In the main event of UFC on FX 2, Martin Kampmann managed a Hail Mary 3rd round submission victory win over Thiago Alves, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Post-fight, he wisely called out Interim UFC Welterweight champion Carlos Condit. On paper, it's a fight that makes sense - Kampmann is Condit's only UFC loss, and his only loss since 2006. So, a win over Alves, a win over Rick Story last time, a win over the champ - it all adds up to Martin Kampmann being a UFC Welterweight title contender, right?
Here's the thing - yes Kampmann won, and yes his ability to capitalize on Alves's mistake was impressive, but does anyone walk away from that fight truly impressed by Kampmann? Is that a performance that earns him title consideration?
Despite some success in round 1, the majority of the fight saw Kampmann being outstruck and beaten up on the feet. In the 3rd, Alves badly rocked him and looked on the verge of finishing, however, the former top contender made a rookie mistake, shooting in for a takedown with his head completely exposed and falling victim to the guillotine. Kampmann's win is due to two factors - his skill with the choke, and Alves's horrible strategic decision. Considering that he was losing much of the fight, it's hard to look at what a significant role Alves's error played and say that Kampmann is a viable title contender.
Interestingly, this continues the trend we have seen lately at Welterweight. Last month, Jake Ellenberger and Diego Sanchez met in a fight that could have determined the next challenger at 170. Like Kampmann, Ellenberger won, but was not impressive and came out of the fight looking like a man not yet ready for the title scene. At UFC 143, again, the same scenario where Josh Koscheck won, but looked bad in the process.
When champion Georges St. Pierre went down to injury, the talk was that it opened up the division for new names to step up. For Carlos Condit, that definitely happened. But Kampmann, Ellenberger, and Koscheck have all been unable to take advantage of this opportunity and make their claim as the definitive #1 contender.
In fact, in all the recent big Welterweight fights, only one man has come out looking truly strong - Johny Hendricks. His KO victory over Jon Fitch was eye-opening and vaulted him into contention. Next up for Hendricks is a fight with Koscheck on May 5. I'd like to say a win there makes him the obvious #1, but after what we've seen lately, I'm not so sure a win alone will do it - he needs to win and look good.
As you look at the list of possible UFC Welterweight title contenders, who has definitively shown they are ready to challenge the champ? Not Jake Ellenberger, not Josh Koscheck, and now not Martin Kampmann - despite all coming off wins. Perhaps Condit's decision to sit it out and wait for GSP wasn't such a bad idea after all.
SBN coverage of 2: Alves vs. Kampmann