June 2, 2012
Kampmann comes back to take TUF finale
By NEIL SPRINGER, Special to QMI Agency
You can officially call Martin Kampmann "the comeback kid."
The Danish kickboxer scored a huge come-from-behind win over Jake Ellenberger in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter Live Finale in Las Vegas on Friday.
Ellenberger took control of the fight early, dropping Kampmann with a left-hook in the first round. Kampmann showed a ton of heart, surviving the onslaught and taking the bout into a second round. The two then began slugging it out, with the NCAA Division II wrestler bloodying Kampmann with a flurry of punches.
But soon after Kampmann wobbled Ellenberger with a short right and unloaded with knees to the face for the stunning KO victory.
"Usually, Ray (Sefo) slaps me in the back before the fight," Kampmann said. "He didn't slap me this time. He should have hit me. I need a good punch to wake up."
Though the audience booed the stoppage by referee Steve Mazagatti, Ellenberger made no excuses.
"He got me," a disappointed Ellenberger said. "He had a better night."
"It's not up to me, it's up to the ref (to stop the bout)."
Kampmann, whose previous outing saw him pull off a Hail Mary submission over Thiago Alves, will now meet Johny Hendricks in the near future. The winner will then challenge the victor of the coming welterweight title fight between Georges St. Pierre and Carlos Condit.
"I like Johny," Kampmann said. "I used to train with him. He's a good guy and I think we could make a hell of a scrap."
Mike Chiesa submitted teammate Al Iaquinta in the co-main event to win the TUF Live tournament.
Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and rival Urijah Faber acted as coaches on the 15th season of the popular reality show, which featured a cast lightweight fighters.
Chiesa, who fought for Team Faber, tripped teammate Iaquinta at the mid-way point of the first round. From there, he took back control and slipped in rear-naked choke for the impressive victory.
"This is exactly what I wanted," Chiesa said. "This was such journey. I wasn't going to sell myself short by losing this fight. "Hats off to Al, he's an animal."
While living in the TUF house, Chiesa's father, Mark, died of leukemia. His mother and sister joined him in the octagon as UFC president Dana White awarded him the TUF trophy.
Two fights at featherweight, two impressive submission victories for Charles Oliveira, putting Jonathan Brookins with a guillotine choke in an entertaining scrap.
Much of the bout saw the two exchange strikes on the feet, but in the second round Oliveira grabbed a body lock while the TUF 12 winner attacked the neck with a guillotine-choke attempt. The dynamic Brazilian then secured a slam and managed to escape the hold. As Brookins tried to scramble to his feet, Oliveira slapped on the choke, forcing the talented wrestler to submit.
"145 pounds is my division," Oliveira said through a translator. "I'm taking it step-by-step to win my belt."
Max Holloway battered Pat Schilling en route to a unanimous decision in a battle of featherweights.
A series of vicious body shots from Holloway completely changed the tempo of the fight in the second round, as a wounded Schilling became more defensive. Schilling desperately tried to get Holloway down, but couldn't get the job done.
Later in the bout, Holloway looked as though he could have finished Schilling with ground-and-pound, but opted not to pursue him on the mat, instead forcing his opponent to return to his feet.
Cruz's first-round pick Justin Lawrence scored a highlight-reel knockout of John Cofer.
Lawrence's striking and takedown defence proved too much for Cofer, who struggled to get the fight to the ground. Early in the third round, Lawrence uncorked a vicious high kick that cracked Cofer right on the jaw and sent the Team Faber fighter crashing towards the mat.
It was an easy night for the judges on the undercard. The only bout to go the distance saw Team Faber's Daron Cruickshank win a competitive unanimous decision over Team Cruz's Chris Tickle.
Team Cruz's Myles Jury submitted Team Faber's Chris Saunders in the first round.
After catching a flying-knee attempt, Saunders took Jury to the mat, but got in a guillotine choke on the way down. Saunders struggled to escape, but couldn't break Jury's grip and was forced to tap out."
Team Cruz fighter Sam Sicilia put Team Faber's Cristiano Marcello away with punches in a sloppy brawl.
Team Faber's Joe Proctor flattened Team Cruz's Jeremy Larsen with a vicious knee in the first round.
The evening got off to a controversial start, as referee Kim Winslow awarded UFC newcomer Erik Perez a technical-submission victory over John Albert.
Though he was trapped in an armbar, Albert was manoeuvring his body to escape the hold. As he was doing so, Winslow stepped in to stop the bout, claiming Albert verbally submitted.
Prior to bouts, fighters are warned that if they scream or groan while stuck in a hold, the ref will interpret it as a verbal submission.