Ellenberger took one step closer to a shot at the welterweight
title on Wednesday night, gutting out a unanimous decision win over
Sanchez in the main event of
UFC on Fuel “Ellenberger vs. Sanchez” at the Omaha Civic
Auditorium in Omaha, Neb.
Sanchez and Ellenberger traded relatively evenly to start, but
Ellenberger drew first blood toward the end of the opening stanza,
landing a hard knee and then a counter jab, hook combination that
knocked the original “Ultimate Fighter” winner on his
Sanchez attempted to mix up his attack in the second frame by
throwing a variety of kicks, but Ellenberger answered by using a
stiff jab to keep ”The Dream” at bay. Though the Jackson’s Mixed
Martial Arts representative landed a pair of hard right hooks
midway through the period, Ellenberger finished the round by
executing a perfectly timed double-leg takedown and crisp elbows
from Sanchez’s guard.
Ellenberger continued to use an excellent counter attack in the
third stanza, pumping a sharp jab into his opponent’s bloodied mug.
Sanchez eventually pushed through the attacks, however, landing
some clean shots of his own and taking the Nebraskan’s back. Firing
with everything he had left in the tank, Sanchez pounded away at
the hometown favorite in an effort to finish, but could not force
the stoppage as the round expired.
“Diego is known for that, man. He’s the toughest guy I’ve fought.
No matter what happens, he’s in there until the end. It’s an honor
to fight him,” Ellenberger told UFC commentator Jon Anik in his
post-fight interview. “That was a tough position, and I was tired,
but I just tried to fight through it. I’ve been there a million
times, but you have to stay in there mentally. He’s a warrior.”
Struve Rallies Once Again
Struve got back on track with another come-from-behind victory
in his co-headlining heavyweight attraction, earning a second-round
technical knockout over Sengoku veteran Dave
Herman overcame his distinct reach disadvantage in round one,
stepping inside of Struve’s long-range arsenal to deliver crisp
shots to the head and body of “Skyscraper.”
“The first round, it wasn’t fireworks like you guys are used to
when I fight,” Struve explained after the bout. “I think jet lag
caught up with me a bit this week. I slept about four of five hours
every night, so my energy was a little low.”
The Dutchman managed to briefly turn the tables in round two
however, executing a body-lock takedown and landing in full mount.
Though little would come of the position after a slick escape from
Herman, Struve began to find his flow in the standup after the
The Dutchman landed a hard body kick and several moments later
connected with a stiff uppercut that buckled the American’s knees.
Struve pounced and again transitioned to mount, this time finishing
the job with punches at 3:52 of round two.
“I can still get 10 times better. I’m turning 24 [years old] this
Saturday,” said Struve. “I hope you guys enjoy watching me fight
for years to come. I love you guys.”
Markes Shines in Middleweight Debut
Brazilian middleweight talent Ronny
Markes edged former Arizona State University wrestling standout
Simpson in a hard-fought bout, walking away with a split
decision victory in his 185-pound debut.
Though Markes was floored by a dynamite right uppercut in the first
frame, he rebounded to make the final two rounds competitive, going
toe-to-toe in the wrestling department with the American and
emerging with the hard-fought win.
“It took a lot of determination to come here and put on a show for
you guys,” Markes said. “[UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva, give me the
opportunity to fight in Brazil.”
Miocic Remains Undefeated
Heavyweight up-and-comer Stipe
Miocic improved his career record to a perfect 8-0 by blasting
the formerly unbeaten Philip De
Fries in just 43 seconds of the first round.
Though the Brit came out swinging for the fences and stunned Miocic
early, the former Golden Gloves champion turned the tide by
cracking De Fries with a hard right straight. From there it was
academic, as Miocic pursued his wounded prey to the cage wall and
dropped him with another right before finishing the job with
punches on the floor.
Dillashaw Controls Watson
Top prospect T.J.
Dillashaw dominated Walel
Watson in their bantamweight confrontation, earning a unanimous
decision with scores of 30-25 (twice) and 30-26.
Dillashaw wasted no time in taking it to his lanky foe, firing a
“Superman” punch down the tube before dumping “The Gazelle” with a
double-leg takedown. The Team Alpha Male product quickly took
Watson’s back and repeatedly attempted to finish the fight with a
Though Watson survived the disastrous round, Dillashaw repeated his
performance in the second frame, popping his rangy opponent with
straight right, snapping him down to the canvas with a single-leg
takedown and unleashing another unanswered hailstorm of offense.
While Watson managed to make the third round more competitive with
a flying triangle attempt, Dillashaw ended the bout on top,
dropping massive elbows until the final horn.
“It felt good to come out here and show my wrestling to all you
Nebraska fans,” Dillashaw said. “I stuck to the plan. He definitely
had the reach advantage, so I had to use my wrestling pedigree. I’m
sorry I didn’t finish it, but he’s got those long arms to fend off
the rear-naked choke. I was trying. He’s a tough guy.”
Menjivar Survives Shaky Start
The Fuel TV broadcast opened with an exciting bantamweight tilt
between 11-year veteran Ivan
Menjivar and “Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 alumnus John Albert.
Though “Prince” appeared to get the better of the striking early,
Menjivar quickly countered with a crisp hip toss and landed in
Albert’s guard, dropping ground-and-pound as his younger opponent
actively threatened with submissions from his back. Though Albert
would escape to his feet and flurry, “The Pride of El Salvador”
weathered the storm, taking Albert’s back and finishing the fight
in 3:45 with a rear-naked choke.
“In my head, I was thinking about [Kazushi] Sakuraba the whole
fight. I was thinking, ‘What he would do in this moment?” Menjivar
said after the back-and-forth bout. “I know experience is
important, but it’s a fight. He’s strong, and he’s in the UFC. He’s
at that level, and he’s dangerous.”