Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) visits Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., for UFC Fight Night 27: "Condit vs. Kampmann 2," being the second event broadcasted on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) in less than two weeks. The mixed martial arts (MMA) main event features a rematch more than three years in the making, as well as two Lightweight contenders eager to prove their worth in the stacked 155-pound division.
Carlos Condit will try and get revenge for his promotional debut loss when he faces Martin Kampmann this Wednesday night (Aug. 28, 2013) in a rematch from their entertaining UFC Fight Night 18 bout. Kampmann won a split decision in a very close fight and will want to prove to the critics that two wins over the former (interim) UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) Welterweight champion were both thoroughly deserved.
A Lightweight contest sure to provide fireworks in the co-main event slot features perennial contender Donald Cerrone taking on Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Rafael dos Anjos in a fight that will determine who takes the next step on the ladder toward 155-pound gold.
With the majority of this card's excitement focused on these two bouts, let us look into the near future and map out what a victory on Wednesday night might mean for these four combat sports stars.
Here we go:
Right off the bat, a win for Condit means he avenges his loss to Kampmann in their scrap three years ago and gets the bitter taste out of his mouth as he lost his promotional debut to the "Hitman." Condit would also get back in the win column after dropping two fights to Georges St. Pierre (for the welterweight championship) and Johny Hendricks, respectively. Those three fights are the only ones he dropped under the Zuffa banner and with a win over Kampmann, he would be considered arguably the top contender yet again.
Condit would be the most accomplished welterweight in the division besides GSP and if he does lose to Kampmann, he would be winless (0-3) in his last three but his job is nowhere near on the line. His well roundedness is always on deck when he fights and this loss will not pin him back too much since his efforts were admirable against both GSP and Hendricks but a second loss to Kampmann -- and a third defeat in a row -- would hurt his title hopes.
Condit's improvement after every fight should be outlined as well -- as his effective gameplans courtesy of Greg Jackson and rugged, warrior-fighting style make him one of the most entertaining and popular fighters in the promotion. Having said that, a win could setup a fight with almost anyone including the winner of Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, resurging Matt Brown or even another rematch with Nick Diaz -- all fights that would make sense for "The Natural Born Killer."
But, a loss would not necessarily signal the end for Condit but he would have to start from scratch. Luckily for him, everyone would still tune in to watch him fight and rate him higher than most of the compatriots in his division. Apart from erasing that defeat to Kampmann, Condit would be in the same boat as someone like Urijah Faber -- constantly overmatches his opponents en route to the title but cannot get it right in the championship bouts.
The only difference between the two is Condit has tasted the UFC gold before and he probably will be in another title fight in the near future if he could deliver the goods on Wednesday night.
After losing to Johny Hendricks at UFC 154, it was clear that Kampmann would have to work a little harder if he ever wanted to be considered as a legitimate tittle threat. When it matters most, Kampmann comes up short and loses his potential title shot (as he did with Paul Daley, Jake Shields and Johny Hendricks) but he cannot let those losses cast a shadow over his career and needs to move forward. His recent wins over Jake Ellenberger and Thiago Alves were quite impressive and Kampmann has the skillset to be a champion.
He just needs to prove that on a consistent basis.
A win over Condit -- especially a finish, no matter how unlikely that may be since his opponent has not been finished in seven years -- will turn some heads. If Kampmann could come out on top and get a win over a former champion, that would be an unambiguous way to convince the masses he is back with his sights set on the road to glory. Having lost his last fight by knockout, it will not get him a title shot right away but one or two more quality wins has him there with no questions asked.
That is if he could get it right on the last stand.
There is also a chance that if Kampmann wins, some may feel like it accomplishes little in his future. Why is that? Simply put, he already has a win over Condit and rematches are a tricky at best to describe. Everyone has a kryptonite. Chael Sonnen has Jeremy Horn. Matt Hughes has Dennis Hallman. Urijah Faber has Mike Brown.
Sometimes someone has your number. That cannot be a reason to overlook Kampmann's potential win but it could be called into action. But both men are completely different fighters from what they were in 2009, more importantly they are better ones so who knows how this fight will pan out when they step inside the cage for a second time.
"Hitman" must put forth a solid performance to avoid a 3-3 record in his last six fights, which would make him that much closer to being a journeyman in his early thirties.
Hopefully, Cerrone's boating incident will not distract him from Rafael dos Anjos as "Cowboy" has had some previous run-ins outside the cage in the past. The lethal Muay Thai kickboxer has been improving his technique as of late, but has been fairly persistent in his UFC fights, losing only two out of nine to Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz. Cerrone would love to avenge his WEC Lightweight championship losses to Ben Henderson and although that may be on the horizon, he cannot look past the extremely tough Dos Anjos.
A win for Cerrone would move him that much closer to either Henderson or Anthony Pettis, and although revenge may be on his mind, winning a title is more important. He is always a joy to watch, proving that not only can he knock dudes out (ask Melvin Guillard), but his submission skills cannot be taken lightly either (ask Dennis Siver).
Bouncing back and looking dominant over K.J. Noons at UFC 160 earlier this summer, his losses against Pettis and Diaz should not prove too costly if he wins this week but he needs to continue his winning ways in a stacked Lightweight division and hopefully, he can look impressive against similar opposition in the long run.
However, he will need another big victory if he wants to see his name in a championship fight anytime soon.
What could work in Cerrone's favor is the success he had in WEC, and although the UFC is as guilty as they come for loving rematches, Cerrone would make a good argument that he could sell another fight with either "Hendo" or "Showtime."
Rafael dos Anjos
Dos Anjos is in a similar position but this is the biggest fight of his life -- the big fight he needs to improve his position as a top contender. His recent string of four-straight wins is certainly impressive and although wins over Mark Bocek and Evan Dunham are hard to come by, he needs a victory over a big name to be considered at the top of the crop when it comes to the division leaders.
A win over Cerrone would get people talking and move him closer to contention, but he still may need more respectable outings for consideration. If the promotion goes by their rankings, Dos Anjos is the last on their list but at least he made the crack. If he wins over Cerrone who is ranked sixth, it will move him closer, but he would not be there yet.
Dos Anjos is a peculiar position with a win, similar to the one of Matt Brown. Both men would be on impressive winning streaks but the fandom would be highly critical of the brass if these two men received title shots. It boils down to who the fans want to see fight for the title but that has been countered before with weaker choices.
Do they both deserve one? Yes, but will there always be an alternative answer? Undoubtedly.
For this particular case, Dos Anjos has what it takes to become a champion and we see it every time he steps foot in the Octagon, but he needs to keep it up. Winning this fight would lock up the big one under his belt, but he would surely need another -- and then maybe another. It all depends on how he wins, too, since a fourth decision in a row could hurt his chances but then again, it depends on how good he looks, too.