When a fight card boasts a veritable triple main event, as tonight's (Sat., Nov. 19, 2011) UFC 139: "Shogun vs. Henderson" does, it's easy to lose a solid match-up or two in the shuffle. No hype, no expectation, no attention.
It's a shame, really. Because when Rick Story and Martin Kampmann lock 'em up live on pay-per-view, we're in for a real treat. A welterweight war, as it were. Or at least, that's what they're promising.
We've got good reason to believe them. Story, despite his strong wrestling base, has been providing thrillers with the likes of Johny Hendricks, Thiago Alves and Charlie Brenneman. He's hungry, too, eager to get back on the hog and ride after dropping a hard fought decision to "The Spaniard."
Sure, Story could play it safe and try to grind out a win. But how likely is it that his opponent, who has everything to lose, will let him?
Martin Kampmann has long been considered a middle of the road fighter, a talented martial artist who gives just as much as he takes.
It took just one blowout loss at middleweight to send him down to 170-pounds where he's found mixed success. He's 4-3, actually, including wins over Paulo Thiago and current top contender, Carlos Condit.
The devil is in the details, though, and "The Hitman" hasn't been whacking anyone as of late. It's been over a year since he last had his hand raised and in the dog-eat-dog world of the UFC, there's never any time to waste on slumps and losing streaks.
Kampmann's saving grace may be the fact that both his losses this past year have been tightly contested decisions. In fact, you could even argue he should have been declared the winner in both fights.
Could have, would have, should have.
Great fighters don't come close, they get the job done when it's time to shine. Kampmann gets his chance -- maybe his last one -- to prove he can still do just that against a game opponent who was knocking on the door to a title shot just months ago.
Either way, this one is a powder keg. When the horn sounds to light the fuse, it shall be most interesting to see who survives the boom.