Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweights Josh Koscheck and Jake Ellenberger went to war in a must-win last night (Feb. 28, 2015) at UFC 184 inside Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Koscheck entered this bout on the heels of three straight losses, including two of the knockout variety. While these defeats came to the cream of the crop, there's little doubt that Koscheck really wanted the win here.
While Ellenberger was on a similar downward slide as his opponent, there actually were doubts on just how much the knockout artist desired victories. Considering his generally passive performances in recent battles, Ellenberger really needed to bring the violence and give his fellow welterweights a reason to fear him.
Koscheck made his intentions clear pretty quickly. After throwing out some jabs, he shot for a takedown and got it. However, Ellenberger was quick to return to his feet, though Koscheck continued to fight for the double leg.
Halfway through the round, Ellenberger managed to create some distance. From that point on, he did a pretty decent amount of damage to Koscheck, looking to counter his foe's jab with overhands and landing his left pretty often. By the end of the first, Koscheck's eye -- once destroyed by Georges St. Pierre a few years ago -- began to bother him.
The second round started similarly to the first, as Koscheck was driving towards a double leg pretty early. This time, Ellenberger was prepared and defended well. After eventually getting his back off the cage, Ellenberger landed a hard hook that further bothered Koscheck's eye.
Late in the round, Koscheck again shot for the double. As he went to change his position along the fence, Ellenberger locked in a deep guillotine choke. Koscheck attempted to spin out, but "The Juggernaut" stayed heavy from north-south, eventually securing the finish.
Ellenberger performed admirably in this match. He defended the majority of Koscheck's takedowns -- which is far from an easy task -- and showed off some aggression on his feet. Against an opponent who's not known for his excellent striking technique, this was a very good thing to see.
Furthermore, Ellenberger's submission finish was both crafty and surprising. Considering the fact that Ellenberger hasn't tapped anyone since 2006, and Koscheck's most recent submission loss was a year earlier, this could be a sign that Ellenberger is looking to add onto his game.
That's definitely a must if Ellenberger wants to stay around the top of the division.
For his next bout, a fighter definitively inside the top 15 should meet Ellenberger inside the Octagon. Personally, I'd love to see him fight Rick Story, which would be a rematch from before their UFC careers. Both men have grown since, and it would surely be a competitive scrap.
While Koscheck clearly can still wrestle well enough to get some wins inside the division, it's clear that his eye will always plague him during fights. "GSP" did irreparable damage to it, and Koscheck needs to decide if he wants to risk taking more.
Prior to this bout, Koscheck stated that he wanted to finish out his contract. Should he fight again, Koscheck needs to be given a lower tier of competition. For example, a bout of older veterans could be made between him and Patrick Cote. Simply put, there's no need for Koscheck to be fighting with top ranked opposition anymore.
At UFC 184, Jake Ellenberger put Josh Koscheck away with a surprising submission. Can Ellenberger get back into the division's top 10?
For complete UFC 184 "Rousey vs Zingano" results and live play-by-play click HERE.
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