Two welterweight veterans looked to settle a six year old score last night (Oct. 5, 2012) as Jake Ellenberger battled returning UFC fighter Jay Hieron in the co-main event of UFC on FX 5 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Hieron had handed Ellenberger the first loss of his career when both men were competing in the now defunct IFL promotion back in 2006.
This time, however, "The Juggernaut" was out for revenge and while the bout was not the most entertaining of the night by a landslide, Ellenberger was able to capitalize on a few key situations and work
So what helped put Ellenberger over the top to get his payback against Hieron? And what happens next for both men? Our Jake Ellenberger vs. Jay Hieron UFC on FX 5 post-fight review and analysis is posted below.
While Jake Ellenberger has been known to be a fast starter with some absolutely brutal first round knockout potential, he started completely differently last night against Hieron.
He was much more patient, and was looking to counter Hieron's aggression.
"The Thoroughbred" briefly played into Ellenberger's game at first, throwing a few kicks his way but when he actually did push forward, Ellenberger landed a sharp counter that dazed him.
From then on, neither man really wanted to be aggressive.
Hieron utilized decent footwork to avoid most danger throughout the fight, but every time he left an opening by attacking, Ellenberger would counter with a big strike or change levels and take him down. Even when Hieron shot in deep for a takedown, he was reversed during the scramble.
The third round finally saw Hieron push the pace a bit as both men had plenty left in the gas tank, but after a minute or two, he went right back to being passive and not making the first move. Ellenberger finished the fight by dropping the Xtreme Couture fighter with his last punch.
For Jay Hieron, in all honesty, he didn't put on that bad of a fight....at least technically. He responded well to Ellenberger's strategy and tried not to play into his counterstriking game. If he had been too aggressive, he likely would have been knocked out badly or taken down at will. That being said, him not playing into Ellenberger's game also turned this fight into a complete snoozefest. While it may not have helped the fight be more exciting, perhaps clinching and attacking up close could have helped him out. At the end of the fight, he could have tried to do something a bit more dramatic to give the judges something to think about and he simply didn't.
While he wasn't very entertaining, Hieron still proved he belonged last night. He'll get another bout in the promotion after doing the UFC a favor and originally taking the fight on short notice. Potential next opponents include Aaron Simpson, Thiago Alves or perhaps Amir Sadollah.
For Jake Ellenberger, you're supposed to learn from your past mistakes, but it seemed like he was majorly overcompensating for some of his recent faults like slowing down later in the fight and being too reckless at times. He was largely inactive in the first round which has always been where he's the most lethal. Sure, this gave him a little extra gas at the end, but if he had pushed it, he might have been able to connect and really hurt Hieron. When he rocked him in the first round, the old Ellenberger probably would have finished him. That being said, he looked great in scrambles and his takedown timing was phenomenal. He could use a little work with his offensive attack, however, once he has his opponent on their back. Perhaps he should take a few pointers from his teammate Mark Munoz.
The most interesting potential opponent for Ellenberger would be the upcoming Jon Fitch vs Erick Silva winner. Others include his originally scheduled opponent Josh Koscheck when he's healthy or perhaps a wildcard like Mike Pierce or Dan Hardy.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you able to appreciate any of the intricacies of this match-up last night? Or were the brief highlights countered too strongly by major lulls of inaction?
For complete UFC on FX 5 results, including blow-by-blow, fight-by-fight coverage of the entire event as well as immediate post-fight reaction click here, here and here.