UFC’s debut on Fuel TV debuted last night with a six-bout offering on the station capped off with an early Fight of the year candidate when Diego Sanchez and Jake Ellenberger put on an instant classic that left the pro-Ellenberger crowd begging for another 10 minutes of action.
As always I will break down what comes in the future of those who left Omaha, Nebraska with their hands raised last night.
In one of the signature performances of his career that those who witnessed it won’t soon forget Ellenberger used his opponent’s aggression against him picking him apart with counter strikes and hooks to the body and possibly breaking the nose of the former title-challenger.
Sanchez took control of the tiring Ellenberger in the final frame but it was too little too late for the former Ultimate Fighter who threw everything but the kitchen sink at Ellenberger but he wasn’t able to put him away.
The next step for Ellenberger is simple, a rematch with the UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit – Most are advising the Greg Jackson trained striker to wait in the wings for George St-Pierre’s return in November but that is a long ways away.
Right now Condit has the most momentum behind him he has ever had while he’s fresh off the win over Stockton’s Nick Diaz, why squander that?
Ellenberger and Condit met in 2009 in the promotional debut of Ellenberger and he wasted no time making an impact almost beating the former WEC champ and ringing in a 10-8 score card in the first frame before Ellenberger took over to win a split decision.
The narrative for a rematch writes itself and is the logical next step for both men; I don’t see why it won’t happen.
Struve isn’t someone I categorize as an elite top-level heavyweight, he presents a fan-friendly style going balls to the wall looking to kill or be killed but he has silently chipped away a respectable record going 7-4 in the UFC and having won 3 of his last 5 fights.
I don’t think he’s ready to tussle with the Dos Santos’ and Velasquez’s of the world but pairing him up with the winner of UFC 144’s heavyweight tilt between Mark Hunt and Cheick Kongo would be appropriate.
Both men are known for having high-level striking with Hunt even being a former K-1 kick boxing champion so pairing them up with Struve will make an interesting fight and push the winner into the top-ten ranks.
Markes has been an unproven prospect before last night; the once beaten middleweight had never fought in the UFC’s middleweight division and didn’t get an easy opponent to greet him in Aaron Simpson.
Both men battled for fifteen-minutes and when all was said and done there were varying score cards but the ones that mattered gave the fight in favor of the 23-year-old Brazilian.
At first glance it looks as if Markes has the tools to tangle with the big boys at 185-pounds down the line but putting him on a fast-track there isn’t the right move for him, a fight with the winner of Constantinos Phillipou and Court McGee.
Phillipou and McGee are two men that the UFC has high-hopes for to stick around for a while much like Markes and would be a good test to see if he’s ready to keep climbing that ladder.
Miocic was thrown in the cage with Phil De Fries with one purpose – To risk future brain damage in a barn burner of the fight that satisfies the Nebraskans in attendance and that’s what they got, for 43 seconds – That’s all it took for the Croatian kickboxer to put him away.
Miocic sports an unbeaten record with two victories in the octagon and has looked impressive both outings, pairing him up with a tough winning heavyweight would be appropriate – Someone like Mike Russow.
Russow is unbeaten in four octagon appearances and recently edged John Olav Einemo, while I don’t expect Russow to be walking around with UFC gold anytime soon he is a tough wrestler with a sturdy chin and heavy-hands and will show us where Miocic stands.
TJ Dillashaw & Ivan Menjivar:
There have been many questioning the worth or potential of Dillashaw following his first professional loss to John Dodson but he proved his naysayers wrong last night with an absolutely dominate performance nabbing five 10-8 rounds according to the judges.
This Team Alpha Male product is still a work in progress but I have a feeling that the finished product is going to be something pretty special, a solid test for him moving forward would be the other man who got his hand raised in the opening fight of the Fuel telecast, Ivan Mejivar.
Menjivar is a long-time veteran of the sport with a bigger bag of tricks than almost anyone in the game, “The Pride of El Salvador” put on a thrilling four-minute fight that had the crowd gasping at the near-finishes on both ends but he proved to be too much for The Ultimate Fighter cast-off John Albert.
Pairing these two up will give Dillashaw a real test at 135-pounds while also putting on a thriller of a fight because Menjivar brings action and violence to the table in many shapes and forms.
Make sure to add Justin on Twitter: @justinfauxmma
Get more great MMA news and analysis over at MMA Sucka.