They may soon have to change Martin Kampmann‘s name from ‘The Hitman’ to ‘The Comeback Kid’.
Down but never out, the Danish import who now trains out of Las Vegas showed once again on Friday night what heart and determination can do for you in a fight.
Facing ultra tough Jake Ellenberger, who was riding a six-fight win streak, Kampmann heard all the stories about how he was very dangerous in the early part of the fight.
Kampmann even acknowledged it when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio before the bout ever happened.
“I think Jake’s definitely more dangerous in the first (two) rounds. He comes out hard, he swings really hard and he commits really hard with his punches so that takes a lot of energy out of you, but at the same time those punches land really heavy so I think the first round is where he’s going to be the most dangerous,” Kampmann said.
Like something out of a Harry Potter novel, the prophecy certainly came true as Ellenberger came storming out of the gate and blasted Kampmann with a huge left hook that sent the Xtreme Couture fighter crashing down to the mat.
Ellenberger flew in looking for the finish, but Kampmann’s survival mode trumped him as he was able to pull guard and stave off any other huge strikes on the ground. The remainder of the first was spent essentially stalled out on the mat as the fighters jockeyed for position.
Throughout his career, Kampmann has been a notoriously slow starter and he almost paid for it in the first round against Ellenberger, but he survived. He admits next time he needs his coach to smack him a little bit harder in the back so he can wake up.
“Usually, we actually forgot this time, but usually Ray (Sefo) will smack me a little bit around in the back, he forgot to smack me. Next time he needs to smack me some more cause I need to get punched a little bit to wake up,” Kampmann said.
Well the first round certainly served as a wake up call because Kampmann was reborn in the 2nd as he came out gunning for Ellenberger. As the fighters exchanged strikes, Kampmann clipped his opponent with a quick, short right hand that didn’t look like much, but it wobbled Ellenberger who was soon on rubber legs.
After hesitating for a moment, Kampmann saw the danger that Ellenberger was in and so he rushed towards him and grabbed for the clinch and started to unload knees. The third one was the charm because it tagged Ellenberger on the chin and he dropped to the mat, and as his arms fell back over his head the referee had seen enough.
“I saw an opportunity to finish and I just wanted to get it,” Ellenberger said as he described the finish.
Now a winner of three fights in a row, and possibly four if not for a horrendous judging call in his bout against Diego Sanchez, Martin Kampmann is once again primed for a potential run at the UFC welterweight title.
It’s a life long dream of the Dane to win the UFC gold, and it appears he’ll have to go through an old friend to get there.
“I like Johny (Hendricks), I use to train with Johny. He’s a good guy and I think me and him could make a hell of a scrap,” said Kampmann about a potential No. 1 contender’s bout with Johny Hendricks.
Hendricks has recently defeated two former title contenders in Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck, and now it looks like he’ll face Kampmann later this year with the winner taking on either Carlos Condit or Georges St-Pierre.
Meanwhile, Jake Ellenberger’s winning streak comes to an end, but obviously not without coming so close to ending it in the first round. Some complained that the stoppage in the fight was too early, but Ellenberger’s somber mood was just about congratulating his opponent on a job well done.
“I knew Martin’s going to be a tough fight coming in. He caught me, he had a better night,” said Ellenberger. “It’s not up to me it’s up to the ref, he had a better night what can you do.”
With interim champion Carlos Condit and UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre poised for a potential showdown rumored for November, adding a No. 1 contender’s bout between Kampmann and Hendricks could be the perfect complementary fight for the card.