let’s just say that his loss was a little more…demoralizing.
In the early going, it looked as if Kampmann would attempt to mirror the strategy that led him to victory in the pair’s first meeting. Understandably hoping to avoid being shot out of a cannon by another left hand, “The Hitman” constantly pressured his lengthier foe and mixed up a few takedowns to keep Condit off balance. It’s a credit to Condit’s otherworldly cardio that he seemed to only grow fresher as the fight progressed, especially considering the amount of energy he expended defending Kampmann’s grappling-based attack in the first.
But there Condit was in the second and third, utilizing his reach to slowly pick Kampmann — who I’m convinced is only so pasty because he loses roughly 2 pints of blood per fight — apart before finishing him with a brutal series of knees and punches in the fourth. Even in defeat, the Dane once again proved that unless you have a fist made of granite, you are not putting him away easily.
With the victory, Condit claimed not only redemption but a $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus. With four FOTN and two KOTN awards in his last seven bouts, it’s safe to say that Condit is not only one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC, but a perennial contender for the welterweight title. The ridiculous myth that the former WEC welterweight champ is a “Natural Born Runner” has been officially debunked — just don’t tell that to the hardcore Nick Diaz fans still struggling to cope with his loss to Condit at UFC 143. Unbridled ignorance is truly the hamster that keeps their wheels spinning, if ever so slowly.
In the night’s co-main event, a somewhat sluggish Donald Cerrone saw himself similarly outgunned by moderate underdog Rafael Dos Anjos. The Brazilian not only accomplished what few have done by dropping “Cowboy” in the first, but surprisingly managed to outwork Cerrone in both the stand up and the grappling department as the fight progressed. This was no doubt thanks to the fact that Dos Anjos is more machine than he is man these days, but a win’s a win and with five straight, it’s time to give Dos Anjos a #1 contender fight. When T.J. Grant is healthy again, expect to see these two mix it up. Not bad for a dude who was best known for eating Jeremy Stephens’ uppercut from Hell in his UFC debut.
Elsewhere on the main card, TUF 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum made short work of late replacement opponent Brian Melancon, stunning the Texan with some B-E-A-utiful inside boxing before snatching up a fight-ending rear naked choke just two and a half minutes into the contest. Gastelum’s improbable run in the UFC can perhaps best be summed up by Derek Brunson:
Gastelum’s quick submission was not enough to earn him a SOTN bonus, however. That award went to fellow TUF 17 contestant and alien in poorly-fitting human skin suit, Zak Cummings, who collected his first UFC victory by way of an incredibly slick Brabo choke over Ben Alloway in the first round (gif here via Zombie Prophet).
Twas an exciting night of fights, for sure. The closely contested slugfests that were Takeya Mizugaki vs. Erik Perez and Court McGee vs. Robert Whittaker would have arguably secured a FOTN bonus on a lesser card (UFC 163, for instance). In the former, Mizugaki’s unbreakable chin held up against the early and often furious onslaught of Perez, who seemed to fade as the two continued to trade heavy leather for three straight rounds. With the win, Mizugaki improved to 5-2 in the UFC; here’s hoping he continues to get main card fights because the man is entertaining as hell to watch.
In the latter meeting between TUF winners, McGee — who overdosed on heroin once, just in case you guys didn’t know — improved his welterweight record to 2-0 by outgunning Whittaker en route to a split decision victory. While Whittaker may have landed the harder shots, it was McGee’s octagon control and feverish pace that earned him the judges’ nod. However, the fact that the final scores were 30-27, 27-30 and 29-28 furthers the theory that MMA judges have either given up entirely or are handing out sympathy points these days. Of course, it really didn’t help that the judge who scored it for Whittaker wrote in crayon.
What’s left? Ahhh yes, the KOTN award, which went to newcomer Brandon Thatch for his first round destruction of Justin Edwards. The finish was Thatch’s ninth straight victory to come in the first round and a performance that will likely give Brittney Palmer nightmares for weeks to come. Standing at 6’2″, Thatch towers above most of the welterweight division and could pose some legitimate threats down the line. That being said, he might want to start keeping his hands a little higher when he kicks or he is going to get plastered by a better striker.
The full results for Fight Night 27 are below.
UFC Fight Night 27 Main Card on Fox Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET)
-Carlos Condit def. Martin Kampmann, TKO (Round 4, 0:54)
-Rafael dos Anjos def. Donald Cerrone, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
-Kelvin Gastelum def. Melancon, submission (Round 1, 2:26)
-Court McGee def. Robert Whittaker, split-decision (27-30, 30-27, 29-28)
-Takeya Mizugaki def. Erik Perez, split-decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
-Brad Tavares def. Bubba McDaniel, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Fox Sports 2 Prelims (6 p.m. ET)
-Dylan Andrews def. Papy Abedi, TKO (Round 3, 1:32)
-Brandon Thatch def. Justin Edwards, TKO (Round 1, 1:23)
-Darren Elkins def. Hatsu Hioki, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
-Jason High def. James Head, submission (Round 1, 1:41)
Facebook Prelims (5 p.m. ET)
-Zak Cummings def. Ben Alloway, submission (Round 1, 4:19)
-Roger Bowling vs. Abel Trujillo: No contest (Bowling KO’d by illegal knee in Round 2)