Martin Kampmann vs Johny Hendricks on Saturday Night!

On Saturday night, top welterweight contenders will finally face off to move further up the ladder of one of the toughest divisions in MMA. Johny Hendricks, lover of The Baconator, will test out his high-caliber NCAA wrestling and powerful hands against one of the most underrated grapplers and resilient welterweights around, Martin Kampmann.

With a potential win over Johny Hendricks, one can make the argument that Martin Kampmann would be a fantastic candidate for “MMA Fighter of The Year” (2012). In March, he defeated Thiago Alves in a memorable comeback via guillotine choke submission. Then in June, he endured a difficult first round from top five welterweight Jake Ellenberger, before coming back and finishing Jake off with a great knee and punches. If he finds a way to defeat Hendricks, his resume is arguably more impressive than any of the current 2012 UFC champion’s resumes. JDS has beaten Mir, and is scheduled to fight Velasquez at the end of the year. Jones beat a legitimate opponent in Evans, and he did submit Vitor, but Vitor hadn’t fought at 205 lbs in years. Silva beat top rival Sonnen, but Bonnar was hardly a decent opponent for Silva. GSP hasn’t even fought yet, a win over Condit doesn’t make him the “MMA Fighter of the Year”. But if Condit somehow wins, he could earn that award with upset wins over Diaz and GSP. Henderson beat Edgar fairly the first time, the second time was controversial. We’ll see how he does against Nate Diaz. Jose Aldo violently finished off Chad Mendes, but injuries forced him out of fights with Koch and Edgar. Cruz was out the whole year. Demetrious Johnson had a draw in March with number one ranked Ian McCall, but came back to defeat McCall and Joseph Benavidez, making him have the best resume of all the champions so far in 2012. Kampmann will deserve serious consideration with a win on Saturday night.

Another argument to be made is that this is the second biggest and best welterweight fight you can make right now (the first being GSP vs Condit). Martin Kampmann is the only man to defeat Carlos Condit in the UFC and WEC (it was an excellent close fight).  Since then, he’s defeated Paulo Thiago, Rick Story, Thiago Alves and Jake Ellenberger. His losses to Daley, Shields, and Sanchez were very much discussed. The loss to Daley was accused of having a premature stoppage. While the decision losses to Shields (a dull fight) and Sanchez (an awesome war) were controversial decisions in many circles. Nevertheless, he is now riding a three fight win streak and Kampmann is back in title contention despite being put in many vulnerable situations. Johny Hendricks lost to Rick Story in 2010, but he has come back strongly since that loss. He went on to defeat Mike Pierce (one of the most underrated welterweights in the UFC) in a close tough fight. Then he did something that only GSP has done in the UFC, he beat Jon Fitch inside the octagon, with a nasty 12 second KO. Then he followed that up by defeating Josh Koscheck via decision. This fight is, without a doubt, the 2nd best welterweight fight you can have at this point in time, as they have dispatched of previous top contenders like Ellenberger (who had destroyed Shields; also had long streak of wins), Fitch (consensus number two welterweight for years;former title challenger), and Koscheck (top five welterweight;former title challenger) or have beaten legit tough opponents like Alves (former title challenger), Story (former top ten fighter) and Pierce within the past 12 months.

Whoever wins, should be awarded with either a title eliminator or with a direct title shot at the winner of GSP vs Carlos Condit. Excited to see what happens on Saturday night, I would personally like to see the winner get a direct title shot. It could be seen as a mini UFC welterweight grand prix, with the winner of GSP-Condit facing the winner of Kampmann-Hendricks. GSP vs Henricks, Condit vs Kampmann II, Condit vs Hendricks, and GSP vs Kampmann are all interesting in their own ways.


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