by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Martin Kampmann took a big step forward in the welterweight division on Wednesday night as the Xtreme Couture fighter picked up a split decision win over former WEC champion Carlos Condit in the main event of UFC Fight Night 18 in Nashville, Tenn.
Kampmann looked solid early catching Condit in a deep guillotine choke that looked like it could finish the fight in the first round. The New Mexico native eventually battled his way out, and even his opponent was impressed.
“It was deep, I thought I had him,” Kampmann said about the guillotine choke. “I thought I had him, but Carlos is really tough, really tough, that was a war.”
Despite both fighters having strong kickboxing backgrounds, it was clear early on that the biggest part of the battle could take place on the ground, with both Condit and Kampmann taking the other down throughout the fight.
In one exchange that ended up on the ground, Condit dropped down a heavy shot that opened a cut under Kampmann’s eye that started to bleed immediately. Kampmann persevered the cut and made it out of the round before further damage was inflicted.
The second round again saw Kampmann landing a nice takedown and working his ground attack before Condit finally escaped. Another scramble on the ground later in the round led to Condit taking Kampmann’s back and nearly locking on a rear naked choke. As Condit transitioned to try and get the mount, Kampmann ended up rolling and landing in his opponent’s guard before the round ended.
The final round may have been the deciding factor in the fight and Kampmann did everything right by taking Condit down and controlling the pace in the fight. The former WEC welterweight champion struggled to get out from under Kampmann, who pressed forward and landed strikes while grinding out a tough fight.
In the end, two judges saw Kampmann do enough to win, while judge Cecil Peoples gave the fight to Carlos Condit. In the end, Martin Kampmann picked up a split decision win, and instant placement as a contender in the UFC’s welterweight division.
“Thanks to Carlos, that was a great fight,” Kampmann commented after the victory. “He’s a true warrior, it could have went either way.”