by Damon Maritn – MMAWeekly.com
The early part of UFC Fight Night 19 in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Wednesday night might not have been the headliners for the show, but Carlos Condit, Jake Ellenberger, Nate Quarry, and Tim Credeur obviously set out to steal the show as the early fights were two close and unbelievably exciting contests.
Returning to the Octagon for the first time since losing a close decision in his debut fight against Martin Kampmann, Carlos Condit had a lot to prove. His late replacement opponent, Jake Ellenberger, knew that he could make a major move in the 170-pound weight class with a win over the former WEC champion.
Early in the first round, Ellenberger looked like the better striker as he toppled Condit with a few heavy right hands that forced the New Mexico native to turtle up and go on the defensive. Ellenberger controlled top position, and kept Condit moving from the bottom as he dominated the early part of the bout.
“I was seeing stars for a second and I just figured I need to come back, I need to keep moving, or they’re going to stop the fight,” Condit said following the fight, talking about a very tough first round.
Condit came back strong in the second round after being taken down and then reversing the position with a Kimura that landed him in mount. “The Natural Born Killer” went for the finish looking for punches and elbows, but slipped out when trying for a submission from the back of Ellenberger.
The third round saw Ellenberger fading a bit, as Condit continued on the offensive, taking his opponent to the ground, blasting away and trying for the finish. Condit nearly caught Ellenberger with a rear naked choke, but the Nebraska born fighter got out. The fight closed out with Condit taking Ellenberger’s back, reigning down shots. In the end, Condit got the nod by split decision in a back and forth fight that Ellenberger should also be commended for.
“There’s a lot of tough up-and-comers in the welterweight division,” Condit commented after getting the win and returning to contender’s status. “Any one of them would be a great fight for me. I’m just looking forward to seeing who Joe Silva and Dana White put in front of me next.”
The first fight of the night also established a very high bar for the remainder of the card as Nate Quarry and Tim Credeur went to war in a three-round slugfest, with Quarry coming out on top via unanimous decision.
The first round set the tone for the entire fight as Credeur caught Quarry with a punch right behind the ear that put “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 1 competitor down on the mat, and the Louisiana native rushed in for a rear naked choke looking for the finish. Quarry battled out of the submission, and came back stronger than ever in the second round.
With both fighters winging punches, Quarry clipped Credeur with a good punch, and then followed up with another that buckled his opponent’s knees. The remainder of the round saw Quarry use his ground and pound to keep Credeur on the defensive.
Technique went flying out of the cage in the third round as both fighters turned the fight into a slugfest, with Quarry and Credeur looking for the kill. Quarry again popped Credeur with a number of good shots, landing the better strikes, and putting together some good combinations on his way to victory.
“The game plan was really simple so I wouldn’t forget it… go and fight,” Quarry said with a smile after the win. “For part of the fight I actually forgot that and I was just standing and taking punches.”
While it may be a bout to be remembered, Quarry is completely okay with not repeating it again, and going back to first round finishes.
“I’ve been in three-round decision wars now and I’ve had first round knockouts,” Quarry commented. “Don’t let anybody tell you different, first round knockouts are way better. They’re a lot less painful.”
Both fighters can hold their heads high after a show stealer to start the night’s live event.