This week two of the top welterweights in the UFC, Diego Sanchez and Martin Kampmann, headlined a show in Louisville, Kentucky.
Both are former middleweight champs, now fighting in the weight division ruled by reigning champion Georges St Pierre, and both have had the UFC title within their reach but come up short.
Albuquerque native Sanchez was a middleweight when he won the first season of The Ultimate Fighter in April 2005 beating out Kenny Florian.
He then fought as a welterweight winning six fights straight in the UFC before losing to Josh Koscheck at UFC 69 in April 2007. A few fights later he was campaigning at lightweight and defeated Joe Stevenson at UFC 95 in February 2009. His big shot came when he fought for the lightweight belt in December 2009 against BJ Penn. He lost by way of TKO after suffering a cut.
It looked like Sanchez wanted the win more as both fighters ended the bout with the faces covered in blood. It was a great fight and they knew it. Sanchez's aggression may have swayed the judges in his favour with him being awarded the decision win on unanimous scores of 29-28 pulling out a close win.
Quotes of the week
Five months later Sanchez moved back up to welterweight and was surprisingly beaten on points by Britain's John Hathaway. He continued to fight at this weight and won his last fight in October 2010 at UFC 121 beating Paulo Thiago in a fight that was declared "Fight of the Night". This win put him back in contention for another shot at a belt.
Kampmann was born in Denmark but now fights out of Las Vegas. He started his UFC career as a middleweight and won his first four fights. At UFC 88 he faced Nate Marquardt and was KO'd in the first round.
Following that defeat he moved down to welterweight where he has been campaigning since. He won two fights and then ran into Paul Daley at UFC 103 in September 2009 and was KO'd again in the first round setting him back once more.
Two wins later, Kampmann fought former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields who was making his UFC debut at UFC 121. This was a final eliminator for a shot at GSP and a big chance for Kampmann but he lost a very close fight to Shields who will now fight GSP next month.
The Kampmann v Sanchez fight ended up being an action-packed bout with both fighters finishing the fight with their faces busted up and Sanchez was a bloody mess.
The first round was all Kampmann as he used his superior standup skills to pick his accurate punches. Sanchez's gameplan was to get Kampmann down but he tried at least five times and couldn't do it as Kampmann's takedown defence was too good.
A straight right to the head of the southpaw Sanchez dropped him. Kampmann got a headlock in as Sanchez rose to his feet so he landed knees to his head. The face of Sanchez was covered in blood and Kampmann easily took the first round on the cards.
In the second round, Sanchez, who was flabbier than usual, came out swinging, landing some shots. He was getting closer as Kampmann tried to keep his distance avoiding more takedown attempts.
Both guys stood and traded punches in close with Sanchez landing the harder shots that momentarily hurt Kampmann. He had cuts on his right eye, one under and one over, but Kampmann's standup was still better as he landed hard shots of his own.
Going into the final round it was arguably an even fight or Kampmann could have been up on the cards. Both fighters had success landing punches but Sanchez was continuing to push forward trying to get a takedown, which he finally got with about two minutes left in the fight. He also got side control, but Kampmann got up quickly.
The fight was close but Sanchez pushed forward and was swinging wildly with punches. Kampmann landed a right hand with about a minute to go and immediately shook it like the shot had hurt him. Sanchez pushed some more as if he had seen what happened.
It looked like Sanchez wanted the win more as both fighters ended the bout with the faces covered in blood. It was a great fight and they knew it.
Sanchez's aggression may have swayed the judges in his favour with him being awarded the decision win on unanimous scores of 29-28 pulling out a close win.
They were each awarded the "Fight of the Night" getting a $60,000 bonus but a little while later UFC President, Dana White, gave them each another $100,000 bonus.
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