UFC Fight Night 27: "Condit vs. Kampmann "' takes place this Wednesday (Aug. 28, 2013) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., featuring what should be a barnburner in the main event.
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit takes on Martin Kampmann for the second time in a rematch of their memorable fight at UFC Fight Night 18 in 2009. Both men are looking to hop back into the win category with their focus on the 170-pound championship.
Three The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winners round-up the main card on Fox Sports 1, as TUF 11 winner Court McGee battles "The Smashes" winner Robert Whittaker and TUF 17 champ Kelvin Gastelum meets Brian Melancon.
Several interesting storylines, including title pictures, event consistency and the state of The Ultimate Fighter winners are all on the radar, as we take a look at five burning questions heading into UFC Fight Night 27 this Wednesday night.
Drum roll please ...
5. Where will Court McGee's career take him after Robert Whittaker?
McGee has got to be feeling the intensity right now. He should already be feeling a burning sensation on the inside days away from his fight on Wednesday night. McGee's inspiring story was touching to say the least. After being a recovering heroin addict, he looked at his infant son in a bathtub and said he was going to win The Ultimate Fighter 11. Not only did he win, but also he looked menacing against Kris McCray making the latter look like anything but a finalist. McGee enjoyed a second consecutive submission victory after that fight with a win over Ryan Jensen and took home the hard-fought victory against Dongi Yang a year later.
However a game Costa Philippou got the better of him in Sydney, Australia, six months later at UFC on FX 2 and lost a battle to Nick Ring four months after that. He did pickup a victory over Josh Neer, dropping down to welterweight earlier this year at UFC 157 seven months after the fight with Ring. Although injuries are a part of the game, these layoffs could be hurting McGee. He also showed that he has a tough time adapting to stiffer competition, even if the Ring decision was questionable.
McGee is not in dire need of a win or even in fearful standing with the company; however, if he cannot get the job done against the hard-hitting Robert Whittaker (another TUF winner), he should at least be worried. McGee would be 1-3 based on his last four bouts and although he is 1-0 in the welterweight division, which could be approached as a new beginning, a loss cannot hide the fact that McGee's aspirations would hit a fork in the road for the time being.
4. Will Kelvin Gastelum continue his winning ways?
TUF 17 winner will not only be remembered as the middleweight winner for that season, but onlookers will also hold him responsible for derailing Uriah Hall 's hype train. Gastelum looked sufficient in the striking department but his relentless takedowns and sheer power really left no doubt in anyone's mind that he deserved top honors in last year's installment of TUF. He now faces Brian Melancon, who has won two straight including a vicious knockout over Seth Baczynski. The Strikeforce veteran trains under Ricco Rodriguez at The Paradigm Training Center in Houston with a purple belt in jiu-jitsu -- so it will be interesting to see these ground-fighting styles clash on Wednesday night.
Will Melancon want to trade on the feet with Gastelum instead? Fresh off a knockout with blooming confidence, it is safe to assume that is his frame of mind.
TUF winners are sometimes hard to develop because instead of feeding them to the wolves, they usually get tough, durable opponents who possess the same skill level more often than not. However what if they lose that first fight and then drop a second consecutively? The assumption that UFC has a soft spot for TUF winners is more true than not -- winning a tournament and getting let go shortly after does not look good for business.
3. Could Rafael dos Anjos ever emerge as a title contender?
Getting through Donald Cerrone is a tough task in itself but if Rafael Dos Anjos could come out on top, he needs to be considered as one of the better lightweights who is that much closer to having his name thrown around next to the champion's.
Dos Anjos has not exactly defeated slouches in his UFC career but he is missing the big one -- an impressive win over an opponent who may be favored or is billed as a better fighter than Dos Anjos is at first glance. Cerrone may or may not be that individual -- he is 3-2 in his last five fights and he has faced a who's-who crop of fighters including Anthony Pettis, Nate Diaz, Melvin Guillard and Benson Henderson (twice) and because of his popularity, star power and gritty fighting spirit, he is always one win away from possible contention. If Cerrone wins on Wednesday night, he gets easily recognized. Dos Anjos? He still needs to work a little harder.
After losing his first two UFC bouts to Jeremy Stephens and Tyson Griffin, Dos Anjos has gone an impressive 8-4 since then with minor slip-ups at the hands of Clay Guida and Gleison Tibau -- showing determination and will against the fellow Brazilian. If Dos Anjos can defeat the skilled and long-serving Donald Cerrone, it should put him closer to title talk -- or at least being considered "in the mix." What does not help him is the stockpile of lightweights that constantly emerge after every fight card -- being arguably the best division in all of the sport.
2. Could UFC's second event on FS1 impressively feed off the first?
To be fair, last week's UFC Fight Night 26: "Shogun vs. Sonnen" was stacked for the simple reason that Dana White and company wanted to impress their new partners by dishing out some of the most compelling match ups on one card in quite a while. Their second show on Fox Sports 1 ("Prelims" on Fox Sports 2) is not nearly as stacked and there is not the same excitement that surrounds this event, which is obviously understandable. The average fan may know half the guys on this card but the fact that we keep on getting events broadcasted for free on television should be enough to keep us happy. The ratings surely won't match Fight Night 26's, but it does not make this card any less appealing for true fight fans. Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann, Donald Cerrone vs. Rafael Dos Anjos, Hatsui Hioki vs. Darren Elkins and Takeya Mizugaki vs. Erik Perez are just a few of the offerings that have been presented. If you know anything about these previously mentioned athletes, you will expect for these fights to deliver.
Although the main card lost a bit of luster with a potential Fight of The Night candidate when Sara McMann was forced to drop out of her fight with Sarah Kaufman, the fans would be greedy to complain about the string of bouts on Wednesday night. Also, the promotion has a wave of spectacular events to close out the year -- so consider this as the appetizer. Although can it keep the short streak of perfection going on FS1?
1. Will Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann 2 end decisively?
Condit and Kampmann first met at UFC Fight Night 18 in Nashville, Tenn., back more than three years ago. And although it was a close fight, Kampmann won via split decision. Close fights have resorted to being called controversial -- it seems that in any fight that could have gone either way is called a "robbery" or even worse a "disgrace." Fans, media and even fighters have now grown accustomed to blaming judges and even pinpointing the ones that constantly fail miserably at deciding the victor and although investigations like those are needed, close fights are exactly that -- close fights. Kampmann's win over Condit is best described as a close fight -- some may feel that Kampmann easily won two rounds-to-one, while others feel the exact opposite in favor of Condit and depending on who you ask, those three rounds could have been a toss-up. A simple remedy would be to score more draws but this is mixed martial arts (MMA) -- we come to see a distinctive winner at all times.
Hopefully Wednesday night will prove that notion. Both Condit and Kampmann are arguably the best fighters in the welterweight division apart from UFC 167's Georges St. Pierre and Johny Hendricks with a track record to prove it. Ironically, both are coming off losses to Johny Hendricks, with Kampmann getting the worse out of the two losing by knockout in less than a minute. This fight should prove to be decisive, since they have had a combined 15 fights since their last meeting; which guarantees a different fight altogether. But what if these men are simply match up against one another too well? What if one man gets the better of the other on the ground and vice versa for the standup department? It does feel like many -- including the whole welterweight division -- will closely watch this one.
For more news and notes, be sure to check out our complete UFC Fight Night 27 news archive here.