UFC Fight Night 25 Fighter of the Night: Jake Ellenberger is Here, Loud and Clear

September 19, 2011

Jake Ellenberger

Jake Ellenberger

A few years ago, some guys with a thing for comic books and a lot of time on their hands dubbed their voices over an episode of an old X-Men cartoon. The video’s main emphasis, the mutant known as “Juggernaut,” constantly reminded the other characters of who he was, and was surprised if they weren’t already familiar with his M.O.

UFC Fight Night 25 main event victor Jake Ellenberger probably shares this annoyance, as he’s been on a path of destruction since debuting in the UFC, but not too many have taken notice.

Saturday night in New Orleans, he served that notice.

Ellenberger’s opponent, Jake Shields, hadn’t lost a fight in seven years prior to his last two outings, and although he had to deal with the recent loss of his father, one can’t totally dismiss how dangerous the former Strikeforce middleweight champion can be. With that in mind, Ellenberger had a tough task in front of him on fight night.

“One of my biggest wins,” Ellenberger said shortly after upsetting Shields. “I can’t take away anything Jake Shields has done; he’s a multiple-time world champion.”

When in close combat, Ellenberger seemed physically stronger than Shields, throwing the Northern California resident around like a rag doll at certain points. When Ellenberger finally locked in a Thai clinch, he fiercely lifted a knee that dropped his opposition on the way to pounding him out and forcing the technical knockout.

Much like the massive mutant from the Marvel Comics series, “The Juggernaut” Jake Ellenberger plowed through his competition and left nothing but a trail of debris in the Octagon. He did so just as fast as the comic book character, too, with the TKO coming within the first minute of the opening round.

“It happened really fast,” he said. “I got him in the clinch, I hit him with some knees. Mark (Munoz) and I (have) been working on… just striking from every position.

“I knew he was hurt, so I just went for the finish.”

If welterweights weren’t aware of who “The Juggernaut” was prior to UFC Fight Night 25, they should know by now. This kid is wrecking shop and a lot of people are going to get hurt on his climb up the 170-pound rankings.

Now would be an appropriate time for Ellenberger to yell, “Don’t you know who I am?! I’m the Fighter of the Night, (expletive)!”

Honorable Mention: the courage of Jake Shields

Jake Shields

All humor aside, Jake Shields should be applauded for committing to fight at UFC Fight Night 25. It would have been perfectly acceptable for him to bow out of his fight with Ellenberger after the passing of his father three weeks ago, but Shields fought anyway. The loss of his father and manager, Jack Shields, was a devastating loss to the welterweight and the impact is much heavier than any loss he can experience inside of a cage, ring, or any other arena of combat.

Fathers teach their children right from wrong, provide them with advice, and exemplify the courage it takes to get jobs done. What Shields did on Saturday night was showcase that courage and compete, regardless of the heavy emotional burden he carries.

That, right there, is a tougher man than most. And despite Ellenberger’s obvious physical strength advantage in the Octagon, Shields’ mental strength allowed him to follow through with testing a tough welterweight.

Despite being on the losing end of things, Jack would likely be proud of his son, Jake.

Worth a Mention: MMA and boxing made headlines for different reasons on Saturday

After UFC Fight Night 25 was over, most of the combat sports world turned to the championship boxing fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Victor Ortiz. It’s safe to say that the boxing fight made as many, if not more, headlines as the UFC leading into Saturday.

While the UFC was pleased to see an underdog in Jake Ellenberger win a main event against Jake Shields, boxing’s biggest story after the fights wasn’t the fact that the WBC welterweight title changed hands. No, unfortunately, the controversy that came from cheap shots and arguing with elderly post-fight interviewers was the hot topic in the boxing world.

Sports is filled with controversy. At this point, it’s almost a requirement that something is fowl or fixed in every sport. But when it takes over as the main reason people search through their favorite sports media outlet, it becomes sad.

What could have been an entertaining fight between two of the world’s best 147-pound fighters, turned into illegal blows, sucker punches, and a circus of excuses being thrown back-and-forth. Then there is the fact that the most memorable moment from the fight came after it when Larry Merchant took his mic after being berated by Mayweather and said, “I wish I was 50 years younger and I’d kick your ass!”

The headlines differed in mixed martial arts than they did in boxing, but it could have been so much better. Given, it’s entertaining, but if fans want to be entertained by that, go watch Jerry Springer. Let the rest of fight fans watch some real fights.

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